BEE KEEPING part 1Thinking about keeping bees but didn’t know where to start?
Is keeping bees a lot of hard work?
|Marianne & John Scott|
Well there’s the pollination of flowers, both ornamental and on vegetables in your garden as well as neighbouring gardens, plus the reward of honey by the kilo, not to mention the hive byproduct of beeswax.
Let’s find out about things you need to know about keeping bees in part 1 of this 2 part segment.
I'm talking with John Scot from www.eezybeez.com.au
|Langstroth Hive: Image-CSIRO|
- A hive is made up of a bottom board, a box and a lid. When you expand a put another box on top, this box is called a 'super.'
What type of hives are out there?
- There are two sizes, an 8 or 10 frame box.
- Each frame has hexagonal wax moulds that the bees can then use to build their own comb on top of.
They keep the honey in cells, adding an enzyme to ripen it.
It's stored as a food reserve for the colony in winter but, since they make more than they need, beekeepers can collect the surplus.
If you have any questions for me or for John, why not write in to Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.
- Everything you wanted to know about Cucumbers or Cucumis sativus..
- Cucumbers are the fastest and easiest of vegetables to grow so say some gardeners. I would’ve thought radish, but maybe they’re a close second.
- Cucumber plants do best in all types of temperate and tropical areas and generally need temperatures between 15°-33°C.but are happiest when the average temperatures are around 21°C
- Cool temperate districts: sow the seeds of Cucumber in late Spring, say October and early Summer
- Arid and temperate zones: spring and summer
- Sub-tropical areas,from August until March in
- Only the cooler months for tropical areas-so April until August unless you’re inland.
- Did you know that you can grow a seedless variety that doesn’t need pollination?In fact, pollination creates an inferior fruit so these are best grown in a closed environment such as a greenhouse.
- This type of plant is called parthenocarpic which is just the name of a plant that can produce fruit without pollination.
- So what’s a cucumber plant that needs pollination called? Gynoecious.
- Gynoecious varieties have mostly or only female flowers ― the flowers that produce fruit ― and typically are earlier and have higher yields.
- In a monoecious cucumber ( nongynoecious cucumber) plant, the first 10–20 flowers are male and for every female flower 10–20 male flowers are produced.
Why has my cucumbers not got fruit?
- For most cucurbit family plants, the humidity and temperature has to be within a fairly close range for pollination to occur, even with hand methods.
- If the humidity is too high, the pollen sticks together, if too low, the pollen will not fertilize.
- They’re big seeds but if you’re raising them in punnets and the seed raising mix dries out, then the seed most like has dried up as well; And if you keep it too wet, then the seed rots.
- If this keeps happening, try using another type of seed raising mix, or even some good quality potting mix and try again.
- What cucumbers like is soil that’s well-draining and has a pH of around 6.5.
- Add in plenty of organic compost and fertilisers like chook poo or cow manure.
|Powdery mildew on cucumber leaf|
- Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that is spread by spores carried by the wind.
- Look for white to grey fungal deposits on the leaves and stems of your cucumbers. As the mildew spreads, the leaves become brittle then start to die off.
- There are some types of cucumbers that resist this disease for a time anyway.
- You can also try a natural fungicide. 1 part whole milk to 10 parts water, and spray in the cool of the day.
- Sudden wilt is a disease is caused by pythium fungus and causes the entire plant to die and wilt. Look for root rot. This disease usually happens in poor draining soil, so add organic compost to the soil before planting to improve drainage.
- Growing your cucumbers in pots and raised beds, can help this problem.
- Verticillium wilt, is a fungal disease called by the Verticillium fungus. Symptoms include wilting leaves and brown discoloration of the stems and roots. You’ll typically have to open the stem to see the problem. Eventually, this disease will cause the entire plant to wilt and die. This problem often lingers in the soil where tomatoes, potatoes, chillies, and other members of the nightshade family have been planted.
|Commercially grown cucumbers avoid diseases with vertical trellising.|
Who out there hasn’t tried a cucumber that’s tasted bitter?
- I’ve always thought it to be the result of Cucurbitacin. Found in most cucumber plants, Cucurbitacin causes fruit to taste bitter.
- Cucurbitacin levels increase when a plant is under stress, and can make the fruit taste really bitter.
- The concentration of these compounds varies from plant to plant, fruit to fruit, and even within the individual fruit itself.
- Did you know that the ability to taste detect bitterness or cucurbitacins also varies from person to person.
- Even insects have varying preferences for cucurbitacins- the compounds attract cucumber beetles but repel other insects, such as aphids and spider mites.
- By the way, if you do get a bitter cucumber, peel it and cut of the ends by about 2.5cm, that’s where the bitterness concentrated.