What has been happening at our place during January?

January is Tamworth Country Music month. It is often hot


and dry but some years it can be wet, very wet, enough to flood the campers out of their make shift camping sites on the sporting fields next to the Peel River.


We have had a few storms around recently, but no where near as much as the coastal areas.


As a result, our grass is growing and our plants don’t need as much water as normal whereas during heatwave weather they do need more. In the 2nd week of January we had some days in the high 30’s°C and one day 40°C.


Last year we recorded 756mm of rain, about 83mm of rain above average, even though we had some months closer to zero. Too, last year we had an early winter frost in May which did a lot of damage to our perennial plants which was followed up by a late frost in September, again doing perennial plant damage, resulting in some of our fruit trees producing less than normal, or even no fruit.

One of our grape vines


usually starts picking in mid January but came early in late December and another variety


started the 1st week of January


rather than mid January.


The apricots usually finish picking in early January but were all this year, all being finished in early December, and with a very small crop. Although we missed out on our breba fig crop, our normal summer fig crop has started on time, although 3 of the youngest trees have failed to flower this year, I think due to the frosts.


Our other stone crops of peaches and nectarines are producing very small crops this year too.


In the vegie patch


it was great to see the bees collecting pollen.


I have been busy growing gold bantam sweet corn


which we started to harvest in the past couple of days as well as planting a new, but late, crop of red Aztec corn.


Our spring potato crop


was harvested in January this year rather than December as per normal.

Our new autumn potato crop is being planted in mid January.


Just as our October plantings of lettuce came to an end in early January,


my December transplanted lettuce of 4 varieties became ready to pick.


I have been too busy and exhausted to get my second tomato bed (a new wicking bed) ready,


so unless I can do it now I will probably leave it this year and concentrate on getting the winter tomatoes happy in the hot house.


I have also picked a couple of water melons, rock melons


and canteloupes.


I will also be planting peas at the end of the month for an autumn or early winter harvest before the frosts come.


I was speaking with an old mate the other day and I suggested he plant peas on the day school goes back. He just looked at me and said “they are too much bother for an old fellow like me” because he can’t bend over now. I said what about climbing peas and he just looked at me as if he didn’t believe me. I told him I had purple pod peas and again he looked in an unbelieving manner. I will give him some along with climbing snow peas.


Throughout January (and every month as far as that goes) I have put chook turned compost or composted cow manure on most plants as well as worm leachate on all plants. Every day the worm colonies have been watered and fed some sort of organic material, the cow manure compost pile has been added too and the chooks get at least a bucket of greens and other organic materials for their chook turned compost pile.

As we head into the last week of January and 15.5mm of rain overnight and showers predicted for coming days, it is time to sow more seeds of lettuce and beetroot.

9 thoughts on “What has been happening at our place during January?

  1. Interested how this “Burr Comb” develops?
    I watched few U-Tubes and noticed that some combs are built not down and toward the frame sides but toward other combs, making it hard to take out.
    Hope your bees go the correct way.

    From time to time I see bees resting on plants or bricks at my place well into the evening, which means that they will most probably die overnight.
    Not sure if I can do anything to help them survive and return to hive the next day.

    • Burr comb is just extra comb the bees seem to take on themselves to build where they like, usually in the wrong place. I am hoping this experiment works so I don’t have to buy new foundation.

      • Is it possible to get metal or plastic form, so you can pour recovered beeswax to make your own foundations?

        On the other hand, you can probably do without another project to take even more of your time that you don’t have.

      • Plastic foundation sheets are available and used by many commercial beekeepers. It is “painted” with molten beeswax then placed into the hive and can be used over and over again. I am a bit concerned about all the plastics already in use and not breaking down in the environment, so balk at adding more.
        I don’t know anything about metal foundation.
        I am trying to keep my bees as natural as possible without forcing them like in the commercial world, therefore hoping my honey is superior to the supermarket type.

  2. I thought about form that will only be used to make foundation, then separated from wax and only wax put into the hive.

    • I did think about that too George. A brief search some time back didn’t yield any results so I thought maybe too hard. The sheets of foundation are fairly cheap, the time I purchased about 5 or 6 years ago was $1 each. Because there is so much hype these days about chemical contamination, my concern now is introducing the slightest contaminant into my hives sourced from sheets of foundation. But then if I look around here, I know I get spray drift across my property because at times i can smell it, neighbours do spray different things, the roads get sprayed and aerial spray contractors fly over us so the risk of something dripping is always here. I am sure there are other things too, including my bees possibly travelling 2kms and getting things in the nectar and pollen they collect.

      • It is next to impossible to separate yourself on this planet from influence of actions of other people.
        Looking at $1 price for foundation is not expensive, as to chemicals it might carry, hard to say.
        It must be big challenge to live daily life with allergies.
        From what I read some allergies come later in life when resistance to allergens wears out.
        But I am not looking toward that myself, suppose when it happens will have to manage condition as you.

      • I will mention more on this later but I am currently experiencing an allergic reaction to treatment or investigation to a sudden onset of floaters in my eye. Very unpleasant!
        I don’t wish the effects of allergens on anyone.

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