Casa Frela Garden and Apiary

13 West 119th Street, between Lenox and 5th Ave

Open daily from 12pm to 4pm

Partnering with MIllionTreeNYC, GreenThumb, The Butterfly Project and Tree Giveaways

Casa Frela Seed to Harvest: Honey Harvest 7/30/2016

Author: System Administrator - Published Thu, Jul 21, 2016 03:06 PM - (3510 Reads)
FOR RELEASE: July 20, 2016
Bee Good Logo   Small Casa Frela Garden & Apiary, member of NYC GreenThumb community, is pleased to announce the first event of the Seed to Harvest Project, a midsummer honey harvest, will take place on Saturday July 30, 2016 from 12-4 PM at the Casa Frela Annex, 48 West 119th Street between 5th and Lenox Avenues. This event is free and open to the public.

Funding for the Seed to Harvest Series is made possible by the Citizen’s Committee For New York City 2016 Neighborhood Grant Award and generously supported by Bloomingdale’s. The renewal of the garden under the Seed to Harvest Project will provide a vibrant oasis for Harlem residents as a respite from the fast pace of daily city life.

Under the leadership of master beekeeper Gary Pelton, attendees of the July 30 Honey Harvest Workshop will learn the process of extracting honey from the hive and prepare it to be jarred. Participants will go home with a new appreciation for these hearty little workers, and a slightly sweeter tooth for that golden deliciousness they will help to process. After two bountiful honey collections in 2015, which yielded over 25 quarts of Harlem honey, we are looking forward to this upcoming harvest.

According to Pelton, Casa Frela Garden & Apiary is a great place for the bees due to it's proximity to Central and Marcus Garvey Parks, as well as the large number of street trees in the Harlem area. The bees get most of their nectar in the spring from the flowering trees, which leads to a good honey harvest in July. The garden's bees are a dynamic addition to the local ecosystem as they help flowers in the area flourish.

Casa Frela’s mission of integrating environmental action, the arts, and community ties remain strong. Upcoming workshops in vertical gardening, soap making using botanicals, and a culminating harvest celebration in October will be announced. Also, we are very proud to host the Pod “peas be seeded” for Frela, the second iteration of the piece Pod by artist Alice Momm. Pod will grow and evolve throughout its life at the Casa Frela Sculpture Garden. Pod is an invitation - to stop and rest and get to know one another. Natural seating will be provided in this enchanted work of art which integrates living plants and woven vines, including herbs and other edibles, for all beings large and small.

We look forward to continuing valued relationships with the community, local artists, and all who wish to be part of this tender garden. Please use above contact for more information, or to inquire about sponsorship and/or volunteer opportunities.

Pod Weaving Workshop with Harlem artist Alice Momm Sept 2016

Author: System Administrator - Published Mon, Jul 18, 2016 01:32 PM - (2358 Reads)
Pod (for Frela) is the second iteration of the piece "Pod (peas be seeded)" that was created for Harlem Grown, an urban farm as part of the Flux Art Fair in Harlem. Pod will grow and evolve throughout its life at the Casa Frela Sculpture Garden. Alice Momm’s working method has always included the gleaning process, “picking up things” then taking these humble materials and bringing them into the sphere of art. The loosely woven walls of Pod will integrate living plants and vines (including herbs and other edibles for all beings large and small). Using this same aesthetic and life approach, Momm will use cuttings, branches and other “picked-up-things” scavenged in the neighborhood in the growing sculpture that speaks to the possibilities of finding joy, wonder and repose in the urban landscape.

Pod is also an invitation - to stop and rest and get to know one another, and seating will be incorporated into the piece.

Pod Detail POD Proposal For Harlem Grown Pod View From Street Woven Spot

Alice Momm
Alice Momm is a Harlem based artist whose work has been inspired both by her immersion in and longing for nature, and increasingly by her desire to use art as a catalyst for social engagement and dialogue. Her ephemeral and sculptural works have been exhibited most recently at the Flux Art Fair in Harlem, as well as at venues such as ODETTA Gallery in Bushwick, Wave Hill in the Bronx, Islip Art Museum in East Islip, NY, Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia, NY, and Hambidge Center in Rabun Gap, GA. In the Spring of 2017, Momm will have a solo exhibition at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. Public speaking engagements include artist talks at the Clark Art Institute, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, and at Christie’s Education. Momm holds an MFA from the University of Southern California and a BFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. For more information, please visit www.alicemomm.com.

Adding a new Hive

Author: webmaster - Published Fri, Jun 05, 2015 07:43 AM - (5009 Reads)
You may already know that the 2 hives survived the winter, and Lawrence bought a hive of his own and we installed it in the garden. In mid April Lawrence put a package of bees into his hive.
A package is about 15,000 bees or 3 lbs of bees. We had the shoebox-size box of bees in a bag to carry it on the subway from Brooklyn. We only saw only one bee while on the subway, so it worked out fine. I don’t know how that bee could have gotten out of the screened box, so it might not have come from us.

I checked the bees on Saturday, and all three hives are doing well. I am going to call them the old-white, old-green and lawrence’s hives.

Old-white hive — This hive was doing the best. We had seen the queen in the bottom box the last time we checked so we had put the queen excluder above that box to keep her in the bottom. She has been busy laying lots of eggs, which have been maturing into lots of brood. I saw at least 3 full frames of brood (capped baby bees) and lots of mature bees. The 3 frames of brood will add a substantial number of bees. I took the queen excluder off so that the queen could go into the second box and lay eggs there also. I’m a little worried that these bees might think they are too crowded, and swarm though I saw no indication of swarm behavior in this check. On the plus side, the honey super (the box on the top) was full of honey. When Lawrence gets back we’ll put another super on top for more honey.

Old-green hive — This hive was also doing well. There was a lot of brood, but it was scattered around the hive. In particular there was brood in the honey super. I didn’t see the queen, or many eggs. However, there was so much brood that I assume she was there somewhere. I put the queen excluded between the honey super and the other boxes to keep the queen towards the bottom. I carefully checked each frame of the honey super for the queen so I don’t think she is up in that box. We’ll check again this weekend. Since the honey super had brood in it, the honey collected by this hive was more scattered around the hive. Hopefully the brood in the honey super will hatch in the next 2 weeks, and they will then have a good place for honey. I’ll probably put an extra super on top of this hive also this weekend.

Lawrence’s hive — This hive was also doing well. It had 2 frames of brood. It wasn’t as far along as the old hives, because a package doesn’t come with as many bees as we had survive the winter. The bees had not done much to build out the frames (create wax comb) in the second super. However, I think we will have a really active hive when the lindens start to bloom in mid June. So my guess is we will get honey out of this hive also.

Building a Pagoda!

Author: webmaster - Published Tue, May 05, 2015 11:10 AM - (4069 Reads)
Gathering Branches for Building
This year we are building a branch Pagoda in the garden. We are using old branches that have found in near by parks.

Being Creative!

Author: webmaster - Published Tue, May 05, 2015 11:02 AM - (4287 Reads)
2015 Citizens Committee winner!
Casa Frela Gallery have been selected to receive a Citizens Committee for New York City 2015 Neighborhood grant award for $1200. I attended the 2015 Celebration and Grant Orientation. There were over 250 (groups) winners through out the 5 boroughs.


Author: webmaster - Published Mon, Mar 16, 2015 05:36 AM - (4381 Reads)
This is a suggested checklist of activities for the beekeeper. Note that weather, climate, neighborhood and even the type of bees you have will influence such activities. The list gives you an overview of what's going on each month in the hive. It also suggests some important tasks for the beekeeper, and provides a rough estimate of the amount of time you might spend with your bees during a given month. Check this site frequently for additional detail and special notes.

The Bees. The queen is surrounded by thousand of her workers. She is in the midst of their winter cluster. There is little activity except on a warm day (about 45-50 degrees) when the workers will take the opportunity to make cleansing flights. There are no drones in the hive, but some worker brood will begin to appear in the hive. The bees will consume about 25 pounds of stored honey this month.
The Beekeeper. Little work is required from you at the hives. If there is heavy snow, make certain the entrance to the hive is cleared to allow for proper ventilation. If a January thaw presents itself (in January or February) you provide supplemental, emergency food for the bees such as fondant (on the top bars) or granulated sugar (on the inner cover). This is a great time to catch up on your reading about bees, attend bee club meetings, and build and repair equipment for next season. Order package bees (if needed) from a reputable supplier.
Time Spent. Estimate less than an hour.


The Bees. The queen, still cozy in the cluster, will begin to lay a few more eggs each day. It is still "females only" in the hive. Workers will take cleansing flights on mild days. The bees will consume about 25 pounds of honey this month.
The Beekeeper. There is not too much to do this month. Attend those bee club meetings. Read. Attend bee club meetings, and get your equipment ready for spring.
Time Spent. Estimate less than one hour.


The Bees. This is the month when colonies can die of starvation. However, if you fed them plenty of sugar syrup in the autumn this should not happen. With the days growing longer, the queen steadily increases her rate of egg laying. More brood means more food consumed. The drones begin to appear. The bees will continue to consume honey stores.
The Beekeeper. Early in the month, on a nice mild day, and when there is no wind and bees are flying, you can have a quick peek inside your hive. It's best not to remove the frames. Just have a look-see under the cover. If you do not see any sealed honey in the top frames, you may need to provide some emergency food (fondant or granulated sugar if cold temps prevail, syrup if the weather is mild). But remember, once you start, you should not stop until they are bringing in their own food supplies. If you are going to do a spring Varroa mite treatment, now (or soon) is the time to start its application.
Time Spent. Estimate 2 hours this month.


The Bees. The weather begins to improve, and the early blossoms begin to appear. The bees begin to bring pollen into the hive. The queen is busily laying eggs, and the population is growing fast. The drones will begin to appear.
The Beekeeper. On a warm and still day do your first comprehensive inspection. Can you find evidence of the queen? Are there plenty of eggs and brood? Is there a nice pattern to her egg laying? Later in the month, on a very mild and windless day, you should consider reversing the hive bodies. This will allow for a better distribution of brood, and stimulate the growth of the colony. You can begin to feed the hive medicated syrup.
Time Spent. Estimate 3 hours.


The Bees. Now the activity really starts hopping. The nectar and pollen should begin to come into the hive thick and fast. The queen will be reaching her greatest rate of egg laying. The hive should be bursting with activity.
The Beekeeper. Spring mite treatments should be completed, and removed prior to adding any honey supers. Add a queen excluder, and place honey supers on top of the top deep. Watch out for swarming. Inspect the hive weekly. Attend bee club meetings and workshops.
Time Spent. Estimate 4-5 hours this month.


The Bees. Unswarmed colonies will be boiling with bees. The queen's rate of egg laying may drop a bit this month. The main honey flow should happen this month.
The Beekeeper. Inspect the hive weekly to make certain the hive is healthy and the queen is present. Add honey supers as needed. Keep up swarm inspections. Attend bee club meetings and workshops.
Time Spent. Estimate 4-5 hours.


The Bees. If the weather is good, the nectar flow may continue this month. On hot and humid nights, you may see a huge curtain of bees cooling themselves on the exterior of the hive.
The Beekeeper. Continue inspections to assure the health of your colony. Add more honey supers if needed. Keep your fingers crossed in anticipation of a great honey harvest.
Time Spent. Estimate 2-3 hours.


The Bees. The colony's growth is diminishing. Drones are still around, but outside activity begins to slow down as the nectar flow slows.
The Beekeeper. No more chance of swarming. Watch for honey robbing by wasps or other bees. There is not too much for you to do this month. Have a little holiday.
Time Spent. Estimate about an hour or two.


The Bees. The drones may begin to disappear this month. The hive population is dropping. The queen's her egg laying is dramatically reduced.
The Beekeeper. Harvest your honey crop. Remember to leave the colony with at least 60 pounds of honey for winter. Check for the queen's presence. Feed and medicate towards the end of the month (the first 2 gallons is medicated). Apply mite treatment. Continue feeding until the bees will take no more syrup. Attend bee club meetings.
Time Spent. Estimate 2-3 hours.


The Bees. Not much activity from the bees. They are hunkering' down for the winter.
The Beekeeper. Watch out for robbing. Configure the hive for winter, with attention to ventilation and moisture control. Install mouse guard at entrance of hive. Setup a wind break if necessary. Finish winter feeding. Attend bee club meetings.
Time Spent. Estimate 2 hours.


The Bees. Even less activity this month. The cold weather will send them into a cluster.
The Beekeeper. Store your equipment away for the winter. Attend bee club meetings.
Time Spent. About one hour this month.


The Bees. The bees are in a tight cluster. No peeking.
The Beekeeper. There's nothing you can do with the bees. Read a good book on beekeeping, and enjoy the holidays!
Time Spent. None

House Tour featuring the garden

Author: webmaster - Published Tue, Jun 03, 2014 06:46 PM - (4213 Reads)
Mount Morris Park homeowners are opening their doors this weekend to show people some of the neighborhood's more interesting architecture. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

Eight years ago renowned documentary maker Albert Maysles and his wife moved from the famous Dakota on the Upper West Side to a 134-year-old townhouse on West 122nd Street in Harlem. Inside is a mix of old and new.

"The woodwork is all the original stuff and it's got four fireplaces, two on each floor. You're in the past but you're very much in the present," Maysles said.

The home is one of 12 open to the public this Sunday, part of the 25th annual house tour in and around the Mount Morris Park Historic District. It's presented by the neighborhood's community improvement association to show off the area.

"You come up to the tour and you say this is the type of community I would like to live in. I'd like to raise my children up here where people really get along and the community takes pride in itself," said House Tour Co-Chairwoman Ramona Scott-Thomas.

Along the way you can see one townhouse on West 118th Street, which was just a shell when Bill Rohlfing and Jeanette McClennan discovered it in 2001. They renovated it and raised three kids there.

"We like to show what we have done. And we also like to encourage people to come into this neighborhood because it's a great neighborhood," Rohlfing said.

There's also the apartment on Lenox Avenue where Chef Alain Eoche lives. It's right above his new restaurant called Cherie. And you can check out Valerie Jo Bradley's townhouse built in 1888 which features original wood staircases and floors and tin ceilings.

"When we started doing the tours 25 years ago, it actually did bring people up here to buy the houses, because they were amazed at how gorgeous they were," Bradley said.

And it's not just about the homes. Visitors can stop by a community garden on West 119th Street, where neighbors raise bees for honey and hops to make beer and soap.

"It's people getting the initiative to make it their own, so we are becoming really proud of what we are doing on our block and also in our neighborhood," said Lawrence Rodriguez of the Walter Miller Memorial Garden.

The tours run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, visit mmpcia.org.

- See more at: http://origin.ny1.com/content/news/209761/historic-harlem-house-tour-celebrates-25-years#sthash.lzezmqhh.dpuf


Bee Update 5/14/14

Author: webmaster - Published Thu, May 15, 2014 09:10 AM - (3525 Reads)
Looking for the Queen!
Yesterday's plan of attack was to inspect the condition of the hives. We were unable to locate the Queen in the 1st hive? So, we'll have to order up a new Queen and hopefully she will arrive early next week. And in the 2nd hive we found its Queen and all was good.

We went into the bees at the garden to see if the queens had gotten out of their box, and were wandering the hives. We also were hoping to see eggs.

No eggs, even in the already drawn comb. Too bad. We’ll check again next week.

The East hive’s queen was wandering around the frames looking good.

Unfortunately we couldn’t find the West hive’s queen. We looked carefully twice at all the frames. The queen was not in the little queen cage either. So we have ordered a new queen to get that hive queen right. We are getting a northern queen which should over-winter well. The queen hopefully will be mailed on Monday. Yes, you can get bees in the mail. The company doesn’t mail queens after Wed, because they don’t want the queen to be in the Post office over the weekend. Once the queen arrives, I’ll come back up and check again for eggs and the queen in the West hive. We could have missed the queen, and the presence of eggs would mean that we have a queen even if we don’t see it. If there is no evidence of a West hive queen, then I’ll install the new queen. I’ll let you know when the new queen arrives, and I can get up there.

On a more positive note, there is a possibility of getting more bees for the hive from someone who is interested in giving away splits. I’ll let you know how that progresses.