Crt Jakhel

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since Sep 23, 2012
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bee books dog forest garden homestead cooking
NE Slovenia, zone 6b
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Recent posts by Crt Jakhel

Chris, some things about plants in your area...

- Bees collect nectar and pollen in a very wide area. If your land is under, say, 10 acres, what's outside it will be more important most of the time than what's inside it. What you plant is not meaningless; it's just that in most situations, it's more of a dessert rather than a main course.

(Okay, if you have a field of a very attractive plant, say buckwheat or crimson clover or oilseed rape or sunflowers or..., and the time is such that there's not much else in flower, it will for sure be the main dish. But you get my point.)

- Don't plant 1 of everything. Bees like large targets, large groups of interesting plants.

- It may take a while for your bees to get used to something you've introduced. Our evodias (tetradium danielli) have flowered in 2018 for the first time and the bees were very timid about visiting this famously bee-attractive tree. But we've seen the same thing with koelreuteria and heptacodium - it can take 2-3 years for the bees to "take" to the new food source. I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere but it seems to matter.
20 hours ago
When I was starting out I attended an official course for beginners organized by the central beekeepers' association of our country.

We'd have very experienced people come in and share their guidelines, ideas, recommendations.

It turned out that the things they were teaching us were - not so rarely - not only out of sync with each other but actually pointing in opposite directions.

For me the net result of this experience was: since all these guys work with bees in their own ways which often contradict each other - obviously bees must be quite resilient to the various approaches people take. Not so fragile. One doesn't screw up bees so easily.

It may not sound like much but this was actually a very good insight because it helped me get rid of some of the "newbie block" that I had - worrying about too many things including what to worry about.

When you start from zero (and there is probably nothing that can prepare you in the sense of "oh I did X and that's similar to bees so it's a good start") it is very hard to absorb all the information that you get because you don't have a frame of reference.

You understand the words but they don't convey meaning so well. They don't relate to anything. Then, as you progress, you flash back to everything that you've read or seen and intepret it in a new light and with much improved efficiency.

For this reason it's a good idea to keep going back and revisiting the sources you've already used - chances are you will keep learning new stuff from them even though for an outside observer you're just rereading the same things over and over again.

If I had to choose just a few favorite sources it would probably be Michael Bush's website and this one: .

22 hours ago
This season, peanut butter on heavy rye bread (pumpernickel) with our own chokeberry / lemon jam. A little bit of every kind of taste.
3 weeks ago
Hey - just wanted to let you know that Malwarebytes, one of the many anti-bad-stuff programs available, is blocking the site where you uploaded your photo, presumably because it harbors spyware.
3 weeks ago

C├ęcile Stelzer Johnson wrote:I got Enterprise, Liberty and Freedom but they have not borne fruit yet. Their reputation is they are relatively trouble free.

Enterprise is gloriously free of leaf problems but is much appreciated by the coddling moth. Good reliable cropper but not an amazing experience.
3 weeks ago
It is possible that you could get a hint from how the peaches and apricots are doing -- because their problem is usually that they wake up early in the spring and then get clobbered by ongoing frost waves.

If the microclimates you create are consistent enough for your apricots and peaches to do well, then it could be worth a try with the more adventurous moves you're planning. (At first glance though it all sounds very adventurous indeed, -25 is a lot of negative F's.)

At our place we have a suntrap / windbreak in the form of a very dense hornbeam-hazel grove (you know how hornbeam usually keeps its leaves throughout the winter), with an extra row of willows on the northern side, which has been created to shelter our beehives. The bees are doing well, but... I've planted two grafted peach trees inside the protection zone (so deemed by the direction the northern winds usually take) and they both died inside of 3 years. And that's just Zone 6, some people might even laugh and call it 7.

Hazel, walnut, sour cherries, saskatoons (amelanchier) and seabuckthorn (hippophae) would be my first thought for zone 4, also some apple and plum cultivars. Berries in the ribes family (currants, gooseberries and various crosses) but only some cultivars of rubus (raspberry, blackberry).

And oh, haskap! Definitely that.
3 weeks ago
Came here to say that the Williams pear is a classic in Europe but I've just found out that presumably this is the same cultivar that's called Bartlet in the U.S.

I'm also adding +1 vote for asian pears and the butterscotch flavor - but only when they are really ripe. Before that time many people find them juicy but bland, like a shop-bought watermelon.

This past season our Shinko's crop was decimated by hail and I haven't even noticed that some fruits have made it through. When I finally noticed and picked them they were glorious, the best so far in these 10 years. (On second thought this could also mean that I should thin them myself regularly.)

1 month ago
At our site they (named cultivars) did not receive any particular care and it took more than 7 years to grow to a solid size and give a good crop.

The bees work them... to some extent. They are not a big hit but not useless either. I guess this is also very dependant on how many one has planted in a single spot because bees much prefer larger targets.

The birds like them a lot. So does our dog.

The berries are excellent for fresh eating but, to my taste, somewhat questionable for further use in cooking / infusing. That's because the marzipan taste of the seeds becomes overwhelming. But I guess one day we'll have a visitor that really likes marzipan and will be overjoyed to try something like that :)

1 month ago
There was a topic a while ago... Here it is
1 month ago
I'm reading that Shropshire sheep are said to be particularly suitable for grazing in an orchard or a forest since they are presumably the least likely to damage the trees.