Our second class opened with a movie. The Silence of the Bees, a Nature production (2007). The topic was Colony Collapse Disorder. Colony Collapse Disorder is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term colony collapse disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006. This wasn't the first time I had heard about CCD, the movie painted a dire picture for our current food ways if the challenge of aiding the bees was not met. It first outlined the possible causes for CCD and then illustrated though antidotes or interviews with scientist which were plausible; parasites, virus, starvation, poison, and which were not; cell phone interference.
Although, at the time, there was no concrete conclusions most signs were pointing at a virus that was weakening the bees and their resistance to parasites, virus, starvation, and poisons.
The second part of class we sorted a collection of donated seed for various purposes The class will be helping out with the local food pantry, Philabundance, Urban Creators, Cheltenham high school, temple medical herb garden, and greek related plant sales. After the sort our groups got to choose plants for our plots. It took all the strength I had not to just fill my pockets and run. Such temptation. After much deliberation this is our crop list:
Carrot- Carnival Blend
Pepper- jewel-toned bells
Cauliflower- chef's choice blend
Beet-Detroit dark red
Cuke-west Indian gherkin
Very colorful but not to "weird" for the food pantry
Lab today was an introduction to the tool shed and seed starting protocol. Also, apple cake, but more on that later. I learned that what I'd call a pitch fork could also be a cultivator. Standing there listening her talk about pitch forks, all I could think was that one good thing about losing the farm was I didn't have to hay ever again if I didn't want to. Being the shortest in my family meant I had to be up in the hot, dusty, hay loft. I don't miss that one bit. After our trip to the tool shed we went back to the green house. Eva presented us we apple cake made from the apples from the previous lab. It was dairy free, heavy on the cinnamon and very good. Following that we started our seeds. Adam and I filled a whole tray with leeks, while Carlo, Tina, and our newest member Joe splitting a tray between cauliflower and lettuce. Other groups were planting their beets, I'm worried now that we should have started ours too, but I think we'll have time. Next month we'll start the peppers and in the weeks following that we'll do the tomatoes.