I am an urban gardener who has dreams about owning a couple of egg-laying chickens. What does this have to do with a post about beehives? I understand many of the problems that urban gardeners and growers have to deal with on a daily basis. The Urban Beehive is designed to make the beekeeping process a little easier for novices.
This is it, the moment you have been working toward all year long. Mites, bears, stings, sticky hands, and hours of sweating in your bee suit--all of these challenges will seem trivial as you grasp the handle of the extractor, give it a good spin and watch your first batch of honey begin to flow from the spout. How sweet it is indeed.
The moment has finally arrived! Your bee yard is set up and your hive bodies are ready. A gleaming white bee suit is awaiting its first use. You have picked up a package of bees from your local bee shop or beekeeper's club, nervously glancing at the backseat on the ride home, making sure none have escaped. There it is, sitting on your lawn, or in your garden, or on your roof. 10,000 worker bees and a queen. Now what?
Like many other hobbies and pastimes, the start-up costs to get kitted out in beekeeping are a bit steep. But once you have the gear, much of it will last a lifetime, and only certain parts need occasional replacement and repair. The real danger is beekeeping's addictive nature. It starts with one hive, and then a few more. Before you know it you have a couple dozen hives in three locations and a very sticky pickup truck. If that happens to you, know that you are in good company. But for anyone looking to start with just one hive, here are the basic pieces of equipment.
Last week, I showed how you can make natural pesticides for your plants. While these sprays pose less risk than the toxic ones, they also rid your plant of beneficial insects like the ladybug. Unlike most pesky bugs that you want to purge from your garden, ladybugs live up to their cute little name. They pose no harm and are actually beneficial to your plants by feasting on a few of your plant's nemeses such as aphids, mealybugs, leaf hoppers, scales and mites.
Garden pests are one of the few things I find frustrating about gardening. Whether it's the snails taking over your lettuce or the aphids sucking on your roses — it's definitely annoying — but not a reason to fret and reach for harmful, toxic sprays. They might eliminate the pesky culprits, but they are harmful to you and the environment. Instead, try whipping up one of these simple recipes with ingredients you most likely have on hand.
Hayseed's Big City Farm Supply is a pop-up shop located in Brooklyn, dedicated to urban farming and open now through June. You can find what you need to start a garden, as well as other homesteading sundries, like chicken and rabbit feed and beekeeping supplies. They also offer weekend workshops on subjects like Beekeeping, Backyard Livestock, Vermicomposting, and Garden Planning.
The Hen's Dream is a durable, functional, and completely recyclable aluminum flat-packed chicken coop. Built to order in a range of colors and finishes, it's just the thing for the style conscious urban chicken owner.