Yesterday we attended a Bee and Butterfly Monitoring Scheme course at the Country Life Museum, run by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. They are trying to encourage more people to take part in two monitoring schemes they have – one for bees (information on http://pollinators.biodiversityireland.ie/recording-schemes/bumblebee-monitoring-scheme/) and the other for butterflies (http://butterflies.biodiversityireland.ie/). It was a great day and we learned some good tips on identifying the different species. So today in between trying to plant seeds I was also keeping an eye out for what bees were using our garden. Common carder bees appear, at least at the moment, to be most common. Some of the ragged jack kale is flowering and they seem to love that. But they were also feeding on the crab apple blossom too. As was a buff tailed bumble, Bombus terrestris. In the polytunnel there was another common carder on the comfrey and what I think was a garden bumblebee bee (Bombus hortorum).
Meanwhile I got the kids planting pumpkin seeds. Last year, our single pumpkin was not even the size of a football so this year we have planted four seeds in the hope we get something larger! We also planted a number of other variety of squash. Some Little Gems have already germinated from seeds sown last week – these I saved myself so I am not sure yet if they will successfully produce squash. Meanwhile work on the greenhouse has started and I hope to update you all this week with progress. Very exciting!