Drought resistant garden additions

The past three summers we’ve had have been incredibly hot and dry by Belgian standards. Many naturally occurring nectar producing flowers, plants and trees are feeling the burden of the changed weather and are blooming earlier than usual, or not at all. The effect this has on honeybees is easy to see for a beekeeper….

Our first ducklings this year!

Earlier this week I was very discouraged about how my nests were doing. There has been more light-and noise pollution in our neighborhood and it had an impact on the way my animals behaved. I was worried more than one broody duck/chicken had abandoned her nest. Sorry about the shaky footage, but those are my…

Varroa treatment for honeybees with oxalic acid

In my previous post I mentioned one of the methods I use to get rid of varroa mites; sugar syrup with oxalic acid. I combine two kinds of treatment, both are appropriate at different times of the year. I currently don’t use any other chemical (synthetic or natural) than oxalic acid. Oxalic acid occurs in…

Project cleanup: I got free beehives!

When it’s time to purchase new beehives for the coming year, have you ever found your mind drifting towards discovering a beehive-tree that gives you everything for free? Maybe you’d plant your crown board tree, your broodbox tree, a couple of frame bushes and plant your wax foundation tubers… Equipment is expensive! And if your…

Spring update

I knew that the gorgeous February weather would mean we’d get punished in March or April. And I was right. The winds are so strong here that it’s not possible to really do anything outside. We have greenhouses where we can work if it rains or snows, but with strong winds they feel like rattling…

Visiting wildlife

One of the great things about having a big backyard or living on a farm-type location are the visitors you get. We live nearby a small, protected nature reserve, so we get a lot of interesting wildlife-visitors. In a densely populated setting, these deer are some of the largest wild animals that will appear. They…

Planning the apiary

2018 was my first year in beekeeping. The colonies that survive the winter will give me a honey crop in the spring of 2019. It’s difficult to predict how much honey you’ll get from a hive. In my area, a healthy hive can produce as little as 10kg of honey in a year if the…

Planning for next growing season

November, December and January are typical months to be planning your outdoor-activities for the next year. I will be doing the same and I need to be doing this for my garden, my small livestock and my apiary. In this post I’ll explain how I decide on new varieties to plant. I’ll limit myself to…

Planting flower bulbs when you’re too late!

Most flower bulbs, especially those that bloom in spring are planted in autumn before the first frost. In my area bulbs are planted onwards from the 15th of October into November. If you respect this time frame there probably won’t be any issues, most bulbs are hardy and will show themselves in spring. There are…

Planting for pollinators part 2

In part 1 of planting for pollinators, I focused mainly on plants that thrive in wetlands. Of course, not all valuable plants need a wetland to survive, many are more flexible. In this second part I’ll devote more attention to annuals and plants that grow on other soils.   Probably the two biggest assets to…

Statement autumn flowers

After getting in the leftover harvest from the vegetable garden and orchard, a part of me is always saddened at the prospect of the mostly dead garden in fall and winter. What makes the look of the faded summer splendor easier are a few flowers I’ve found bloom well late into fall. Most of these,…

Thalictrum Delavayi

Thalictrum Delavayi, or Chinese meadow-rue, is a flowering plant I would love to introduce you to. This China native can be kept as a winter-hardy perennial in western Europe, although in harsh winters there will be casualties. It does not seed out easily and propagating is best done by collecting seeds and growing young plants…