Category Archives: Articles

DIY screened bottom board “sticky-stuff”

diy screened bottom board sticky-stuff

The beginning of August signifies the end of the spring nectar flow here in Maine. At this point in the season there is a nectar dearth, meaning we experience a period of time when there is a scarcity of available nectar. In my neck of the woods the dearth usually lasts 2-3 weeks on average. Beekeepers in Maine take advantage… Read more »

Plants for pollinators

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By now it’s fairly common knowledge that bees and pollinators are in trouble. The media has spread the word of Colony Collapse Disorder and the vanishing bees far and wide; it’s been in the news, in magazines, all over social media, there are several movies, and there are spokespeople who give talks to educate the population. We know now that CCD… Read more »

What do farmers at Johnny’s Seeds say are the biggest challenges facing farmers today?

challenges facing farmers

Though farmers in general are a dedicated lot, farming has never been easy and today’s beginning farmers face numerous obstacles. There’s a steep learning curve to growing produce and raising livestock for food production. A farmer has to wear many hats and have a broad spectrum of knowledge and skillsets. There are regulations and legalities to be adhered to and… Read more »

Resources recommended by Johnny’s Seeds farmers

recommended resources for beginning farmers

Beginning farmers face a myriad of challenges and obstacles along their chosen career path. Operating and owning a farm has become much more difficult since the advent of the industrialized agriculture system. New farmers today face a steep learning curve, expensive prices for farmland, and high start-up costs. Despite all that, statistics from the USDA’s Agricultural Census indicate that─especially here in… Read more »

Favorite things from the farmers and gardeners at Johnny’s Seeds

How could any beginning farmer go into a company like Johnny’s Selected Seeds, find themselves surrounded by a spectrum of farmers and gardeners and not want to pick their brains for useful bits of information? I already knew what I wanted to ask when I finally bucked up the nerve to approach colleagues at work for this series of articles. And… Read more »

The sustainable apiary─brood factories & bee bombs

For years now Mike Palmer of French Hill Apiaries in St. Albans, Vermont, has been working to convince beekeepers that they can raise their own bees. He proposes beekeepers use the brood and bee-resources in non-productive hives to make mid-summer nuclei, to overwinter for replacement bees. According to the statistics beekeepers are losing 42% over the course of the winter…. Read more »

Working with beeswax

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working with beeswax

Carol Cottrill is a former president of the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association and has held a number of other positions within Maine’s beekeeping community, including president of the Western Maine Beekeepers’ Association. She’s been beekeeping for years and has dedicated a fair amount of time over the years to sharing her knowledge with other beekeepers. I’ve invited Carol over to the… Read more »

Maine beekeepers State of the State Address

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maine apiaries

Every year at the annual meeting of the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association our state apiarist, Anthony (Tony) Jadczak talks about the condition of our bees throughout the course of the year. We all laughingly refer to it as Tony’s “State of the State Address”, but it really is important information to relay to the body of Maine beekeepers. Staying aware… Read more »

Honeybees and the landscape

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runamuk honeybee forage map

Studying under Professor Frank Drummond at the University of Maine, Brianne Du Clos is a PhD candidate studying how bees use the landscape and what types of land offer good forage resources. She also happens to be a beekeeper and a member of the Knox-Lincoln County Beekeepers group, and she presented her research to the beekeepers at the November 2015… Read more »

Honeybee nutrition in pollens & nectar

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Megan Leech is a masters’ student studying native bees under Frank Drummond at the University of Maine. She’s looking to see if bees are foraging for flowers that offer good nutrition and pointed out that different flower species provide varying levels of nutrients. The Honeybee Food Pyramid With a graphic that resembles a food pyramid, Megan explained that the image… Read more »

Keeping honeybees in frozen North America

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mike palmer

According to Mike Palmer of French Hill Apiaries in St. Albans Vermont, success in the apiary is dependent upon two things: colonies that can grow large populations, and then─intelligent management of those populations. Mike took the stage at the 2015 annual meeting of the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association and proceeded to tell the audience about his colony management plan. Regional… Read more »

How do you know what to do to be a profitable farm?

small farm

Let me say first and foremost that Runamuk is not what I would yet consider a “profitable” farm, lol. Runamuk does contribute to the rent and to the purchasing of feed, equipment, supplies, and livestock─but a large part of our income is supplemented by my off-farm employment.  Our finances here are tight, and as I’ve mentioned previously, I make a… Read more »

Maine’s local food movement

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maine local food movement

The Madison Farmers’ Market, held a meeting Saturday evening at the Old Point School in Madison, to finalize plans for our upcoming 2015 market season. I volunteer my time and efforts as the market manager, organizing, planning and promoting our young little market, and working to both serve local agriculture, farmers and farming in Madison and the surrounding areas. The… Read more »

SWOT analysis of Runamuk

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runamuk's swot analysis

Business planning and annual reviews are an important aspect of any business–big or small–even agricultural businesses. Typically most farmers spend time during the quieter winter months planning and preparing for the next season, and I may be a little late getting to it this year due to the disarray my life currently faces, but I have been reviewing Runamuk’s farming… Read more »