I'm trying to transition from a bee-haver to a beekeeper. I'm not managing for profit, but I would eventually like to get some honey production. I much more interested in minimizing costs and maintaining the hobby.
Right now I have a single hive that made it though winter. They are in a deep/deep/medium configuration, and while I do not see signs of swarm potential, I do plan to split this soon. I have a second bottom board, and a second inner/outer cover ready, and I have a shallow box that is currently failing as a swarm trap.
My goal is to go into winter 18 months from now with 4 production hives and 4 nucs. (Q1, does this sound like a manageable quantity and reasonable ratio? Q2, is that enough to consider myself sustainable going forward?) I'm not opposed to a purchase of a local queen periodically along the way, but I'd otherwise like to be done buying bees. I think my management strategy has to be to emphasize growing bees and comb through this year.
So I think my immediate concern is equipment. I plan to construct a few 5 frame nuc boxes and a few deep boxes in the next 2 weeks. Since I already have one medium and one shallow box, I intend to make one more of each for redundancy, but then make everything else a deep. (Q3, any flaws in that logic?) I'll need to purchase some frames and probably plan a 50/50 split between foundation and empty for my own experimentation and learning more than anything else. (Q4, any concern that my plan is so timebound that foundation is mandatory?)
Any other thoughts? Obviously much of this comes down to my own execution. Being able to read the circumstances and know when to create a nuc, when to move them into full hives, and knowing when those hives need help. I'll also perhaps need to feed more than normal to keep frames getting drawn as I build up those supplies. I will undoubtedly make several mistakes along the way. But before I really jumped in with the equipment planning, I was hoping someone with experience could review and slap me in the face if needed.