Tag Archives: how-to

How and why to do mite-tests in your apiary

varroa mite on honeybee

Recently I went around to the various Runamuk apiaries to perform my annual mite-tests, and while the 12 colonies under my care have struggled to produce surplus honey, I am happy to say that compared to last year when mite problems ran rampant throughout the state–and even my own hives–this year mites have posed less of a problem. While I… Read more »

Do NOT buy ladybugs; attract native species to your garden instead

ladybugs as predators

Ladybugs are often touted as a safe solution to aphid problems in the garden because their use doesn’t involve harmful pesticides.  The little spotted beetles are popular all over the world, and in ancient times they were thought to be indicators of good fortune and a bountiful harvest. However commercially available ladybugs are not native to the US, and pose… Read more »

3 reasons to go foundationless in your Langstroth beehive

3 reasons to go foundationless in your langstroth beehive

When I first began keeping bees, I managed my hives in the mainstream fashion.  I fed them sugar-syrup, I painted my boxes, and I used foundation in my frames.  As I’ve learned more about bees and how to take care of them, some of my methods have changed.  I’m much more reluctant to feed my bees sugar, I stopped painting… Read more »

How and why to make your own apiary splits & nucs

how to make your own apiary splits and nucs

Swarming is a natural tendency for bees in the spring and early summer, and making splits and nucs is just another part of good management of your hives.  Whether you want to grow your apiary, or just insure against winter hive losses, making your own splits and nucs is an ideal way to grow or maintain your apiary.  It’s easy… Read more »

Feeding bees pollen-patties in early spring

feeding bees in early spring

The sky is clear, and brilliantly blue the day after a big Nor’easter.  Here in central Maine, where the Runamuk Acres Farm and Apiary is located, the roads are still covered with packed snow, and road crews work to clean them up after the snowstorm.  But I make my rounds to our 2 out-lying apiaries, to check on the hives,… Read more »

23 early spring vegetable crops

Many American gardeners cling fast to the idea that the growing season doesn’t begin until Memorial Day weekend. Yet in Europe gardeners use a variety of methods to extend their season and increase their garden’s harvest. Thanks to Elliot Coleman’s book Four Season Harvest, more and more Americans are discovering the possibilities.  Even in Maine you can get a jump… Read more »

How to build a mini hoop-house

I’m a big fan of season extenders like cold-frames and mini hoop-houses for the family garden. Last year I managed to erect a mini greenhouse of sorts, using PVC and plastic, and with that I hardened off my seedlings in anticipation of the growing season.  This year I not only want to use that method to protect tender seedlings, but… Read more »

How to make your own laundry soap

diy laundry soap

If you’ve never made your own laundry soap you don’t know what you’re missing.  The laundry soaps that are available commercially are expensive, and filled with ingredients that I’m not even going to attempt to pronounce. This laundry soap is very economical and simple to make.  It works just as well as anything you’ll buy at the store, with the… Read more »

10 tips to help you stretch your meat-budget

dried beans

Previously I ranted about budget-meat versus local and sustainably raised meats.  I’m not going to rehash the topic–but you can read that post here if you are so inclined.  Basically my point was that if you’re truly committed to avoiding the factory farmed meats offered at the grocery store, there are ways to eat sustainably produced meats with a clear… Read more »

10 tips on how to avoid GMOs

grass-fed meat

With genetically modified ingredients in just about everything processed, it can be a daunting challenge to avoid them when you go to the grocery store.  It’s startling when you begin to realize how pervasive GM-ingredients are–it seems like they are in all of the things you love and have been eating for years!  But with a little dedication and your… Read more »

How to get started keeping bees

how to keep bees

Keeping bees is a fascinating and rewarding hobby.  For many people, once they get started they are quickly infected with what is known as “Bee-fever” and there is no turning back.  Some beekeepers are content with a single or a pair of hives in the backyard, others can’t help but grow their little apiary year after year. If you’re think… Read more »

How to store garden produce for the winter

All summer you’ve been enjoying the bounty of your garden, but now there’s a chill in the air and it’s time to harvest the rest of your home-grown vegetables.  But how to store it all for use during the winter? Gardening is returning in popularity as more and more people strive to practice sustainable lifestyles, but much of the knowledge… Read more »