Let's Get Busy!
Spring has definitely sprung at the barn these past few weeks and we've seen plenty of proof, including the bees out and about on warmer days. They'd made this honeycomb at the top of the hive where winter food, in the form of fondant, is put. Maybe it's like putting a shopping delivery in your cupboards but you have to make the cupboard first! We've now had plenty of spring flowers for them to visit and there'll be more on the way.
First snowdrop, daffodils, marsh marigold and crocus.
And we have had exciting gifts of frog spawn from our neighbour, Liz.
Frogs have a tendency to spawn in the pond where they were born. But to try to guarantee more of their tadpoles survive, they will lay in other ponds. But rather than wait and see, we were glad to accept the gift. Only 1-2% of tadpoles survive, so here's hoping enough make it to give us our own frog population. At the moment there are LOADS!
The murkiness you can see in the photo is algae. This has been spreading in the pond because our plants haven't had a chance to establish properly yet and cover more of the pond's surface. When there's a lot of light on the water and/or leaf debris, algae will form. But luckily - guess who likes munching on it? Yes, those tadpoles.
And this chap - who has plenty
of friends! So we'll leave it be for the moment. We do clear as many leaves and pine needles as we can each week but it's just not possible to get all of it. But as the pond matures, there'll be more of a balance of what's needed to keep the water clear.
This pond skater seems quite happy anyway and we've seen water boatmen and whirligig beetles, so this pond world is developing just as it should be.
And the bees have made it their local. It's so important to have a water source for the insects as well as all the other creatures.
At the other end of the site, some of the volunteers have learned how to make raised beds and what a grand job they've made of them! And after one long hot afternoon of shovelling and barrowing they're now full of vegetable top soil. Great teamwork from eveyone.
With a good depth of soil like this we're hopeful of even better crops this year as there'll be room for deep rooted plants like tomatos to spread and there'll be generally less drying out in hot weather. It's been great to see the polytunnel developing and becoming more of an organised growing space with plenty of room for visitors!
There'll be more news next month but in the meantime keep your fingers crossed for froglets.