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jimbeekeeper 

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Hi

The neighbouring farmer has given me permission to use a 50 x 10 m bit of his field for growing veg, + I wanto to increase my hive numbers to will expand to this location.

I hired a rotovtor today. ?40 well spent, still very hard work controlling a beat of a machine, but would have taken me days to dig by hand (if I had lasted that long)

Hope for some fine weather over the next couple of days to get all my spuds and oinions in and some of my plants currently in the cold frames
 

victor meldrew 

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The spuds should help to condition the soil.( Depending on what was grown there before)expect wire worm damage .
John
 

jimbeekeeper 

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The results of my rotorvating, and in the distance the start of my apiary.

It the picture bottom left bed is all potatoes, along with half of the bottom right bed.

Middle bed on left is all onions (red and white).

Other beds will soon be filled with a combination of plants from earlier sowing in the greenhouse and direct sowing for a succession of veg.
.

 
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Baggyone 

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Nice plot. My allotment looks in far worse condition after 5 years than that!!:)
 

Geoff 

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This week i replied to an advert offering an allotment. I am going to rent a piece of land 24m X 28m. The owner will scrape off the weeds and will borrow a plough, which I will follow up with my rotovater. There is a water supply and a site toilet and a guy lives on site who acts as a security guard.
I will have to put in fencing to keep the bunnies out and my German Shepherd in, though the owner was quite happy to give my dog the run of his site.
He also says i can erect a polytunnel if i wish.
So I can grow as much fruit and veg as i want with some to sell through Country Markets, all organic or should i say "grown without the use of chemicals or artificial fertilisers" - you can't use the word organic when selling. I can also get some groundcover matting down and lay out the pots of unusual perennials that i have been known to sell. and i can have as many bee hives down there as I want.
As I am taking early retirement it should get me out of the house in the morning and perhaps supplement the pension.
 

planbee 

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Geoff,

I haven't a smallholding, [although two former wives might say otherwise!], but why can't you use the word "Organic" when selling?

Tesco and Morrison's seem to be able to use it.

John
 

East Yorks New Bee 

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Geoff,

I haven't a smallholding, [although two former wives might say otherwise!], but why can't you use the word "Organic" when selling?

Tesco and Morrison's seem to be able to use it.

John
To use the word organic when selling , you have to be able to trace back from crop to seed that everything has been done organically, the soil association has to certify that the ground is organic (5 years(i think is the time) of no pesticides, weedkillers, non organic fertilizers Etc..) Tesco and Morrisons dont have to worry about this , it is the organic farmer that has to get all this in place. Then they come along pay him /her a pittance and charge us a premium.
 

planbee 

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Thanks,

You learn something every day!

I've often wondered about the honey that I've seen described as "Organic" - I wonder how they guarantee that?

John
 

Nellie 

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Soil association has guidelines for "Organic" honey which includes things like:

Forage area, no non organic farmland within 4 miles I believe, other land has to be reasonably assured not be doused in Agent Orange regularly.

Feed given to the bees has to be organic.

You can cull/replace queens and drones but you can't clip the queen

and other odds and sods stretching over about 10 pages.
 

planbee 

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Thanks for that, Nellie,

I'm glad that I'm only returning to beekeeping for "fun" - to be more precise, it's for the bee's sake, they seem to be having a rough time recently, and someone has to help 'em along a bit.

I don't care if they don't make a surplus of honey, just as long as they see their way through to each spring, I'll feel that I've done something useful.

John
 

Nellie 

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I took a look out of interest when I managed to sort out an apiary site on an organic farm, mainly to make sure that I didn't need to do anything special myself and briefly toyed with the idea of seeing if it was worth trying to get any honey from the hive(s) there certified as organic, but as this stage it looks an awful lot of work of very little benefit with a few things that even at this stage of beekeeping that I'm not sure I agree with.

I think I share your outlook really, if I get a few pots of honey at the end of the year I'll have considered it a success as long as they're still going next spring. I like the bees more than I like the honey to be perfectly honest.
 

jimbeekeeper 

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I think that if you sell to freinds/family, they would consider your ver plot veg and honey to be of better quality and "organic" than they can every buy else where!

That is the view my buyers have.

This also applies to my hes eggs, despite feeding them basic food, they are free to range and eat worms etc.
 
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East Yorks New Bee 

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Thats what our family and friends think too Jim, and the eggs are more tasty and fresher than any egg you get at ANY supermarket (must be the worms and things that give them extra taste :) )
 

Geoff 

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Basically the difference between the veg i grow and have sold and that labelled organic in the shops is £450/year. There are two organisations that oversee the organic certification, one of which is the Soil Association and they charge the same.
I know people who exceed the organic standards, particularly when it comes to egg production but they cannot sell as organic because they cannot afford the annual fee.
Years ago the Soil Association had a sliding scale and the fee was based on annual turnover. So small producers could afford to use it.The present scheme just means that only the big boys make enough annual profit to pay for the organic label. I think the present system works against key environmental principles, of encouraging small scale local producers who supply the local area.
I cannot see how you could produce organic honey in this country. If a bee will fly 3 miles to forage then you need a circle 6 miles across radiating out from your hive that is purely organic. No chance! However if you can locate on or near an organic farm then go for it. You are less likely to get spray on your bees and any pasture or hedge bottoms are likely to have a wider variety of wild flowers.
 

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