duluth farmers market

We were planning on heading to the in-laws’ cabin this weekend, but my mother-in-law was not feeling well. The in-laws stayed in St. Paul, and we stayed in town. We headed to Duluth Farmer’s Market and then to the Whole Foods Co-op. At DFM, we were gunning for fresh whitefish, but Lake Superior Fish Co only had smoked fish. We settled on the trout. As tempting as it was to buy beta grapes from Deb Shubat or the petunias and herbs from others, I am sticking to my "30 days without buying books, seeds or plants". We could have bought chocolate from Peace, Love & Chocolate, but decided it to head to pick up groceries at WFC. I am into day twelve of my seed-and-book fast. A Peaceful Valley catalog arrived in the mail yesterday; it has been taunting me on the dining room table.

On the bee front, it is a mixed bag. The bees have been active when the temperature has been above 55 degrees without rain, but have stayed hunkered down while it rained. The bumblebees have been active throughout the rain (except at its heaviest). My Minnesota Hygienic Italians have been very slow to draw out the comb, however. It is possible that I have a week queen. Given the bees hardwired social structure, it is not like a scrappy young worker could throw off her blue-colar status to rise to the top. Unless the queen dies off, it is not really possible the hive will pickup in the production of wax. I ordered a new queen (interesting age we live in where one can do a quick search on the Internet, quickly locate a bee & queen supplier, order a new queen, and have it by the end of next week) from a pleasant sounding company in Kentucky. The MHIs are down to being in a single deep super with feed pail atop.

The Carniolans, on the other hand, are going great guns (check out the latest Beekeeping Video – June 6, 2010). The Carns are quickly filling up the two deep supers, and also have a honey super on in addition to the feeder pail (as long as wax is in need of being drawn out, I am keeping the feed pails on) sans Honey-B-Healthy; just straight-up sugar syrup.

Fog and rain have done one really nice thing: constant watering of the gardens. The ground, wooden fence and just about everything else that can hold water is at the saturation point; the gates on the fence are tight to close because of all the rain. The beans, cabbage, leeks, peas, onions, garlic, cucumbers, and potatoes are doing wonderfully. The garlic is nearly ready to be harvested – they are approaching 30 inches tall and most are starting to form a flower. The onions are getting close to flowering as well. The only things that are doing alright are the corn and peppers — both could use a good burst of heat.

Final note on the grapes. The Frontenac grapes seem to be doing alright — the ones that made it through the winter, that is. We have one plant that is forming tiny bunches of grapes. We will at least have a few bunches, which is great — making having lost a few plants this week slightly more tolerable.