Sunday, May 03, 2009

Garden notes

mason bee

Secret weapon:  Bees.  Mason bees.

They're all black so they kind of look like long skinny flies.  They're really docile and pretty much never sting.  They're more efficient at pollination than regular bees.

Technically they exist in the wild but they can be kind of 'managed' if you put up housing that they find acceptable for nesting.  Their larvae hibernate inside little cocoons that look like rabbit poop over the winter and wait for the weather to warm up to hatch.  That means that if you keep them inside your fridge over the winter, they'll stay dormant until you decide to release them.

mason bee house

They lay their eggs inside the holes and then plug them up with mud.  You have no idea how much they amuse me.  

Other than that, not much is happening out in the garden right now.  I guess that means that I have some space to answer some of the questions I was asked on my last post.

Soil: The City of Port Moody was generous enough to provide us with some topsoil in it's more benevolent days.  When we moved from Port Moody we shoveled it all into garbage cans and took it with us.  Every year we throw in a big load of compost, some steer manure and some beds get a bit of sea soil.  Most things (tomatoes especially) get crunched up eggshells and bone meal and everything gets a dusting of coffee grounds.

Beds: Everything is in raised beds because the soil here is full of clay and rotten to grow anything in.  We have ten plus two bathtubs.  Bathtubs are really great for tomatoes, have built-in drainage and seating.  The best kind of bathtub is dusty rose, avocado green or harvest gold and found for free by the side of the road or on cragislist or freecycle.



Maple trees have flowers.  Who knew?