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LH 59: Backyard Beekeeping 101

To Bee or Not to Bee

Important tips, tied-bits and considerations in raising bees

Bees are SO interesting!!

The idea of raising our own backyard bees, watching them buzz around the garden and collecting the honey can sound very romantic and even a bit adventurous!

But diving into this sort of thing is not something to take lightly.

I’ve interviews several backyard beekeepers both for our national PBS garden TV show and for this podcast. And one thing I know for sure….

Beekeeping can be one of the best experiences of your life…but you shouldn’t dive in until you are ready.

So in this episode, I bring on experienced beekeeper Karla Delong of Mountain Feed & Farm Supply to spill the beans on what it REALLY takes to be a beekeeper – the good, the bad and the exciting!

What I love about this episode is that even if you NEVER want to have bees of your own, you will find the discussion interesting. And it will give you a better appreciation of the importance of bees to our everyday lives…and the importance of beekeepers.

Both bees and their keepers are the unsung heroes in the food world!

You will learn:

  • Why local bees are superior (no matter where “local” is for you)
  • Is it possible to be an “organic” beekeeper?
  • The 4 areas of care in beekeeping
  • The special qualities every beekeeper should possess (or strive for)
  • Is it okay to keep bees in the city?
  • Can bees be raised on a balcony?
  • Why wine corks are so helpful to have in our gardens

And more…

This was a longer episode. But it is SO packed with solid and interesting bee information, I think you will really get a lot out of it.

Enjoy the audio file above or the full written transcript below…

Beginning Backyard Beekeeping - LivingHomegrown.comKarla Delong

This was a return trip on the Living Homegrown Podcast for Karla. She first appeared on Episode #50 where she shared tips for making homemade vinegar with and without a “mother”.

Good stuff!

When I first interviewed her for that episode, we talked (off the record) about her passion for beekeeping and I promised to have her back to dive into that topic.

And that is what this episode is all about – Beekeeping 101.

Karla is one of the awesome instructors at Mountain Feed & Farm Supply – a cool homesteading supply & nursery just north of Santa Cruz in California.

Karla teaches several different classes at Mountain Feed, but she has a special place in her heart for the bee series of classes she teaches.

Aside from being a beekeeper, a mentor to many local beekeepers and the president of the local beekeeping guild, Karla is also a certified natural chef and a preservation expert. She homesteads, grows a lot of her own food and raises other livestock besides her hardworking bees in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Resources & Links Mentioned:

Mountain Feed & Farm Supply

FREE Beekeeping Workshop Video by Karla @Mountain Feed

American Beekeeping Journal

Scientific Beekeeping


Recommended Books:

The Backyard Beekeeper* by Kim Flottum

Honey Bee Hobbyist* by Gary Norman



Click here for the full transcript for Episode #59


Other Episodes You Might Like:

Podcast Episode #50 – Easy Vinegar from Scratch with Karla Delong

Podcast Episode #15 – First Year Beekeeping – with Joe Lamp’l

Podcast Episode #21 – Creating a Bee-Friendly Food Garden – with Robin Haglund


*denotes an affilate link

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.