A few quick pictures from around our permaculture garden today:



The lovage has gone to seed, so it was time to cut it back and sow the seeds around the garden.  They will germinate in the spring and add to our stock of perennial vegetables.  Their blossoms will be a strong attractant to parasatoid wasps, lacewings, and other beneficial insects.


The Aromatnaya quince are nearly ripe.  A few more weeks, and they will be fragrant and ready to pick and put into sauces and pies.


In May, we put in 2 female and 1 male sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides). Sea buckthorn is a very important permaculture plant, as it fixes nitrogen, is extremely hardy, and produces a nutritious fruit crop.  We chose Siberian varieties known for their smaller growing habit and less suckering than the German and other Russian varieties.   In 4 months they have grown from tiny twigs to nearly the height of my 10 yr-old.  Very excited for them to start producing their Vitamin C-rich fruit in the next year or two.  


It’s late in the year, and the bees (all kinds, not just our honeybees) are frantically collecting up nectar and pollen in preparation for winter.  We’ve been making a conscious choice to let certain plants bolt (radish, argula, mint, etc) and making second plantings and cutting back hard to encourage repeat blooms of various plants (calendula, lavender, salvia, rosemary, borage) to provide sufficient food for the bees.

While this has resulted in some parts of our permaculture garden looking a bit scraggly and even more wild than normal, it has also meant ample forage for our girls and all the native bees besides.  The children have really enjoyed identifying all the species of sweat bees, bumblebees, and syrphid flies that visit the flowers.  We’re also hoping it will make for some seriously delicious honey when we harvest in the spring.

More soon!


Top Bar Hive




After years of dreaming about it, we finally have bees, thanks to the wonderful folks at Bee Thinking!  We have a top bar hive, which is supposed to be a more natural way to keep bees, and easier for the urban beekeeper.




We put a swarm in a number of weeks ago, and they are happily building out comb and visiting all the flowers in the garden (although we’ve noticed that the bumblebees/native bees have been extra busy this year, too.)

All of the kids want to check on the hive, but they have to take turns, since we only have two suits.  They are curious and unafraid – fascinated by the bees and eager for the honey they will make.


So far, the thing that has surprised me most is how docile the bees are.  You can tell by their collective buzzing what kind of mood they are in.  Working slowly and quietly, on sunny days, the hardly seem to know I’m there.

Look at those beautiful workers busily going about their business.  Oh, I am totally hooked.  Absolutely smitten.