The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Preheating the garden

Preheating the garden

It's hard to believe with the snow flying and temperatures plummeting, but Monday was a beautiful day in the low 50s and Kayla and I took the opportunity to prep a lettuce bed.  Our earliest planting of the year is always lettuce under quick hoops at the beginning of February, and sometimes I just plant and erect the quick hoops all at once.  However, this year is on the cold side, so I decided to put up the quick hoops a couple of weeks early to give the ground time to preheatLettuce will germinate at 35 degrees Fahrenheit, but prefers the ground be at least 40 degrees.

The bees from both hives were out buzzing around, and I had to run away a couple of times when an overzealous guard decided I was too close to her hive.  The lettuce bed is in the sunniest part of the core homestead, which just happens to be only about fifteen feet from a bee hive and directly in their flight path.  I didn't mind the buzz-bys, though, and was just glad to see activity from both sets of bees.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Dear Anna,

Hi from Chicago. I am immensely enjoying your book and find it very helpful even for us with 0.07 acre and a big dream of growing more. We have 6 chickens and 3 ducks already and our 3 years old garden has swallowed every plantable part of the lot. We have a mulberry tree but I want badly one more and your book is a great encouragement. My kids call you the girl in the mountains. If you ever come to Chicago we have a basement suite and will be very happy to have you and Mark over and show you our miniature homestead. All the best luck. Love Eliona and the kids Sara and Roni

Comment by Eliona Wed Jan 22 15:12:46 2014
Eliona --- Thanks so much for your kind words, and for reading! I have pet names for various bloggers that I talk about with Mark too, so glad to hear I'm "the girl in the mountains." :-) I'll keep your kind offer in mind if we ever make it to Chicago, although it's hard to tear me off the farm nowadays.
Comment by anna Wed Jan 22 16:48:17 2014

Hello Anna,

Good to hear that both of your colonies are wintering okay. I have been wondering about your bees lately. We are in our third spell of extended sub zero temps in northern NY. At this point, only one of three colonies is living. It may not make it through this week of cold. Last week, they were provided with another full super, as they had already consumed their winter honey. The colder it is the more they need. Wonder if you ever found mite tolerant, treatment free bees for sale in the north east. I fear that the losses will be extensive, due to the extreme winter. Happy winter gardening and be well, Eva Thank you for Watermelon Summer. It's been a pleasure to read!

Comment by Eva Wed Jan 22 20:22:10 2014
Eva --- Thanks for your kind words about Watermelon Summer! We're still experimenting with different sources for chemical-free bees. The ones that have done the best for us so far are from Texas --- you can read more about them here. I hope they can handle this cold --- they have so far!
Comment by anna Thu Jan 23 16:06:43 2014

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