We’ve tried to make our allotment bee-friendly. I will admit to not knowing my bumble bees from my honey bees, bit I do know how critical they are. My excuse for being ignorant about bees is simple – they move too quickly and I never have my glasses on outside! I just can’t spot the difference!
But excuses apart, we try to make our garden and the allotment as bee friendly as possible. In fact we have flowers in the garden which would not be my choice, but are there because the bees love them!
We have plenty of bee bait on the allotment: borage galore, comfrey, sage, lavender, honeysuckle and other plants cloned from the garden. We had a bee nest on our first year on the allotment. Mistakenly, we thought it would be a permanent residence, not realising they live in temporary housing and build new nests each year.
But this year, the bees are back. We have a nest under the slabs on our ‘patio’, in front of the shed. We didn’t realise it was there until last week when I dug up some parsley which had gone to seed. There was suddenly a frenzy of bee activity, as I had inadvertently covered their burrow with soil. All was restored when … David … in a moment of madness this weekend, decided to rake over the patch of soil!
Fortunately they are quick to burrow their way in (or possibly out) again and harmony was restored to our bee colony. They are now suitably protected by a plastic ringo (an excerpt from our prospective book: a million uses for pop bottles on the allotment). This means the bee burrow is safe from unwitting people attack, and I can go ahead and plant my lettuces around the entrance to their des res!
Promise of things to come
I love this time of year on the allotment. The beds seem to go from empty to burgeoning with life, almost overnight. We are probably a week away from having our first mangetout, the broad beans are starting to fill out and the peas are covered in pods and blossom.
The brassicas on the allotment are looking better than ever before. So far the cabbage white butterflies haven’t attacked and the infernal pigeons have been kept at bay with plenty of netting.
But home at allotment central, our kale and purple sprouting haven’t fared as well. They have, as usual, been grown in modules. But for some reason they haven’t prospered. Some of the purple sprouting seedlings have damped off and the rest are in a state of limbo. Having nurtured them for weeks, they were stubbornly refusing to grow. Drastic measures time – they are now in the ground and it’s down to them. Perhaps I’ll just sow a few extra – just in case. I’d hate to be kale-free this winter.