The Lafayette Community Garden and Outdoor Learning Center celebrated its 10th year with a COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSE on Sunday, September 12, 2021. The event focused on indigenous culture and featured two inspirational speakers – – Jim ‘Doc’ Hale and Kanyon Sayers-Roods. Their presentations captivated and enriched our lives. In addition to the speakers, there were guided tours of the garden, information on raising chickens, master gardening and bee keeping, family crafts, edible treats, lavender lemonade, and an opportunity to walk a labyrinth and see the garden’s Miwok Village. Members were on hand to answer gardening questions and show off a variety of gardening methods and practices including hinged covers that prevent critters from eating crops, vermiculture (worm composting), mulching, a butterfly garden, deer resistant plantings and so much more.
Garden members were treated to a special tour of Coyote Hills Regional Park with docent Dino on Saturday, October 9, 2021.
The Visitor Center contains educational displays and exhibits that portray the Ohlone way of life and include a tule reed boat constructed by park staff and volunteers using Native American methods.
For more on the Coyote Hills Regional Park, click here.
Get ready to go through the garden gate and celebrate this year’s Harvest Festival – virtually of course.
The Lafayette Community Garden & Outdoor Learning Center’s annual Harvest Festival was originally scheduled to happen at the garden on September 27, but the event, like so many public events impacted by the pandemic, will be celebrated virtually with a movie. The movie shows how, even with limitations placed on its members, the garden became a much needed respite during these unprecedented times.
And, now, here it is: Harvest Fest – The Movie https://youtu.be/spHcH4Jvsjw
This spring, two honeybee colonies were welcomed into the Garden. Both colonies are doing well. The honeybees originated as swarms that were donated to the Garden by members of Mt Diablo Beekeepers Association.
So—what exactly is a swarm and why does swarming happen? In Lamorinda, ‘swarm season’ runs from March to early June, when food–nectar and pollen from fruit trees and flowers–is plentiful. An overwintered colony’s hive can become so packed with larvae and food that the queen has no space to lay eggs. She and her workers begin the swarm process: new queen cells are built and the old queen goes on a diet so she can fly more easily. When the queen cells are ready to hatch, the old queen and about half the worker bees leave the colony to find a new home. A new queen emerges, matures, mates with perhaps 9-13 drones and begins her career as ruler of the colony. This is the way honeybees have reproduced for thousands of years.
On March 10th, the first colony was installed in the Sage Hive near the pollinator garden by the parking lot. The second colony, installed in the Labyrinth Hive (adjacent the labyrinth), began as two swarms. A small swarm was installed in early April and a 2nd swarm was added several days later.
Beekeepers place great value on swarms. This is because, in the 21st century, with the extreme pressures on honeybees from non-native pests, viruses and diseases, a colony that’s healthy enough to become overcrowded and swarm possesses some hardy genes within its DNA. Those are the honeybees we want in the Lafayette Community Garden: bees that have adjusted to our micro climate, dealt with pests and diseases and have found a way to survive.
The Lafayette Community Garden provides a beautiful environment for honeybees. Special thanks go to Jimmy Hill and Michael diPretoro for clearing weeds and laying mulch around the hives. The Sage and Labyrinth colonies continue to build up their numbers and forage for food. With observation, attention and intervention when needed, we hope to keep your bees thriving. Please know that I’m happy to answer any question you may have and will respond in future editions of the Newsletter.
Mt Diablo Beekeepers Association
Lafayette Community Garden and Outdoor Learning Center is diligently monitoring the coronavirus situation and following the protocols of the CDC, the State of California and Contra Costa County. At this time we are taking recommended precautions while continuing operations for members. In view of the shelter in place policy for Contra Costa County that begins at midnight tonight, the Garden will not be open to non members. Thanks for your understanding. And please check back for updates.
Because of the Corona Virus, this camp will take place online using zoom.
To register or for more information, click here.