Re: west alabama new beek
welcome chip. jackson county here, near scottsboro.
it is possible to get honey from a first year hive in our area. especially if your hives were started early enough and have a fair amount of drawn comb.
i took some fall honey in 2010 and 2011. 2010's fall honey was really summer honey that got harvested in early september. 2011's fall honey was harvested in mid october and was mostly goldenrod. this honey turned to sugar in less than two weeks after harvesting.
i had to feed a lot in fall 2010 to get them up to to wintering weight. they survived the winter, but did poorly the next spring.
i only had to feed a little in fall 2011, and they wintered well and did great in the spring.
for this year, i will try to pull some honey late in the summer, before the goldenrod blooms, and let them fill up with the goldenrod for winter, and hopefully no feeding.
again, welcome and good luck with your bees.
beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf