The Bees, the Planters, the Kickstarter, and more!!

Wow.  So much has happened since the last time I posted.  Where to start?  Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?  Let’s start with the bad news.

We got both of our heavy metal soil tests back, and the results were shocking.  Here’s what the levels were, in parts per million, for our backyard soil:

(Cr)  Chromium

64

(Co) Cobalt

9

(Ni) Nickel

28

(Cu) Copper

183

(Zn) Zinc

1002

(As)  Arsenic

14

(Cd) Cadmium

4.4

(Hg)  Mercury

4.3

(Pb) Lead

1639

Who remembers my last post where I cited information stating that lead levels over 300ppm should not be used for vegetable gardening?  Ours is over 5 times that.  We have some serious work to do if we ever want to make our soil safe to grow food on, which is an eventual goal.  My theory on where the super high lead levels are coming from is that the back fence, which is composed of extremely old painted metal store signs, have slowly been chipping off into the soil, which if true, means we have to get rid of the fence if we hope to stay truly lead free.  We also got our results back from some bags of free soil we found, which we were hoping would be less contaminated.  It did have acceptably low lead levels, but the levels of cadmium present were just above what I would feel comfortable with to allow it’s use.  We could use it for flower cultivation, but the data on accumulation of cadmium in pollen and nectar is iffy, and we don’t want to risk contaminating our honey.

Luckily, we have a few tricks up our sleeves that we are researching and planning on implementing once we have the funds; specifically, various forms of bioremediation, such as myco and phytoremediation, the details of which I will elaborate on in upcoming posts.  In short, we plan on dividing the yard into several plots, and trying out these various methods to see which works the best, but all with the eventual goal of making the soil clean and safe for food and flower production.

So that’s the bad news.  Now for the good news – the bees have finally arrived!!!!!!  After being pushed back a total of 3 times, AZ Apiaries posted on their website (www.azapiaries.com) that our finally truly official pick up date for our package of 30,000 bees was Sunday, May 29th.  Seeing as how we had yet to begin construction of the garden due to our obvious lack of funding, we were sort of starting to panic.  We took a tally of the total money we’ve had donated to us thus far from having small events at the hive, and used that to buy some good quality organic potting soil for two of the large tubs that were also donated to us, which we packed to the gills with flowering nectar plants.  Here’s a picture of the planters just after planting them, and the beehive minus the bees:

Not the most impressive set up, but it’s a start.  The plants are looking healthy overall, and will provide the bees with a very small amount of their needed nectar as different things start to flower throughout the season.  Once we have the sufficient funds to build this garden for real, hopefully the bees won’t have to forage at all, making the honey they produce almost entirely organic.

On to the final point, you may have noticed that throughout this post I’ve mentioned how much of a limiting factor money has been for us.  To try to remedy this limiting factor, we have officially launched our kickstarter campaign to try and truly get this project off the ground.  It will be running up until July 1, and has a goal set of $2,800 which would be just enough for us to construct stairs up to the roof (lugging soil, tubs, plants, water, a beehive, and 30,000 bees up a rickety ladder is not fun!!!), the rain catchment system, a large nectar garden for the bees, and a small to medium sized veggie garden.  If you’d like to contribute to making our garden a reality, you can do so hereEven if you only contribute a dollar, if we could get 2,800 people to do that, we’d meet our goal.  Please consider it, and thanks in advance!!

Until next time,

The Hive NYC

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