Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beginning Beekeeping Program

A Beginning Beekeeping school will be held in Pulaski County starting February 14 at 6pm.  Three other sessions will be held:  Feb 21, Feb 28, and March 13.  All begin at 6pm, all at the Pulaski County Extension Service office.  Fee for the program is $20.

Beekeeping in this day and age is not like your father's or your grandfather's beekeeping.  We have many pests and diseases of which some are relatively new.  As much as I used to think that honeybees should be left to do what honeybees do, I am beginning to become a convert.

Now, it is not my style to micro-manage the bees. I tend to let the bees be bees.  However, from the discussions I hear around the table at our beekeeping association meetings, you must be more proactive than reactive.  Dispensing some sort of pesticide for varroa mites is part and parcel of beekeeping in the 21st century.  So is feeding them to get them through the winter.

I'm sure, if I were a good beekeeper, there are many other jobs I should be doing in my hives.  But for now, I'm just a mediocre beekeeper.

Here is the best part about keeping bees!!!  Taking them to classrooms.  Bees make you cool, you feel like a rock star in those elementary schools.

Come to our beginning bee school starting February 14 and you too, can become a bee rock star!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Info from the KY Fruit and Vegetable Conference

I go to the Kentucky Fruit & Vegetable Conference every single year.  It is THE meeting for KY growers of fruits, vegetables, organics, grapes, and wine.  Over the years, I have seen such a shift, in a good way, in regards to participant age.

I was usually considered one of the younger participants.  Of course, every year I go adds a year to my life, but as a 44 year old, I am now one of the older ones.  This is SO GREAT!  I see more and more younger people at these meetings and it encourages me, it should encourage all of us.

So, new info that might be of interest follows:
  • For decreasing soil pH (this was in the blueberry talk), Sulforix is now on the market.  You use much less Sulforix per acre than you would elemental sulfur to get the same desired effect.
  • If you think you might try to find some grant funding for what you're doing, your first stop should be the Kentucky Agribusiness Grant Facilitation Program.  Great info here!
  • For those of you who want to process food, the Kentucky Food Systems Innovation Center is worth looking at. They hold Better Process Schools and other pertinent trainings for food entrepreneurs.
  • School tours at your fruit or vegetable farm can make good business sense.  Go to Kentucky Farms Are Fun website to get resources.  Ever hear of motor coach tours?  They're looking for interesting stops all the time!
  • Sweet corn growers now have Roundup Ready and Bt sweet corns.  By using these corn varieties, they can decrease their pesticide use by up to 85%.
  • I was amazed (and dumbfounded) by a blackberry training system called Rotatable Cross Arm Trellis.  If the yields they reported were correct, we all should be growing blackberries this way.  Incredible. I'm sure UK will have some local yields to report in the future.
  • Lastly, but certainly not least, NRCS is now funding high tunnels in Pulaski Co.  We were one of the last counties in KY to get this funding.  Contact your local NRCS for more details. First application deadline is February 3, 2012!!