New Approach to Harvesting Honey

Via Colossal

We found this post on the Colossal blog about a new beehive design that lets you harvest the honey without pulling combs and disturbing the bees.  While this may not be the solution for commercial operations it could be just the thing for backyard beekeepers with just a couple hives.







The Flow Hive is a new beehive invention that promises to eliminate the more laborious aspects of collecting honey from a beehive with a novel spigot system that taps into specially designed honeycomb frames. Invented over the last decade by father and son beekeepers Stuart and Cedar Anderson, the system eliminates the traditional process of honey extraction where frames are removed from beehives, opened with hot knives, and loaded into a machine that uses centrifugal force to get the honey out. Here is how the Andersons explain their design:

The Flow frame consists of already partly formed honeycomb cells. The bees complete the comb with their wax, fill the cells with honey and cap the cells as usual. When you turn the tool, a bit like a tap, the cells split vertically inside the comb forming channels allowing the honey to flow down to a sealed trough at the base of the frame and out of the hive while the bees are practically undisturbed on the comb surface.

When the honey has finished draining you turn the tap again in the upper slot resets the comb into the original position and allows the bees to chew the wax capping away, and fill it with honey again.

It’s difficult to say how this might scale up for commercial operations, but for urban or backyard beekeeping it seems like a whole lot of fun. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine these on the roof of a restaurant where honey could be extracted daily, or for use by kids or others who might be more squeamish around live bees. You can see more on their website and over on Facebook.

UPDATE: The Flow Hive is currently seeking funding on IndieGogo. So far they’ve raised $1.8 million in 16 hours.


This post is courtesy of giantveggiegardener’s blog:

lettuce_greenhouse germinating

So now that the Persephone period is over and the magic date of January 15th is upon us, what does that mean? It means our day lengths are getting longer and today, January 15th is when we start getting 10 hours of daylight that will continue to get longer every day. Have you noticed already it now gets dark around 5:30 instead of 5 pm? The darkest time of the year is over. What does that mean to gardeners? To learn how to start cold hardy vegetable seeds super early outside and how also how to start them inside read on.

If you want to try growing cold hardy vegetables outdoors at this time of year, you will need a cold frame, low tunnel or hoophouse.

If you already planted cold hardy vegetables late last fall in a cold frame, low tunnel or hoop house, you may have noticed that the little seedlings haven’t been growing much at all as winter set in. Now with longer daylight hours, they will start to grow again and barring any devastating freezes, they will continue to grow and you can get cold hardy crops earlier this spring.

In late winter, before you have harvest your winter crops, decide what you want to plant in your bed once space opens up in your cold frame.  As the end of the Persephone period draws near (January 15) , you can reseed the openings created from your harvesting or you could start planting seeds in your bed if you don’t have anything growing. My soil in my unheated greenhouse is at 40°F right now (as of January 12). Lots of cold hardy vegetables germinate in cold soil.  They will be slow to start at first but they will start as your soil warms up to 40°F and warmer. Now with the day light getting longer, you can think about starting early. The winter sowing you do will be ready for harvest by early spring, often long before the same crop when grown outside without protection. A bonus is many of the cold hardy winter crops don’t like our springs, bolting on the first few warm days so you’ll be able to harvest that spinach before it bolts!

Some cold-hardy plants planted inside a cold frame, low tunnel or hoop house can tolerate a hard freeze at night, provided they are allowed to thaw during the day. The plants must be completely thawed before you harvest them. In addition, put some winter row cover over seedlings at night to give them an additional 4-6°F protection even though they are already in a cold frame, etc.. Remove the row cover on days when it is above freezing. Watering is necessary to get crops started, but they will generally require very little water during the winter season-early spring once established.

I’ve already written about starting seeds inside on many previous posts.
To learn all about starting seeds indoors to get a head start go here:

The following list of winter vegetables to grow is from ‘The Winter Harvest Handbook’ by Elliot Coleman. This is a great book. These can be planted either as transplants (first started inside under lights) or outside as seeds in cold frames, low tunnels or hoop houses.

Asian greens-Tatsoi, Pak Choi (Mei Quing Choi), Mizuna, Tokyo Bekana,Komatsuna

arugula-Astro, Sylvetta

beets-Red Ace, Merlin, Touchstone Gold

beet leaves-Bull’s Blood, Red Ace

carrot-Napoli, Mokum, Nelson

chard-Fordhook Giant, Ruby Red, Argentata


endive-Bianca Riccia


lettuce-Red Saladbowl, Tango, Rex, Rouge d’hiver



mustard green-Toyoko Beau

radishes-Tinto, D’Avignon, Cherriette

scallion-White Spear





The Persephone Period

Winter Greens

As we approach the shortest day of the year most people’s attentions have turned from gardening to other indoor activities.  The plants too have turned inward during this time of cold and limited light.  If you had the foresight to plant winter greens in a cold frame or greenhouse you’ve probably noticed that not too much is going on right now.  The reason for this is because we are in the Persephone Period.

Coined by Elliot Coleman, the Persephone Period is the time of year when there are fewer than 10 hours of sunlight during the day.  The following is an excerpt from his book The Winter Harvest Handbook that describes the origins of the Persephone Period:

Humans have long had their own way of understanding the changes in day length and its affect on agriculture. Early Greek farmers, whose practical experience added mythical stories to astronomical fact, knew intimately that the power of the sun and the length of the day are the principal influences on agriculture. They created the myth of Persephone to explain the effect of winter conditions. As the story goes, the earth goddess Demeter had a daughter, Persephone, who was abducted by Hades to live with him as his wife in the netherworld. Demeter would have nothing to do with this and threatened to shut down all plant growth. Zeus intervened and brokered a deal whereby Persephone would spend only the winter months with her husband, Hades. Demeter, saddened by her daughter’s absence, made the earth barren during that time. On our farm we refer to the period when the days are less than ten hours long as the Persephone months.

Depending on your latitude the Persephone Period can be longer or shorter compared to other places.  Here in Santa Fe it lasts from Thanksgiving to January 14th whereas in Maine it lasts from November 5 to February 5 .  While the plants may not be doing much right now there are still plenty of activities for the gardener to attend to.

Clean out and fertilize the garden- If you are like me you may or may not have gotten around to pulling the dead plants and spreading manure after the harvesting is over.  It’s never too late to take advantage of a warm day to reset things and allow nature ample chance to replenish the ground.

Water the Perennials-  While we have been blessed with a series of light snow storms this year it is important to get out 1-2 times a month and check the soil around your perennials to make sure it is still moist.  Bulbs, trees and bushes use these months to grow roots and can be set back if they are allowed to dry out.  In addition moist soil will protect your plants from deep freezes.  Wet soil will freeze into a protective block around roots and keep them safe when the thermometer plunges into single digits and lower.

Get set for next year-  Now is the time to peruse those seed catalogs that have been showing up in the mailbox.  Look at last season’s notebook and think about what new varieties you would like to try next year.  Go over your tools and equipment and repair or replace the broken stuff. Collect supplies for starting seeds.  In just a few months it will be time to start the new planting year and there is nothing that helps with the winter blahs as much as having a flat of fresh starts in the window or under lights.

While we are in a time of well earned rest and recuperation right now, before we know it the plants under glass will be kicking back into high gear for early spring salads.  Then the snow will be melting and the first sprouts of spring will be tentatively poking up outside ready to start all over again.


Happy Holidays!

xmas clip reindeer

Happy Holidays!
We at Home Grown New Mexico want to wish you a a happy holiday and wonderful winter! Take this season to re-juice up for the next growing season.  I know we are.

Next year we will have many exciting new classes/events coming and would love your input on what you might be interested in learning, so feel free to tell us. Leave your comments below on what you would like so we might consider them!

Hemp Bound Talk and Workshop

Our gardening season may be over but our friends over at Carbon Economy Series still have some interesting programs coming up. Here is their next one.

Hemp bound book







Carbon Economy Series presents:
Hemp Lecture/Workshop
Friday Night Talk

Friday, November 21, 2014
Time: 7-9 pm
Cost: $10
Speaker: Doug Fine
Where: Santa Fe Community College

Two years of worldwide hemp research that led to the book Hemp Bound.

Full Day Workshop
November 22, 2014
Where: Santa Fe Community College
Time: 9 am-5 pm
Cost: $99

• Latest development in hemp industry
• Panel discussion with industry leaders and trade experts
• Networking sessions.

For more info go to:

A Live Event With Doug Fine
Could it really be true? Seventy-seven years of prohibition of one of humanity’s longest-utilized and most useful plants is ending? It is true. And just in the nick of time. Humanity desperately needs a natural fibers-based replacement for petro- and chemical-plastics, GMO-based foods, and fossil fuel-based energy.  Hemp is that replacement: two years of research by bestselling author Doug Fine shows that anything petroleum, chemicals and GMOs can do, hemp can do better. We’ll learn how to make it happen in the ground and in the economy.

Beermaking event!


Come learn how to make beer at home. Last year was such a hit we decided to offer it again! This is our last fundraising event for 2014.  We still have spaces open in the class but you must sign up and pay below. Please note this is a 2 part class-the first part you make the beer and in the second part your bottle it. Cheers!

Sunday, November 16-part 1
Making Beer at Home (brewing with the extract method)
Learn how to make beer!
Time: 10am-2pm
Instructor: Duskin Jasper
Location: Whole Food’s Community Room (St. Francis location)

Sunday, November 30-part 2
Making Beer at Home (bottling your beer) Part 2
Learn how to bottle beer!
Time: 10am-1pm
Instructor: Duskin Jasper
Location: Whole Food’s Community Room (St. Francis location)

Introduction to the Extract Method of Beer Brewing – learn how to brew your own beer at home.

This is a two part class. In the first session using basic ingredients such as malt extract, hops, water and yeast we will brew 12 gallons of beer with simple equipment that is readily available to the home brewer. Then in the second session we will bottle the beer we made 2 weeks earlier. Each student will take home a 6-pack of home brew.

-1st session: Sunday, November 16th, 2014 (Brew Day) from 10 AM to 2 PM. Bring a sack lunch.
-2nd session: Sunday, November 30th, (Bottling Day) from 10 AM to 1 PM.

Cost is $25 per student

Class is strictly limited to 20 students.  You must purchase your ticket through Eventbright to guarantee your spot in the class.

(Members must also pay for this event as it costs a fair amount for the materials.)

Learn how to make beer at home!

Santa Fe Harvest Swap

Harvest Swap pic

This in from the organization: Radical Homemakers of New Mexico

The third annual Santa Fe Harvest Swap is just around the corner!
It will be held Sunday, OCTOBER 26th 2014 from 10-1pm in the Railyard Park Community Room.

The swap is free, and according to our past participants, one of the funnest events of the year. It is a chance to showcase your specialties from the kitchen, and to take home a wide variety of goodies from fellow swappers. The experience of celebrating the year’s abundance in a joyful exchange will leave you inspired and feeling connected to kindred souls. Come join us!

While the name Harvest Swap was inspired by the epic fruit year of 2012, it is a little misleading. You don’t need to bring things you grew or harvested yourself (though you certainly can). Really most of the swapping is of prepared items: baked treats, specialty condiments, goat cheese and cultured butter, jams and preserves, fermented items, herb teas and tinctures, soap and salves, and so on. Still, all these things originate as a harvest, so in honor of that we’re sticking with the name.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER  PLEASE DO SO HERE!  Participants are limited so sign up now!

Looking forward to seeing you and your creations on the big day!

Your friends at Radical Homemakers of New Mexico