Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Just thought I'd bob in here and wish you all a wonderful Christmas and holiday season. I've been home enjoying some time with my sweetheart the last couple of days and now the boys are home from their gramma's house and nestled "snug in their beds" so all is well with the world.

I did finally manage to finish their presents thought it required a final push worthy of the records book. I'll post more on things soon, but suffice it to say that I had a pretty SHARP idea for this year, one that's cool because it knows how to hold it's TEMPER. Any guesses?

Merry Christmas all
Best wishes.

December 14, 2009

Oh so cold and snowy.

We've had more than a few inches of snow in the last couple of weeks. In fact, after I finally got my garlic in the ground just before thanksgiving, it snowed. Then the next week got bone chilling cold and snowed, and I do mean bone chilling. When I checked the weather underground website it showed our local weather station reading in the tens (not teens, tens) and the lowest I remember seeing one morning was 3.7 degrees F. Yeah, freaking cold!

On the upside, the chickens did fine with a little help from a heat lamp and timer set-up and a weather stopping clear plastic covering that cuts the wind but still let's them get natural light and fresh air. The greenhouse, well that's a little different story.

I finally got an artificial heating set up in place and it helped for sure. However, I still want to be conscious of how much power I consume to keep everything alive so I have it also on a timer that alternates the heater off and on for an hour at a time through out the night. During the days it will heat up just fine in there, it's the middle of the night that gets me.

Also, thanks to everyone who gave me the great passive heating ideas. I have implemented a couple of them like moving a barrel with compost into the greenhouse to try to generate a little heat and I have water bottles around my actual planters that hold some of the heat from the day in there over-night. The compost hasn't really gotten kicking yet but I'm still working on it. I also just acquired 10 or so 5 gallon barrels that I'm going to fill with water and place in the greenhouse to gather heat during the day. Right now the tomatoes that are still alive, did I mention that I had a devastating freeze kill at the beginning of the big chill? I did... it probably halved the number of plants that I had in there.

All in all, I'd say things are going pretty well though. As always I take the lessons with the triumphs and press on ever forward thankful that (for now) my living is not dependant on this. So then, how are things in your necks of the woods? Cold, maybe hot for my southern Friends? Everyone about ready for the holidays? We're pretty much ready for it here, but I personally am waaaaay behind. Every year I make a handmade present for my boys. This year it took me a long time to even think of something to make and I am just starting this week.

Crunch time!!

All the best!

November 30, 2009

Planting fall garlic.

Garlic is one of those things that I've never really put any effort into growing. I've planted them in the spring before and got from them a few heads that were smallish and not too impressive . However, I literally only planted some 8 or 10 cloves and it was in my first year of growing so I'm not too worried that I'm garlic growing impaired or anything. Finally this fall I've put a little effort into it and I'm hopeful for next summers harvest. At the $8.49-lb that it cost to buy the other day I sure hope so!

I decided that for this first serious attempt at garlic growing on my little urban farm I'm going to try to use a part of my potato patch that last year was the least producing and at the same time hopefully I'll be able to deter some nuisance pests at the same time. The potato garden at the front of the house is essentially one large raised bed. The area at the outside edge of that bed was not easy to mound up to help the potatoes produce to their best capacity and also made it harder to irrigate. That's where I'm planting the garlic. It doesn't need to be mounded and will make a nice "stinky" border around the bed too.

I'd already "amended" this bed by turning in all the grass clippings that I had used to mound the potatoes with as well as some straw to help break the soil up. I've had good results with this in the past. To further amend the beds now, before planting, I also turned in a good helping of coffee grounds gotten from our local Starbucks "Grounds for the garden" program. They are high in nitrogen and slow to release into the soil so they should really help out next year. Here's what it looked like before turning-in and planting.After turning in the clippings and grounds, I laid out the spacing (around 5" apart) of the cloves. These were specially purchased certified seed cloves, not just garlic purchased at the grocery. Those will grow too, but may not be disease free and if they're hybridized varieties you may not know exactly what you'll get from them.If you've never planted garlic here's the quick and dirty of it. When you buy them you get a full head just like you do in the store more often than not. Just like you would break off a single clove from the head to cook with, you break the head into individual cloves to plant as well. When planting them, the pointed end points up, and the flat part (from where the cloves were all connected) goes down. The cloves get pushed in far enough that the pointed tip is about 2" under the soil.After planting, whether in spring or fall, a good 3-4 inch cover of mulch, you can see here that I used straw, is needed. This will insulate the bulbs over the winter, and will help maintain even soil moisture through the early growth and summer.

It may not be too late to plant where your located. My research tells me that after a first hard freeze but before permafrost sets in is the best time to plant the fall bulbs. I got these in just before Thanksgiving.

Wish me luck! All the best.

November 27, 2009


We are thankful for so many things in our lives. My wife an I have each other, our kids and our families. We have passion for each other and passion for life. I've been blessed to have the opportunity to work for a great company for the last nine years and have recently added A~ to that "work family" as well.

Tuesday of last week we were given another reason to be be thankful...

We were all in the car, and we are all alright for the most part though the boys are very adamant about us "slowing down" regardless of how we're driving and their hearts skip each time we have to stop quickly at all.

I have to say we're really lucky that the damage done was all that there was. As we were going through an intersection in the evening, a 19 yr old kid cut short the corner from the turn lane and tried to make it onto an on ramp before we got there. He didn't make it. Almost, but no. I was able to swerve enough to only catch the back tire of his jacked up jeep but it was hard enough to set off both of our air bags and whack us around a bit. A~ was on the side that caught the brunt of it and smacked her head on the ceiling hard enough to break a few CD's that were in our visor cd-holder. Fortunately, the guys jeep had so much lift and big tires it avoided a lot of contact points, it could have been a much worse accident.

So, now three of us are on ibuprofen and my hip and lower back are killing me and A~ has on / off headaches but hey, we're all here. And we're thankful.

I hope your Thanksgiving was great and that you were able to get together with family and friends, enjoy some great food (hopefully some of your home grown goodies) and relax.

All the best to you.

November 12, 2009

Potting Time (34 Days)

So then, tired of these cloning posts yet? Well, the final phase of the actual cloning process has finished for the most part so you may be in for a break from them.

The roots that had begun to poke out at the time of the last update have come out in force now. The stems of tomato plants that I left in water to root are now well rooted but are beginning to show the signs of nutrient deficiency. The lime green color and yellow and purple hues in the leaves in particular.
Now is the time to get these babies into some soil. I mixed up a basic mix of well screened homemade compost, some leftover peat and some vermiculite and added a bit of slow releasing organic fertilizer to give a nutrient boost to the plants.

You can see this cutting has rooted really well. I've removed it and need to prep it for planting.
All I did to prop the cuttings was to trim off the lower and longer leaves that would just be sucking energy from the plant. I want to make sure the cutting is focusing it's energy on setting roots and growing taller. This kind of excess growth will just delay that.

Here it is ready to be put into the potting mix in one of the pots that I've made sure are clean and ready for planting.

Because of the length of the roots and the stem that has roots growing from it, I decided to use my larger size pot.

I put a small approx .5 inch layer of soil into the bottom of the pot and then held the cutting in the center of the pot while I loosely filled in the soil around it. Using my fingers and by shaking the pot, I was able to get the soil to fill in between the net of roots.

And voila, One down. Now, trim, plant and repeat 40 or so more times and you'll have this...

Actually this is only a portion of the cuttings. There's enough to fill a large table. At least one of each will hopefully make it through the winter.

And that brings me to my next project... heat! I need to find a way to get some kind of heat into the greenhouse. And I need to do it pretty quickly I think. The weather here is turning cold fast!

Any ideas? Anyone have any passive heating ideas? I'm thinking solar gain into some kind of heat sink. Well, at any rate, the experiment is going well so far.
More to come.

October 27, 2009

Keeping things clean (21 Days)

One of the most important and probably opt overlooked things one can do to help themselves be successful in thier propagating is to keep things clean.
There are a number of plant diseases that could easily prey on young, newly propagated plants if given the chance. Many of these can lay dormant in the very pots that we use to plant them in. Like many gardeners, I try my best to stretch my dollars and to consume less resources by re-using many of the pots that come through my garden. Taking the necessary care to make sure those pots are clean is a pretty simple tasks that can help to avoid a lot of problems.

I started with a regular bucket filled with water. This is just a preliminary wash to get off most of the dirt and grime off the pots before I sanitize them.While I rinsed them off I used an old rag to wipe down the pots quickly to remove as much dirt as possible.

After wiping down and generally cleaning out the pots I put them in a sinkful of warm bleach water. Using the bleach water is for basically the same reason as you would use a sanitizer when washing dishes. It kills bacteria and keeps disease from being able to spread easily.

After cleaning I stacked all the pots that I cleaned so that they could air out and dry completely. Bleach is not a good thing for plant roots so you do want to make sure that they are dried completely.

So now that I've gotten these all cleaned and sanitized, it's time to get those plants into the dirt.

I did plant one variety of tomato into a few of these pots, some of the romas that I am working to clone. I didn't want to jump in and plant too many of them for fear of they having a problem accepting the transplants. Best to stick a toe in the water first you know?

In the last few days we've had a dusting of snow and a serious cold front. I'll get out to plant some more this weekend comeing up. Watch for more and some photos then.

Anyone else trying to clone cuttings this fall?

October 14, 2009

Propagating plants (10 day update)

Took a peek under the plastic wrap today and found a little surprise.Do you see them? Those little white spikey things poking out from the stems? Those are roots. So far so good!Here's a little closer look at them. This particular plant was one with the heaviest concentration of new roots, but most all of them are showing at least some rooting activity.

Take a look at the picture below, it's from a little different angle.Remember in my last post about the propagation how I said that the stem/leaf crotch was the place where most rooting would happen? Well, here you can see just that. That's one of the leaf ends that's poking out of the main stem and it's right in the middle of the heaviest concentration of new roots.
Like Hannibal from the A-Team used to say...
"I love it when a plan comes together!"
More to come as they progress.

October 13, 2009

Gitt'n buggy with it!

OK, I admit it, that was a really cheesy title. Gotta keep things interesting though right? Besides, what else was I supposed to title a post with a picture like this is it? Did I mention that I have a TON of Lady beetles in my yard? Yeah, I'm probably supplying the whole neighborhood with all the lady beetles that I have! That picture above is the remains of a Giant sunflower stalk that I removed the head from some time back. The pupa of the lady beetles are all over it. In that picture a rough guess of the number would put me close to 60-70 beetles and pupa. And that's just the top of one plant! They are all over.And they're really big and healthy too! This one is about the size of my pinky nail.
And when you get to watch this many beetles in your backyard eco-system, you get to see a lot of interesting things that you might not normally. Ever seen a lady beetle hatching?It's interesting, they come out and you can noticably tell that their wing covers (Elytra) were still soft and completely devoid of any spots.
Here's another closer look.

In this one you can see the wings out and drying. She's "hanging" around with a few sisters. I'm hoping to get out in the yard soon with a large mason jar stuffed with some straw and begin collecting the beetles into it. An interesting thing about the life cycle of the lady beetle - by the way, I'm pretty sure that these are Harmonia axyridis (Multicolored Asian lady beetle) just in case you were curious - anyway the interesting thing I learned about their life-cycle is that they hibernate over the winter by living off stored fats, just like a bear. Cool huh? My master plan is to have the ladies help me to naturally control next year, what became a very nasty aphid problem this year.

I worked this plan out sometime around mid-summer kind of by accident; let me lay it on you. When I came to grips with the fact that this years aphid outbreak was going to be a big one, I also noticed that because of the very healthy food source, my lady beetle population was also exploding. I figured that if I could encourage a really healthy lady beetle population this year, accepting of course the fact that I would have some crop damage from the aphids that they were feeding on, then next year I could use some organic methods like horticultural oil and kaolin clay early on to limit the number of aphids that hatch on my property. Between a hopefully burgeoning population of beetles and a reduced population of aphids I hope to be able to really be successful at keeping them under control for the foreseeable future, or at least for a year. Anyone have any experience they want to share in that area?

Now, totally unrelated but still pretty cool, I thought I'd show you these pictures of the mushrooms popping up through my mulch on the north side of my shed.

I took these pictures Monday and they weren't a great deal bigger today, but they are growing slowly.I don't know what they are, but it's good to know that the fungi are healthy in the yard too. They play a very important part in the natural decomposition of organic matter in the garden. I'm letting these finish their life-cyle at least to see what they become.

I love watching as the season winds down. Things change, cycles move to their next phases.
Hope the season finds you well.

October 5, 2009

Propagating from cuttings

I was able to get a few things done in the Greenhouse tonight and pictures are here to be shared!
You can see that the greenhouse is still quite a mess and, if you know me, you know it may well stay that way for a while. Work cannot wait though, so the propagating has begun.

Pop quiz time... (You did study right?):
Q: What do tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, and tomatillos have in common?
Well, one answer is that I gathered cuttings of all of them before the freezing weather came and another answer might be that I'm cloning, or at least trying to clone, all of them! I'll tell you real answer before I finish.

Before I started working with a particular cutting, I made sure that I had some cups prepared for them. If you have a glut of old glasses or mason jars they would be a great reusable option here. I don't, so clear plastic cups it is. I covered the tops of the cups with some plastic wrap held in place with a rubber band and poked a few breathing holes in the top with a knife. (You can see the temp inside when I got home from work was 63 deg(F). Our actual high for today was only 45 deg(f) so I guess the greenhouse is doing its job so far. We'll see what happens as winter approaches.Before I get to the next step, I thought I'd cover what I looked for in my original cuttings that I took from the parent plant.
The best cutting stock to use from your original plant should be taken from the part of the plant that is still actively growing. Plants have a feature called apical dominance that helps to control where the plants hormones go to tell it to create new growth. Starting with actively growing pieces of the plant gives you a head start in the right direction. For my tomatoes this was from the suckers that I would normally have pruned off and some of the tops that were vigorous and showing new growth.

Below you can see one of the original cuttings that I took from a Heartland Tomato. I made the cutting a little larger than what I would have wanted to have as a final size.The marks on the photo are roughly the places that I made trimming cuts to pare it down to the size I wanted. A couple of considerations are to make sure that the cutting will fit inside the cup without tipping it over. Also, this cutting has no root system so it's not going to be able to support a lot of superfluous growth so trimming off some otherwise healthy leaves is actually a good idea.

The reason I made the cut to the already removed leaf section on the right of the stem was because it had been removed roughly and left ragged ends that I felt may open the plant up for rot or disease. Also, if your familiar with the tomatoes tendency to throw up shoots from the crotch of the leaf and stem sections, this is because that is a part of the plant that contains new buds that the growth hormones in the tomato plant concentrate on telling to generating new growth. That new growth can be determined by the plant to generate new leaves and stems. It can also be told to produce new roots when the plant needs them. That's what I need so I wanted to make sure it was clean and ready to grow.After trimming up all of the cuttings for a particular variety that I was working with, I inserted two into each cup through a couple of the holes in the plastic wrap. I put two into each cup purely because of space and time. I only have so much of both so better to optimize than to not get things done.

I anticipate that I should have at least two weeks before I really need to worry about replanting, but more than likely it will end up being more like three. This is a good thing because I need to sterilize some pots for them, as well as to work out some more passive heating solutions for the greenhouse.
For now, you may remember the seed starter that I built last spring, well it's the new clone base camp. I can cover it with an additional layer of 6 mil plastic and keep some water bottles in there for thermal mass to keep things warm over night and with any luck (a lot wouldn't hurt) things will work out for the best.

So then, do you know yet what the four plants that I mentioned I'm trying to clone have in common?

If you guessed that they're all members of the family Solanaceae then you'd be absolutely CORRECT!

The great thing is, that Solanaceae plants are very good rooters and are probably one of the better plants for this type of propagation. So wish me luck!

Till next time... Grow on!

October 4, 2009

Much has changed

The weather has done an abrupt about face here in Northern Utah. A couple of solid cold fronts has come through our valley and cooled it significantly. We managed to make it through the first one pretty well unscathed, but this last one that came through at the end of last week left the garden largely frost killed.

Since that was the case, I went ahead Saturday afternoon and tore out a majority of the perimeter gardens. (That's what I'm calling the border raised beds that I have around much of the back yard.) I still have a few other beds that need to be wrapped up for the season, but they'll have to wait until our current rains have passed. It was a much earlier end to the season than we had last year I think but I'll have to consult the old garden journal from '08 before I'm sure. It seems that I've been so far out of whack with my sense of time this year that I can't be sure of anything anymore.

Here's the good new though... all is not lost. While I didn't bother to cover any of my tomato plants, some that were near to the house made it just fine anyway, I did get off my butt and get some good cuttings from some of the plants that I had this year that I really liked and I have them in the greenhouse soaking in cups of water until I have a chance to properly propagate them for the winter. One of my goals for this off-season in the greenhouse is to propagate and hold over these cuttings through the winter. I'm not concerned with necessarily getting tomatoes in December or anything, although yeah I'd be super happy for those, my main hope is that I can keep them alive until very early spring when I'll be able to again propagate a new batch for a couple of things. I want to be able to plant an early batch of them at a decent size so I'll be able to get tomatoes in May-June rather than June-July. A~ and I are thinking about participating in one of our local farmers markets next year and that would be a boon. The other possible use for a large batch of clones is that I can possibly sell a few to our neighbor gardeners via a front yard plant sale or share them with other gardeners at a plant swap. Both are best case scenarios but hey, a guy has to have dreams right?

I'll update you with some pictures of the propagated cuttings and the greenhouse insides as I get them done. Anyone interested in details of my cloning experiences? Anyone with advice for me from experience? This is a new process for me so I'm more than willing to consider any ones input.

Hope all is well for all of you. I've noticed a couple of new followers and some new subscribers too, I hope you'll all feel welcome, enjoy the read and enlighten me with your input!

Till next time.

September 29, 2009

The Greenhouse!!

Fall is here and so is the greenhouse!!! Just in a nick of time to huh?
I'll let the pictures tell the story...

When I opened the box and saw all the pieces I have to admit I was a little taken aback. "What did I get myself into??" I thought. As it turns out though, it was actually pretty easy to put together. Oh yeah, and man was I lucky too. You can see the original floor that was in the pergola that previously sat in this spot. I literally did not have to change a single piece of the "urbanite" that was used as a floor. The greenhouse fit perfectly around it.
You can see in this photo that the roof windows are being held up by a special window hinge. These are special pieces that I picked up extra. They are wax piston hinges that expand when they heat up and contract when they cool. hopefully they'll help me regulate the temperature inside.

I'm hoping to be able to build some kind of a solar heat sink inside to hold heat naturally over the cool evenings here. I may need extra heat, I'm not sure yet, but either way it will be fun to play around in here this winter.

Till next time!

September 28, 2009

Put'n it up!

A big part, and to be honest it's a really big part, of the idea of a sub-urban farm or urban homestead or whatever you'd like to call it, is deciding what to do with all the stuff you've grown after you've grown it.

With the economy as it is, we'e been happy to be able to help out friends and neighbors with some extra produce from time to time and we've eaten a ton of really good fresh meals, but at some point, you just have to either put up or shut up. By put up I of course mean putting up food for later. We've done a good bit of that this year. We've dried, frozen, pickled, jellied, juiced and canned much more this year that in any year past. It is by no means enough to feed us all winter, but it helps me to justify to myself the effort, time and let's be honest here, money, that we put into our garden. I wish I'd had a chance to get good pictures of everthing we did, but alas the technical difficulties raised they're stupid heads more than once for me.
Here's some pickles, potatoes, plum jam and salsa that we put up one weekend. It was a busy one for sure.

I also tried my hand at making sour brined pickles this year. I can't take credit, as much as I'd like to, for the beautiful pickle cukes. I can't grow them to save my life! But I did find a local grower that had a great deal on these and they worked great.
After seasoning and brineing them and letting them ferment for three weeks they developed a great kosher dill sour pickle taste. I really really like them. This will be a definite do again project.
This year we also tried our hand at dried tomatoes. Believe me, we have much more than this. After they're dried we can re-hydrate them in a little basamic vinager and then store in the fridge in some olive oil. Very very good!
And of course we canned tomatoes. These are some of our chopped tom's. We also have done whole romas, tomato sauce and even tried ketchup.

Slowly but surely we're building a good food storage in the basement. It would be easier to freeze a lot of stuff, but that won't help me if the power goes out.

There's still more to go, but soon these jars will be regular guests on our dinner table.

Few things taste better than something you planted from seed, picked at the peak of ripeness with your own hands and put up for later.

It's a good life, eh?
Till next time.

September 27, 2009

On the garden front

All is well.
Some things are starting to show some signs of slowing, while others are really just kicking in. Some of the tomatoes for instance, while still giving prodigious harvests, ( I'll go into that later ) are starting to show signs of stress. The long hot summers do take their toll on things by this time of the year. But hey, They take their toll on me too so I can't blame them.

on the other hand, our green pole beans are really just coming on strong now. I thought that we wouldn't get a good harvest of them this year, and it still won't be as good as last years, but after consulting that garden journal from last year (can I tell you what a blessing that thing has been!) we found that our first substantial harvest of green beans last year wasn't until mid September either. We figure we're about 2 weeks behind. That will catch up to us on the back end, but honestly I couldn't have handled more if they'd have come any earlier!

A couple of other things that have been fun this year have been our green peppers and eggplants.
I don't know if it was a product of the long cool spring that we had giving them a chance to root well, or if the new Lasagna garden that I planted them in just acted like rocket fuel to them, but we got a better crop of both of them this year than we've ever gotten. And of course this years new crop for us was Okra. I followed the instructions of a woman that I met in our Master Gardener program that had learned to grow them in the south and they've done great! To think that last year I never even managed to get them to germinate and this year I'm harvesting bunches at a time. It's all about planing the seed direct well after any chance of cool weather. They like it hot.
I mentioned that we pulled our Mid season potatoes a while back. I never did manage to get a photo of that harvest up though. It was a good one so I thought I'd share.

We got a few tomatoes, cukes, a watermelon and such then too. We've eaten a lot of potatoes, but they're mostly a fall/winter thing for us so many of these are in the cold storage waiting for Thanksgiving.

I guess while I'm on the topic of harvests I can meander off in that direction with you. We've done well this year. We set a goal of 1500 pounds during the winter while we were working up our garden plan for this year. It was ambitious to say the least, but we figured what could it hurt to shoot for the moon. Well, we lost our entire pumpkin crop as well as a few zucchini plants and our watermelons to squash bugs this year. They were TERRIBLE. That's set us back quite a bit I think but as of tonight we have a running total of 745.25 pounds (Not counting eggs of course.) so I think we're doing pretty darn good. We'll hit 1000 lbs this year I'm sure or at least come pretty darn close. Last year for the entire year we got a total of 521 pounds so if nothing else we can be glad to have well beaten our own best.

We also set a one day harvest record for ourselves a couple of weeks ago. Remember
I said I'd get back to the prodigious tomatoes? Well, thanks in no small part to a one day harvest of 140 pounds, we brought in just over 166 pounds in one day. Curious what 140 pounds of tomatoes looks like?

For perspective, they're covering the top of our full-sized chest freezer. Suffice it to say we had a lot of tomatoes!

So then what's a family to do with all this stuff? Well, besides eat it of course. We gave a good bit of it away to friends and like the old saying we're so fond of...

"Eat what you can and CAN what you can't" we put up a bunch of jars this year. more to come on that.


September 26, 2009

Hi again.

I won't bother to go into the who's what's where's and such regarding my conspicuous absence this summer. I've tried to excuse myself the best I could, but in all honesty, I just had too much to do and compounded it with tech problems (That are still slowing me down) and you get the picture. The blog has suffered it's biggest dry spell since... well, since ever really. I'll skip the appologies too, because honestly it's been kind of nice to not have the self inflicted pressure to keep it up on top of everything.

That said, I 'm currently working on a couple of posts that I hope will wrap up some things. The basics really, how grows the garden? What happened to the greenhouse? You know the "burning issues."

With any luck here in the next couple of weeks things will be slowing to the point that I can get back to normal, or some variant thereof.

All the best to those of you still dropping by or checking the reader. Looking forward to reconnecting with you!


August 17, 2009


Been a while again, but I managed to get a computer online so that I can at least update you with everything that we've been up to.
The back yard is changing again. You may remember the pergola that I built a few years back, well, it's a goner! I purchased a polycarbonate walled 10'x12' 10" tall greenhouse and it will (read: should) fit exactly on top of the old pergolas footprint. I have to say I was a little, very little mind you, sorry to see it go, but oh the plans that have been dancing in my little mind. Dreams of early vegetable starts, abundant yields and starting my own annual flowers. Honestly you'd think I'd bought a 100 x 120 footer if you heard me talking about it all.

This weekend past A~ and I spent a couple of shifts, one on Friday and one on Saturday, at the local county fair. I haven't been in years and it was a good time. The last time we went the kids were still at the can you get me this, can you get me that phase and it was a pain. This time A~ and I snuck away for a few hours to tend to the USU Extension Master Gardener booth and talk veggies with anyone who'd stand still. I loved it of course. Saturday, we took the boys, gave them their allowances and turned em loose. So what do they do... they hang out with us and talk us and our partners ears off. Gotta love kids who are old enough to go out on their own a little, but not too old to still want mom and dad.

On the garden front all is going well. The last couple of weekend have really given us a great blessing of harvests. Last weekend, not this last one but the one before that, we brought in 100.5 lbs of veggies. 65+ pounds of that were mid season potatoes like red norkota and Yukon golds. They were so fun to pull. We actually had one Yukon Gold that was 1 lb 5 oz!! We did learn a lesson though. This year we planted two rows of early potatoes, four rows of mid season ones and two rows of late russets. Next year it will be one row of early, one/two rows of mid season ones and 5/6 rows of late season storage potatoes. It's hard to eat a lot of 'taters in the summer when you don't feel like heating up the house with "comfort food". My kids have, however, learned that they like to have fresh potatoes, with peppers, onions and backyard eggs in a skillet for breakfast. It's been great.

Finally, have to apologize for the acute lack of photographs. They have been taken, but I can't yet get them on line to share with you.
I'll bombard you with a big photo blitz again as soon as I can though.

Best to you all.

August 5, 2009

Yes..yes...yes I really do have a garden.

Well I was starting to sense a coup, so I figured I had better do what I can to get some darn pictures up here. Call off the dogs Mike...I give!
I'm not going to write a bunch right now, but suffice it to say that A~ and I have been busy busy busy. I've been doing some more writing for GRIT magazine, meeting too many deadlines at work, urban-farming nearly double the space and still trying to make sure that I spend some good quality time with the family. Something had to give. We do have some great ideas brewing for later this summer or maybe this fall though, so don't drop me off the reader just yet OK?

And with that... let's take a walk... I guess that sign about sums it up huh?
You may notice along the way that sunflowers are a recurring theme this year. Let me just say that the bees and insect life have been having a hey day.
This area was one of the last ones in the yard that needed to be finished. It's nearly there...phew!
Remember that new lasagna garden that I tried out this year. It's been kicking some serious butt! My pepper plants and eggplants are a couple feet tall, healthy and I've gotten more peppers already this year than I've gotten any year past.
You can see the ichiban eggplants are getting ready to come on this week too.
This is A~'s favorite part of the garden this year I think. We found this fountain on clearance for over 50% off and had to pick it up. Those are Romas in the background by the way. I have a tone that are getting ready to start turning soon. I got a few this evening. they were nearly as big as my fist.
A new addition to the garden this year.
Artichokes are just coming on. I should get a couple yet this summer, but I'm hoping to over winter them in the forthcoming greenhouse. (more to come on that soon I hope.)
Here's the northside garden. The first five beds you see were the original garden. Beyond that was added this year. (yeah... I told you we've been busy.)
Okra is doing well. I hoped it would come faster but our cold spring didn't help. Oh well, my first year really trying it.
More tomatoes... They're coming on strong now.
Marcello...king of the garden.
The potato patch. The plants are starting to die off so I'll be pulling them soon.
Here's the view from the street. btw - all of those sunflowers are volunteers from last year.
we love these ones... they're called teddy bears.
These are some of my favorites too. they have the big heads like I like, but are only about four feet tall. The bees love em too.
Speaking of bees, check this picture close up. (click to enlarge.) there are at least three different species here I think.
And finally, the fruits of the labors. This was tonights harvest. 17lbs of cukes, zucchini and tomatoes. We're gonna be slicing and drying a bunch of those for sundried tomatoes. Can't wait.
So then, I guess that's a pretty good representation of what's been happening on the farm so far. Some things are behind a bit, others are going like crazy. You know, I guess thats just how it goes though.
Hope all's growing well for you all. Hope to be back soon.