Posted by: silverspringsgarden | June 11, 2016

Mason Bees Have Arrived!

The mason bees for the Edible Garden arrived by FedEx in May – yes, FedEx. They came as cocoons, 60 of them, from BC. As you can see from the photo, the cocoons are well camouflaged. In the photo you can see one mason bee that has just emerged from its cocoon. All but one of the mason bees emerged from their cocoons

Pic1

Some of our gardeners have seen the industrious little creatures busy in the flowers that are in the perimeter of the Edible Garden. Because it is early in the season, the mason bees need to collect their pollen and nectar from those flowers. Later they will be attracted to the flowers on the growing vegetables as well. The pollen and nectar nourishes them, providing proteins and fats to help them maintain their strength. It is during this foraging process that the bees inadvertently pollinate the flowers they visit.

When we start to get our really nice summer weather, they will begin to make their nests in the mason bee chalet house we have in the garden. Each female will create a pollen lump and put it in the nest. Then she will lay an egg on the pollen lump, and close off the nest cell with mud to create an isolated chamber for each developing bee. Each female bee will lay 5 to 10 eggs this way.

Pic2

According to Alberta Gardener magazine, there are over 700 native species of bees in Canada. Mason bees are one of those native species. These native bees, through their pollination efforts, are responsible for approximately 70% of the food we eat! So now you know why it is so important to nurture bee populations, such as what we are doing at the Edible Garden.

Education for Silver Springs Schools

On Friday May 13 our mason bees arrived and on Monday three classes of students from Silver Springs Elementary School were able to observe many of them emerging from their cocoons.  Not only did these curious grade 1 and 2 students have an opportunity to observe the bees up close, they also learned about composting with our 3 stage compost system and learned about verma-composting which uses red wiggler worms to break down the organic material.  Many of them held the worms in their hands. The pots which they planted with herbs make an attractive addition to our garden.  This was their third visit to the Edible Garden.

Two classes of grade 1 students from Ecole St Sylvester also enjoyed an opportunity to learn about bees, composting, ladybugs and planting.  They have been studying ladybugs and bees in class so this was a great opportunity for them.

Garden Speaker Series

We are very pleased to present a gardening themed Speaker Series in partnership with The Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs and Parkdale Community Garden.

The Series features a different topic the 3rd Wednesday of each month, and is hosted by either Silver Springs Community Centre or Parkdale Community Centre. Details on upcoming topics are available at: https://silverspringsgarden.wordpress.com/events . Speakers we have engaged are all very knowledgeable and passionate about their respective topics!

Please join us for these information and dynamic packed evenings!

Tickets are $15.00 + GST available on-line (PayPal) at http://parkdalecommunity.com/garden-2/speaker-series/ or cash/chq at the door.

Companion Planting, Calgary Plant Selection & Cold Season Extension

 On May 18, 2016 Janet Melrose, “Calgary’s Cottage Gardener” did a presentation at the Community Centre on Companion Planting, Calgary plant selection and cold season extension.

After a career in Calgary’s corporate world, Janet’s lifelong enthusiasm for gardening led her to complete the Prairie Horticultural Certificate (with Distinction) through Olds College, together with the Home Farm Horticultural Therapy Certificate.  She has a long list of credentials and takes great satisfaction in sharing her knowledge and passion for all things relating to horticulture, contributing to the community through positive and productive action.

Thank you to all who attended the May Speaker Series session!  You can attest to Janet’s fun personality and to the wealth of information we all came away with.

A few brilliant ideas and demonstrations included:-successfully transplanting tomatoes..(Tums) coffee sack potatoes, floating row covers, succession planting, cold season/warm season planting, and milk jug seed germination….just to name a few!

We thank Janet for a great evening and more than a few new techniques to practice in our gardens!

Our next five speaker presentations will be hosted by the Parkdale Community Centre 3512 5 Ave NW.

  • Wednesday July 20, Adrian Buckley and Luke Kimmel from Regenerate Design will speak about a Food Forest.
  • Wednesday August 17, Julie Walker will speak about Culinary and Medicinal Herbs
  • Wednesday September 21, the topic will be Canning, Drying and Preserving

Watch for further details.

 

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