Pea seeds are also placed in cardboard tubes, which keep them safe even after they’ve been planted out.

Greetings fellow gardeners,  

Bee and Bee Cocoon Study

This Saturday Lydia Wong, the PhD student who was conducting an experiment in my yard, returned with her two bee hotels and temperature gauge. Last year she collected the hotels and extracted the bee cocoons. She weighed and measured the cocoons and brought them back to be released. The hotels have been returned and installed and the little cocoons are in a holder underneath each hotel, waiting to emerge. 

  Lydia Wong installs a bee hotel

Lydia was very enthusiastic about my garden, remarking that it was “so alive.” There were bees out already and we were able to see several minor bees on the bloodroot flowers. Two miner bees began mating on the bloodroot flowers and that made her day. I was over the moon that my double flowered bloodroot came back!

  My beautiful double bloodroots

The bee cocoons were in little plastic pill-bottle type containers. There was one cocoon for each container, and there were about thirty of them.

Lydia carefully removed the cocoons and even gave me one to hold. It was tiny and fuzzy. The cocoons were transferred to another container that will hold them safely until they are ready to come out. 

Bee Cocoon Containers
  Containers of bee cocoons

Life is coming back to the garden. I had a glorious full day of puttering about in the garden and was so happy. I checked out all the bulbs as they started to break through. The early daffodils are starting to bloom while the later ones are just peeking through the dark earth. Last year at this time I had cherry blossoms, and this year they are just starting to form. I am hoping that this means they will produce more fruit. Forsythia is gloriously yellow, and the spent blossoms flutter down like tiny birds. 

Planting Peas from Seed

I planted some of the cooler crops like peas and left them in my new greenhouse. It is not an overly fancy arrangement — basically, a shelving unit with a plastic cover — but I love it because it makes hardening off my plants a lot easier. Because I have chipmunk issues, my peas have a bit of a head start in my greenhouse. I sow the seeds in a combination of garden soil and compost. Pea seeds are also placed in cardboard tubes, which keep them safe even after they’ve been planted out. When I move them to pots and later plant them outside, I use the same mixture of garden soil and compost. The pea seeds have grown well, and I have already been able to pot up a few of them.

My New Greenhouse

I am dreaming of the wonderful things I will be eating this summer. This weekend I should think about starting the vine crops like cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins. They only need about a two-week advance. You are not too late to plant anything! You can start seeds now and be in time to get a good crop of vegetables, or you can plant the seed directly in the soil around the 20th of May.

The tree in front of my window is starting to leaf out and the too-many cats are lined up to watch the birds. Goldfinches are enjoying the Niger seeds, and the chickadees are singing all about spring. Take a minute to smell the spring air and enjoy your week. Judith

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