Primacy Farms, Year 2
Summer is here and our garden continues to grow! Entering year two of operations, we now have over 2,600 sq ft of garden realty, two dozen chickens, and at present, something north of 60,000 bees (by the end of the season the two hives will grow to around 120,000 bees).
Wait, what? 120,000 bees?!?
That’s right. We’re expanding our farm operations with the addition of honeybees. The end goal? You guessed it – lots of fresh honey. We started two hives in late April with 3,600 bees. Over the past two months, they have multiplied to about 30,000 per hive. By the end of the summer they’ll have grown to around 60,000 per hive (that’s 120,000 total).
To put that in a different perspective, when you order bees from an apiary they are ordered by weight. We started off with 6lbs total which was then split into two groups of 3lbs/3600 (one for each hive). By that math, across both hives we are at 50lbs today and by the end of the summer we should max out at 100lbs of pure honeybee.
Each hive is expected to produce 50-100lbs of harvested honey per year. Including what gets left in the hive so the bees can make it through the winter, the total is closer to 90-190lbs. This is a pretty remarkable feat considering it takes 10,000 worker bees to make a pound of honey; each producing about 1/10th of a teaspoon over the course of its 6 week lifespan.
Unsurpassed skill + unequivocal team work = sweet delicious success. Primacy has more in common with our pollenating friends than just our school colors.
While the bees are exciting, we can’t overlook our other meticulous helpers, the chickens. Last year was a bumpy one as we received A LOT more roosters than expected (half of the original brood). That isn’t great for egg production and it created quite a ruckus once the boys began producing testosterone. We found a good home for several of the roosters and we added 12 new hens this spring. They should begin laying in a couple of months. But, even at half of the production we are still seeing about four dozen eggs a week!
The chickens were like kids at recess for several months with free reign over the garden to help prep for growing season. They vigorously weeded, flushed out the grubs, and fertilized. Now that the veggies are in the ground, the chickens are back in their run and on the receiving end of all weeds and pests pulled from the garden.
The garden has a new curtain drain (hand dug by Primacy employees) that will alleviate many of the drainage issues we experienced last year. We’ve also added blueberry bushes as permanent additions within the garden and raspberry bushes, pear trees, strawberries, and mint to areas outside of the garden and around the building.
Employee participation has been immense and is not just limited to weeding, planting and watering. The company compost has grown to well over a yard with contributions from several compost containers in the office. We’ve also built three potato boxes to see how many potatoes and sweet potatoes we can grow in a confined space. And it’s never too early to look ahead – several folks have already started brainstorming ideas for next year!