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tips on replacing boxes?

Post  elwowee on 5/19/2013, 11:59 am

Hi all! Just got done giving my many tomato blossoms a going over with the electric toothbrush! LOL This is, hopefully, going to help with pollination. WHERE ARE THE BEES? I'm afraid that all the chemicals farmers are putting onto their various plants are killing our bees. Can't prove it....but the scarcity of the honeybees is undeniable. Thinking of Mason bees for next year. No experience with them...so lots to learn.

Question....does anyone have any tips to share with replacement of our sfg boxes? They're wooden...have used them a number of years and the older ones are going to need replacing soon...rotting going on. Just wonder if any of you have ideas, thoughts or tips you can share to help out a fellow gardener.

Incidentally....wifey said as we both were electric toothbrushing the mater blossoms...."Hey, we even SOUND like bees!" Happy weekend, y'all! elwo

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Re: tips on replacing boxes?

Post  boffer on 5/19/2013, 12:08 pm

@elwowee wrote:...Incidentally....wifey said as we both were electric toothbrushing the mater blossoms...."Hey, we even SOUND like bees!" Happy weekend, y'all! elwo

I'm sure the plants won't even know the difference! Razz

Depending on the construction style of your boxes, it can be practical to replace one board at a time. If your MM is properly saturated, it will retain it's shape as you carefully remove a board and position another one in its place.
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Re: tips on replacing boxes?

Post  camprn on 5/19/2013, 12:23 pm

I would recommend a paint brush instead of a tooth brush.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: tips on replacing boxes?

Post  boffer on 5/19/2013, 12:32 pm

@camprn wrote:I would recommend a paint brush instead of a tooth brush.
TMW!

I think the electric tooth brush is used to shake loose the pollen so it becomes airborne, rather than to physically transfer it to another blossom.
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Re: tips on replacing boxes?

Post  littlejo on 5/19/2013, 12:33 pm

For the bees, plant lots of blooming flowers close to your SFG. Some clover all around the edge, will bloom and also put nitrogen into the soil, then you can plant more flowers next yr where the clover was. Call your ext. agent and complain, that farmers must be spraying chemicals and killing bees. Don't have to prove it, and even if they just say something to the farmers, may put the bug in someones ear. Bees are necessary and are being kept an eye on.

As far as the boxes, I'd put a plastic barrier on outside of boxes, then put new boards on outside using treated wood. The inside boards could then just continue to rot, eventually making into compost.
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Re: tips on replacing boxes?

Post  boffer on 5/19/2013, 12:38 pm

@littlejo wrote:...As far as the boxes, I'd put a plastic barrier on outside of boxes, then put new boards on outside using treated wood. The inside boards could then just continue to rot, eventually making into compost.
Jo
That's an easier solution!
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Re: tips on replacing boxes?

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/19/2013, 1:07 pm

@elwowee wrote:....snip.... Thinking of Mason bees for next year. No experience with them...so lots to learn.
.... elwo
Mason bees are easy. They go out when you see blossoms (a nice day is a good idea). We have never had so many pears, we had to think our apples for the first time after we got Mason Bees. They live happily in a zipper bag in the crisper drawer of the fridge all winter. They wake up when we put them out in spring... wake up hungry!! Amazing little bugs. They come back to the tube on the side of the house were they are easy to collect and put back in the fridg for winter. The only thing they want from me is a muddy spot (really just a spot! a 9" circle of mud under a drippy rain barrel works fine).

In an attempt to stay on subject, my boxes tend to rot from the bottom up (much like old log homes set right on the ground instead of on a foundation). Our garden is in back where no one but my very impressed neighbors see it. We added 2x4's to the top of the old boxes. Our red-neck fix is working just fine.... but we like easy more then pretty.


The box with the hinged kitty-cover (covered with poly for spring) is the fixed box. The pic was from last season. This year the boards are both the same shade of gray but the upper board is as strong and crisp feeling as when we added it (it might be a 2x6 now that I look, my husband still thinks sfg's should be deeper than 6")
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Thanks everybody!

Post  elwowee on 5/19/2013, 1:46 pm

Great ideas all...thanks a bunch! The electric toothbrushes ARE, theoretically, designed to cause the pollen to float around....both the male and the female are in the same blossom so we're hoping to get success. Incidentally, we've resorted to artist brushes in the past in our greenhouse, during the fall, with pretty good success.


Re the rebuilding....you've given me some great ideas. I thank you all for them....it's so cool to be able to sfg-speak with fellow gardeners who do it nearly the same way. (But differently, as my wife says.)

Dug some taters, onions and squash for "supper"...can't wait for more "fresh stuff"! You guys are terrific...and thanks again...elwo

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