Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The layout of my hive and back yard...

Well it is a gloomy day here with lots of drizzle and slightly humid, so I thought I would update my new blog. I have so many things I want to talk about, and one was the location of my hive.

Before I purchased my beekeeping equipment, I put a lot of thought into just where I should locate my hive. Although I have a spacious yard, there were several considerations. Most important in the process was considering my neighbor's feelings about my new venture, and then the best location for the hive itself.

My property butts against a creek, which is perfect as a constant source of fresh water for my girls. So I wanted to make sure it was near that. But the dirt near the creek is too soft, plus there is this hateful bamboo that the previous owner allowed to get out of hand, and I knew that eventually, my hive would be swallowed up by the Asian weed. So that was out. So I decided my best option was the corner of my yard, at least six feet from my neighbor's fence, and off the city's right-of-way (the creek bank is part of their R-O-W). That was it, the corner of my yard was the perfect location, and so I started planning.

My yard gently slopes, so I had to make sure that my hive would be level from side-to-side, but a slight lean to the front so water would run out the front of the hive. So I went to Lowe's Home Improvement and bought two large concrete landscaping pavers, then I got three cinderblocks from my dad. After I banked and tamped the dirt so it would be firm, I put the first paver down, leveled it, the put three cinderblocks on top. Then I topped the cinderblocks with another concrete pad, basically making a concrete pedestal. Total money spent: $16 and some change. It looks good, plus there's no wood to rot.

Oh, and to keep the bottom board from sitting in water on top of the concrete pad, I put some screws on the bottom, that way, it sits about a quarter inch off the concrete, air can circulate underneath, and it will dry out quickly after it rains. I thought that one up myself!

The hive front faces the southeast to take advantage of the sun, plus it will keep the north winds out this winter. On both sides of the hive, I planted Blue Ice Blue Star plants, which get about 12"-15" and bloom in spring. Then along the entire length of my back yard, I planted crepe myrtles, alternating the red and whites. Then directly against the fence, to make a nice hedge, I planted Euonymus shrubs, alternating the whites and golds. And while you can't tell it in the picture above, I sowed new grass all around the hive and my lower back yard. With more days like today (and last week where we got 2.5 inches in one day), the grass should be coming in any day now.

I'll have more on my yard layout a little later. Off to catch up on some work.

Until next time, my friends, bee-have yourselves!

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