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Home Beekeeping

Few gardening-related hobbies are as fascinating and satisfying as raising honey bees. Contribute to the health of your area's honey bee population. Buy this guide to learning bee culture and start your own bee hives.

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Learn to preserve the produce you grow in your home kitchen garden. This home canning starter kit includes everything you need to can your first batch using the boiling water bath method for high-acid foods. Find it and other canning supplies at the Home Kitchen Garden Store.


I rescued beehives from the mess in my dad’s barn and stacked them in the mess in my garage. Then my enthusiasm plummeted. My wife wants the hives gone; minimally, I’ll move them out of the garage, but I hope to have at least one ready for occupancy by mid-April.

Your Home Kitchen Garden blog has suffered from significant neglect for many months. This is partly because the blog is about growing food—something I pretty much don’t do during the winter. On the other hand, last summer and fall I wandered the neighborhoods of Lewisburg and surrounds, photographing kitchen gardens that I figured to share with readers during the cold months… and then I didn’t share them.

Spring is upon us in hardiness zone 5b, and I’ve started excavating rows in my home kitchen garden for cool-weather crops. This means there’s something else I didn’t accomplish during the non-gardening winter: I didn’t get my behives in order.

The Beehive Story

Last spring, I got very excited to revisit beekeeping. My dad had managed honey bees, and I had participated. He offered up his old gear, and I made a trip to the old family farm to bring home some beehives. I blogged about these experiences in several posts:

Home Kitchen Garden Beekeepers

Have You Bought a Beehive?

Install Bees in Your Home Kitchen Garden

Scrounging Beehive for my Home Kitchen Garden

As excited as I was to start bees, my enthusiasm took a nosedive when I saw the condition of my dad’s old gear: mouse nests, dried up wax, broken frames, missing components (a bee bonnet, gloves, and a smoker are crucial for me as I swell up like a bo-bo doll when I get stung)… I needed a focused weekend to bring dad’s old gear back to life.

The greatest busy-work in reviving my ancient beehives will be in scraping dried-up was from these wooden frames, replacing broken parts, and mounting sheets of beeswax on the frames. A hive box, or “super,” hold nine or ten frames, depending on how you pack them in.

So, weekends passed and I made no progress on the beehives, and pretty soon it was too late in the season to start a hive… and that’s where things stand. I’ve a large stack of wife-annoying gear in the garage, and I must reserve a day to scrape wax, repair frames, mount beeswax foundation, and assemble a hive body and a super.

My Beekeeping Hope

Last year I approached beekeeping with great enthusiasm… but it was already kind of late in the season before I realized fully the challenges I’d face. This year my enthusiasm is back and my eyes are wide open. At the very least I’ll move the beehive components out of the garage.

Still, I have every intention of setting up a hive body in April so it’s ready for occupation in May or June. I’ll evaluate whether I can afford to buy a package of bees with a queen. If bees are too pricey, I’ll set some bait honey in my hive and hope to capture a swarm.

However my beekeeping efforts play out this season, I’ll report here.

Become a Beekeeper

My renewed intent brings me to re-raise the call: If you have a garden and a little extra space, please consider seriously starting your own bees. With Colony Collapse Disorder still puzzling specialists, every new hive provides a smidge of added hope that our honeybee population remains vital.

I’ll provide encouragement… and I’ll try not to let down the honeybees this year. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.



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4 Responses to Beekeeping at my Home Kitchen Garden

  • Angela Davis says:

    I really want bees this year but I’m not sure I have any room. My lot is pretty small and I don’t know what kind of space is needed around then. Maybe I’ll reach out to someone. Thanks & good luck!

  • admin says:

    To work the hive, you need space to maneuver on all sides while carrying one of the boxes that makes up a “layer” of the hive. As well, it’s really useful to have a level area within a pace of the hive where you can set down those hive sections (supers and brood chambers). Especially in temperate climates, it’s good to have the hive where it gets some sun (especially morning sun is good) as the warmth will get bees active on cooler days. Full sun all day isn’t a great idea… the bees actually cool the hive by buzzing their wings, but on a hot sunny day they simply won’t be able to keep up.

    Finally, it’s good to have a “flyway” of six to ten feet in front of the hive’s entrance. They buzz in and out at high speed, and on some days there will be a cloud of bees in front of the hive. It’s important to have enough space to walk past the hive without disrupting the flyway and quite possibly receiving disciplinary action from the bees.

    I hope none of that is too restrictive to prevent you from adding bees. If you can put the hive on a platform above your garden, you solve some of the problems. However, the platform needs to provide a work area and a place to set down supers and brood chambers. Lifting a super full of honey down from a raised platform may be very challenging.

    All that said, I hope you can find a way to fit in a hive. Raising bees is a fascinating experience.

  • Pingback: Honey Bees are in My Home Kitchen Garden | Your Home Kitchen Garden

  • gary n debbie says:

    hi just happened on your blog site and it has a mass of information ,we keep bees and chickens grow our own tomatoes at home in england thankyou very much for sharing and i will be popping back from time to time as my wife is very interested in canning products regads gary

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