David's Blog

Living a quiet life in Coquitlam, B.C.

Location: Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

Monday, March 08, 2021

Spring is Around the Corner: Lots to do in the Back Yard

Spring is in the air and I have been spending more time in the back yard getting ready for the growing season ahead. Temperatures are going up to around 10 degrees Celcius and the weather forecast is for a few clear sunny days ahead. (Coquitlam is growing zone 8A.)

So ... today I spent a good part of the day working outside.

Blueberries are supposed to be one of the earliest blooming plants in the Spring:

But the Plum Trees look like they might leaf out first:

And the Asian Pear Tree is close behind:

Incidentally, I tried my hand at grafting. I do not know what kind of Plum Tree is growing in the little garden plot, but I was given some scions from BB, Sr., who told me they were from an Italian Plum and produced delicious fruit. Three of them are now on the tree in the garden plot, and one each on the trees beside the bridge:

It's an ongoing learning process, but I sure hope this works! It would be nice to see successful growth later this Spring and Summer.

I also got the Mason Bee House ready to welcome some Mason Bees.

This is the two-season home, for both Mason Bees and Leafcutter Bees. Last year, I used the cardboard tubes for the Mason Bees and was able to fit in both the styrofoam block for the Leafcutter Bees and several tubes. However, this year, I got a QuickLock block because it is easier to clean in the Autumn compared to the cardboard tubes. One drawback I quickly found: the two-season house can not fit the QuickLock block and the styrofoam block for Leafcutter Bees.

For the moment, I cut the styrofoam block into a smaller piece and put it on top of the QuickLock block. It's a temporary solution until I figure out something better.

It's not pretty, but I hope it works.

One other modification I made: a small piece of metal mesh (thanks, Renzo) has been put in front of the entrance to the bee house. The mesh size is about 3/8 inch. It should prevent access by larger predators like birds or mice. It is held in place by rebar tie wire.

The Mason Bee cocoons, themselves, are still in the refrigerator, safe and sound.

They will be put outside when the blueberry plants start blooming; I don't want to risk them coming out of hibernation by a stretch of warm weather but having no flowers available to them.

On another note, I have signed up for a beekeeping course offered by the provincial government (the Ministry of Agriculture): Introduction to Beekeeping

It's a free webinar. I don't live on a farm, or have a beehive, but it's a field that has fascinated me for years, and I like to learn as much about it as possible. Should be fun!

Update: 15 March 2021

The Comfrey (Bocking 4 Hybrid) on the north side of the creek is poking through the straw that was put around it last Autumn. Another sign of Spring!

However, still no sign of the one on the south side of the creek. Perhaps being on a southward-facing slope makes plants grow faster. The peas that were planted last year on the north side also seemed to be about one week ahead of the ones planted on the south side.

Update: 1 April 2021

The first Plum flowers are fully open. This flower is from the tree on the north side of the creek.

The two Plum trees on the south side of the creek are somewhat behind; the flower buds have formed, but it may be a week before they actually blossom.

Update: 6 April 2021

The first Asian Pear tree flowers are fully open.

11 April 2021

The Comfrey on the south side of the creek has finally poked above the ground. Some of the shoots are still bent over and, at first, I wasn't sure if it was the Comfrey coming up. It is. I guess it had more mulch to grow through in addition to the different growing location.

18 April 2021

The first flowers on the Apple trees are open (unknown variety):

19 April 2021

The blueberry flowers are on the verge of being fully open. Of the three plants, this one is furthest along:

The other two plants are quite a bit behind.

The grape plant has also started to leaf out:

The Fig tree is coming along too:

The first Borage flower of the year is fully open:

5 May 2021

First Comfrey flower open:

Just think, since March 15, the little shoot that poked above the ground has turned into this:

That is amazing growth! And this is a single plant.

17 May 2021

Two of the Plum grafts are successful; the scions I grafted on to the existing Plum Trees are just leafing out (somewhat behind the rest of the tree):

And the trees have a few small Plums on them:

This is the first time I have seen Plums on any of the Plum Trees. I guess they are reaching the age where they start fruiting. Good to see!

11 October 2021

Took the Mason Bee house down and cleaned out the nest. I was pleased to see they had filled almost every one of the nesting channels. (73 cocoons harvested.) And the Leafcutter Bee section was used too. I didn't buy any Leafcutter Bee cocoons this Spring; the local bees must have found it and used it.

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