Do you want to learn about a super easy way to increase the productivity and health of your garden? This fertilizer called “labs” for short is easy to make and the results are amazing. I learned about making lacto-bacillus serum from the head horticulturalist at the Denver Golf Courses who also heads a very productive donation garden at Harvard Gulch Golf Club in Denver.
The term Lacto-Bacillus Serum sounds fancy but in truth, this simple to make recipe provides a workhorse of beneficial bacteria for your garden and has multiple other applications including :
Speeding decomposition in the compost pile
Treating powdery mildew on squash plants
Eliminating odor in animal bedding
Improves growth of plants when applied as foliar spray and soil drench.
Improves their efficiency in absorbing nutrients so naturally, growth is enhanced.
“With the use of these microorganisms, the nutrients you spray or drench to feed your plants become more bio-available and are more easily absorbed by the plants. Technically, you can say that plants do not use organic nutrients directly. Microorganisms convert organic nutrients to their inorganic constituents which the plants utilize. Utilizing microbes, you will notice better plant growth and health.” –The Unconventional Farmer.
Ingredients: rice, water, milk
Day One: Immerse a cup of rice in a quart of water. Drain the water into a canning jar – filling it about 3/4 full. Discard the rice. Cover the jar with a paper towel but it should not be airtight. Store it on top of the refrigerator and after a few days, the liquid will separate.
Day Three: Siphon off the center layer adding 1 part serum to 10 parts milk and put in another container, cover tightly and let sit for another few days. Once curds appear, you can strain the liquid with a cheesecloth (the curds can be fried up and eaten).
Day 5-6 For the Garden Add 1 part serum to 20 parts water to spray in the garden. Use on plants weekly Store in the frig or add molasses to store at room temperature. Stable for about a year.
Sources of information:
The Unconventional Farmer: http://theunconventionalfarmer.com/
Build a Soil: https://buildasoil.com/blogs/news/8634877-gil-carandang-lactobacillus-serum-recipe
I really enjoy my soaker hoses. It’s nice to turn them on and water the entire plot while I weed, or soon harvest! But every year some hoses crack and get brittle from being in the sun so long. I used to buy repair fittings but they were expensive and time consuming.
Here’s what I do now, and other gardeners may also want to try. I cut the hose at the point of the crack. I slide in this $0.79 coupling from Ace.
Usually it stays in place by itself. If not, I simply put a zip tie on either side. These cost pennies.
Thanks Dennis, Mara, Lori, Elianajoy, and ESPECIALLY Perry for coming out this past weekend to do our first inspection of all 6 hives! The good news: we spotted 2 queens (see pictures below), had zero mite counts on several hives, trained Dennis on inspections!, replaced both 1/2G sugar waters, logged data directly to our inspection form on Google drive, and installed a queen in the split (hive 5).
Unfortunately, there was bad news – hive 4 did not have a queen. It looks like I accidentally killed the queen when I inspected the hive back on May 6, when I added the Upper Deep. Luckily, Perry brought extra queens, and we added a new queen to hive 4 also, and now all 6 hives are Queen Right! There is a balance between inspecting hives to know how they are doing, and leaving them alone so we don’t cause damage. I am bummed to have lost the queen, but I guess it is part of the learning process. We’ll strive to be more careful going forward.
Here’s a summary of the status of all hives:
Looks great! Needs nothing in next month. Should see comb starting in upper soon, then larva/brood w/i 2 weeks
Looks good. Next, add upper Deep so have frames to draw comb and change reducer to middle 6/9. Continue to feed after?
Looks great! Needs nothing in next month. Self hatched queen looks to be doing well.
Installed new Queen. Leave alone for 4 wks
Installed new Queen. Next, might need brood frame from Hive 1 and new frames (Upper Deep) to draw comb 6/9
Very strong. Next, add upper Deep so have frames to draw comb and change reducer to middle 6/9.
Next inspection is June 9. We’ll need to scrape a bunch of wax off old frames ahead of time. Thanks again to everyone that helped out.
As you check out the hives, you’ll be noticing more and more buzzing bees! Their populations are literally growing by several thousand bees each week each hive!
April 23, 2018 – Jackie and I, wearing our DON’T WORRY- BE HOPI tee shirts purchased at Tsakurshovi on Second Mesa, Arizona, met with 17 senior class students and two teachers from The Waldorf School. They had asked if they could help with our Hopi Corn and Pumpkin Projects this season. They would dig and weed for us in exchange for learning a bit about what we are doing.
We stood around the picnic table by the gate and I gave a brief talk on how we got interested in Hopi Corn and what success we had with it in previous years. This will be our 8th season. I passed around photos that had had used in other talks.
The students got to work with shovels and forks and in a short time the whole corn patch was dug ready for planting which will be done in June. They were all in high spirits and with some instruction from their teachers they not only did the corn patch but also the spots for our pumpkins. They were all laughing and talking when they left us and went to their school garden patch. I took a lot of photos and will continue to do that as we plant and the season progresses.
One of the best and most organic and natural ways to keep Japanese Beetles from eating and killing the plants in your yard is to simply remove the plants that attract Japanese beetles from your home and landscaping. If you have a Japanese beetle problem in your garden, you might want to thing twice about keeping or planting the following flowers, shrubs, vines, plants, and trees in your yard.
Eighteen Flowers, Shrubs, and Vines That Attract Japanese Beetles
5. Grapes – fruit – Perennial
6. Red Raspberry – fruit –Perennial
7. Green Beans
Sixteen Plant, Tree, and Vines That Attract Japanese Beetles
1. Common Mallow – plant – Annual or Biennial
2. Birch – tree – Perennial
3. Cherry – tree – Perennial
4. Elms – tree – Perennial
5. Fruit (some types) – tree – Perennial
6. Horse Chestnut – tree – Perennial
7. Japanese and Norway Maple – tree – Perennial
8. Lindens – tree – Perennial
9. Mountain Ash – tree – Perennial
10. Ornamental Apple – tree – Perennial
11. Pin Oak – tree – Perennial
12. Plum – tree – Perennial
13. Sycamore – tree – Perennial
14. Willow – tree – Perennial
15. Porcelain Vine – vine – Perennial
16. Virginia Creeper – vine – Perennial
A big thanks to Perry Welch for driving 4 hours round trip to help us split our hive. Dennis, Lori and her daughter Molly, Julie/Brad and our daughter Elianajoy were on hand to watch and learn. What an experience as we saw 2 queens and about 12 queen cells – a rare opportunity! This was probably the 12-15th time I inspected a hive and it was my first time actually seeing the queen, and I even spotted one myself. Pretty cool!
We did not find any eggs or uncapped brood, but we did see some capped brood. Based on the development timeline, this means a queen had not laid any eggs for likely at least a week, possibly two. This combined with so many queen cells made us wonder if the hive had already swarmed. Based on this assumption, we left the lower deep in place along with the two queens we spotted (perhaps they were newly born queens??). We also left a frame with queen cells just in case. We added a 2nd deep on top. We hope this hive has a strong local queen and continues to grow. We’ll inspect it in a week or so and look for new eggs.
The upper deep from this hive we relocated to the south west position to bee a new hive. We removed the queen cells from all the frames. Perry added a new purchased queen into this deep. I will remove the cage in 2-3 days. I’ll inspect again after another 5-8 days and look for new eggs being laid in this hive as well. If either split hive looks to be losing bee population over the next few weeks, I’ll add a frame of capped brood from one of the nucs to help support it with about to hatch bees.
Lastly we looked at the two nucs installed two weeks ago.
On several occasions over the last week, we have noticed a lot of bearding (when the bees congregate on the outside of the deep) on the front face. It was probably a mistake that all frames I installed had fully built out comb (I thought this would help). But Perry said many of the young bees are in their stage of life to produce wax and build out comb and if all the frames already have comb there is nothing for them to do. So good learning!
Perry suggests always having at least 3-4 new frames so they have a place to build comb. So tomorrow, May 6, I will add a 2nd deep with new frames and inspect both hives to check the laying pattern.
It’s great to see our apiary filling out, now with 4 hives in place. Here’s the updated schedule:
Install Upper deep on hive 1, inspect
May 6 at 945a
Class for Waldorf kids, all welcome
May 7 1230-120p
Install 2 packages of bees
May 12: 1pm
Inspect each hive 2x/mo
May 26, then ongoing in June
Paint 2nd coat on outside of deeps a light grn or yellow (1 still needs primer)
We got more bees! Dennis, Matt, Julie, Elaiah and Elianajoy helped install the two nucs into hives #1 & #4. Both looked very strong with lots of bees and lots of brood. We were even able to see lots of developing larvae.
There are sticks by the entrance – this helps the bees orient to their new home. I’ll be removing the sticks, and putting the white nuc boxes back into the shed later this week.
So take a minute to check out your friendly bees next time you are at the garden. Approach the hives from the side and you are unlikely to have any issue. Looking closely, you’ll probably see bees entering the hives loaded with pollen (orange sacs on the hind legs).
Bee trivia: should I put water out? No, we are lucky to have the creek so close, so the bees have plenty of water.
This is just part of the crew that moved all of the compost into a neat pile up against the fence. For the season, please place all of your weeds and plant material as close to the fence as possible to keep it out of the pathway.