Monday, July 13, 2009

Garden Update

Our garden is just starting to produce finally!

I think that our garden has been slow because of all the rain we have been having and the cool weather, but we will be eating from our garden again in a matter of days!
We have some Zuchini and some Papaya pear almost ready to pick and all of our other produce is well on the way too.

My brother buried 2 large holes full of compost last fall and there were some squash seeds from last years produce in there and they sprouted. I told him that he should consider removing the volunteer sprouts so that he had the proper spacing, but he decided to leave them with only 1-2 INCHES between plants. Now normally this is a sure cause of doom, but the compost was rich enougn to not only cause the plants to hang on, but rather to THRIVE! These squash plants are easily 3 feet tall, have the some of biggest leaves I have seen, and they are producing some large sized fruis too!
It is really amazing to see, and I have declared that instead of doing thousands of square feet in gardens next year I am going to do a 20 square foot garden full of compost like Jarin.

I will post more soon.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yorktown - The Battlefield Pictures

Below are some of the pictures I took while we were on the famous Battlefield of Yorktown. The Battlefield that made us free.
Replica American Siege Guns. At Yorktown they have replicated the old siege lines from the first line at a mile or so away from the British line all the way to the point blank 1/4 or 1/2 mile line.
The famous Redoupt 9. American soldiers stormed this redoupt one night with amazingly low losses.

Replication of American siege cannon.

More cannon

I will try to post more soon. I have been so busy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First Famers Maket

Our first farmers market of 2009 was on June 21st. It was slow which is not surprising considering that it was Fathers Day.
It was kind of interesting that the first market fell on the longest day of the year.
I will try to post some pictures of the market once I get some bugs worked out of my computer system.
As we were packing up after the market a man ran past us with a security guard right on his heels. I saw that the man was on the phone and I heard him yell at the security guard "let me go!" The security guard was yelling at him to sit on the ground. A few minutes later I saw him sitting down close to where the market had been and a couple of bystabders were by him on their cell phones. I believe they were calling the police because As we were leaving their was at least 4 cops there and one of them was over by the last vender still at the market (I believe he was probably asking the vender for a witness account.)
I am not sure what the guy did, but he was carrying a scateboard and it is against the rules to ride scateboards in the mall complex. Most of the time that there are scatebaorders rinding in the mall the guards tell them to get off of them and thats it that, so it is possible that them man was warned and chose to continue riding and ignore the guard.
Anyways, I will try to find out what he did and I will update this as I find out.
Remember markets are always interesting! It may seem boring for a couple weeks, but then wham! I remeber getting hit in the back by a 20'X40' tent that a micro burst sent flying like it was a kite...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Fathers Day

I am sorry I have not posted in so long.
Happy Fathers Day to all Dads!
I hope that you all have a wonderful day.
Tomorrow Is our first Farmers Market this year. Market Fresh will be held every Sunday till sometime in October at the 29Th Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado.
Come by and see us!
It is late and I still have a lot to do.
I hope to post pictures of the market in a day or so.
Till then enjoy your gardens and Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads out there!


Friday, June 12, 2009

An Indestructible Plant

Below is the textbook description of a impossible to kill plant.
The plant is known as Perennial Sweet Pea or Lathyrus latifolius.

I found this at Dave's Gardens.

Calaveras wrote the following:

On Sep 29, 2008, Calaveras from Kittanning, PA wrote:
HELP ME KILL THIS PLANT! I desperately need your advice. It has taken over a full acre of woodland in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California and is spreading at perhaps 1000 square feet per year. This is at 2800' elevation, with no rain between April and November, on a slope with a low water table, daily temperatures regularly reaching 100F, and full to partial sun. In a few years it will consume the entire property. Burning is risky in this habitat in the season when the plants are exposed. Is there an herbicide that would be effective? It's way past trowel work. Please reply before an air tanker is required. Thanks

More below.

On May 22, 2008, girlndocs from Tacoma, WA wrote:
This sweet pea grows in the neighborhood and established itself in a crack in the sidewalk by our front porch.I let it grow -- even mowing around it when I cut the grass. I don't think I've ever deadheaded it and I only collected seeds once when they happened to be ripe as I walked by. Nevertheless it's only made about 5 "babies" in 7 years. Each year it would grow to cover about 4' square feet in a loose tumbling mass before frost nipped it back.The only places I've seen it really take over are abandoned spots in alleys and so forth.It sure is tough, though. This year a lawn service both mowed and power-edged right where it was springing up and I thought it was the end, but two weeks later it was back. Now I've moved it to a wire fence in the back of my garden that hides my compost piles.

As you can see this is a very hardy plant. In the first story Perennial Sweet pea has no water for the hardest parts of the year with temperatures often at 100oF.
I recommend planting this plant if you have a lot of room to let it take over and said space is hard to get other things to grow on. On the other hand, if you just love sweet peas then just go right ahead and let it take over a large area, because I have seen them take a lot of abuse. I have also heard that old varieties (Like the ones we sell at Life Seed Co and those are Perennial Sweet Pea, and an annual one called old Spice mix, which is a mix of multi colored heirlooms.) have a lot of fragrance to them.

Have you grown Sweet Peas before? How did they do for you? Were they invasive and would you recommend planting them?


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yorktown Pictures

Below are some more pictures of our trip to Virginia in 2007 for Jamestown's 400Th Anniversary celebration.

A man gives horse and buggy rides just as they used to in colonial times. Note his British red coat.

Historical Williamsburg is full of meticulously kept formal gardens. Although the picture does not show it this garden had about a dozen such triangles like 5 or so shown.

This young buck was checking us out and moving around quite a bit when I snapped this picture of him taking a peek at us from between two trees.
These are actual cannons captured from the British at Yorktown. On several of them you could easily make out inscriptions with the royal crest. These are only 6 of at least 50 that were on display at Surrender Field. This field is so named because it is where the surrender ceremony took place and the weapons were collected.
I will be posting some more pictures later.

Blogroll Additions

I have added a few blogs to the "Blogs I am folowing" toolbar to the right.
So please welcome
clay and limestone
Organic Allotment
Tiny Farm Blog» organic vegetable gardening!

I have been reading these 3 for a while and have decided that as they post frequently and the content is good that I shall add them.
I owe special thanks to Tiny Farm Blog as they have been sending quite a few visiters my way!

On other news we have had frequent light rains and the garden sprouts are doing good.
I am still waging war with the mites and the indoor fruit fly type things that have killed more of my plants than I want to think about.
I plan on doing a fairly large post on spider mites soon, but for now that is all.

Respectfully Submitted,

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Garden update

Our garden is all sprouting up.
Our squash sprouts are doing well, as is all the rest of the market garden.
I have a tomato plant that is about 4 feet tall and it already has some green tomatoes on it.
I will post more soon.

Tomato cages

I found this post through The Sun is Killing Me.
It is a really good post about making tomato cages because the store bought ones are so flimsy.
I have excerpted some of it below.

To make tomato cages just acquire a big ol' roll of caging, then measure out the correct length to make the right diameter cage you would like (Diameter = Circumference/3.14). I made my cages about a foot and a half wide. Snip the wire off the roll with wire cutters, roll up, then bend the ends around to make hooks to secure the cage together. Then snip off some of the horizontal wire at the bottom to leave vertical wire posts(4-6 inches is good)to stick in the ground to hold the cage in place. Easy-peasy! And so much more durable than those cheesy ones they sell at the store!

I happen to have found some old tomato cages made in a similar fashion as the ones above and they are very tough.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Professor Einstein

We finally caught Prof. Einstein!
I have not posted about Prof. Einstein before, but to fill you in We had a mouse type animal get into our basement and our cold seed storage room.
Seed room+Mouse-= bad, bad, bad.

Prof. Einstein came into our basement sometime between last October and last January.
We built our cold seed storage room in December.
We first discovered that something was amiss when we were cutting some carpet for the Colorado Garden and Home Show and out of the carpet role poured out red popcorn!
After a week or two it clicked Sammy. (Sammy was a kangaroo rat we had once had)
We realized that we had a critter with several of the habits of our old kangaroo rat. However we never saw any mice poo.
Well one day we discovered some of Life Seed Companies seed packets were torn, and all of seeds were missing, and we kept discovering more and more of those packets mixed in with our seed racks.

We immediately realized that we had a major problem and took some steps to try to secure the cold room.
Later during intense investigations we discovered a small hole that went all the way into the cool room. We tried to block it but by this time I had a surveillance camera deployed to scan the basement at night, and oh my, the critter never came out the next two nights.
This was a major problem as it appeared that Prof. Einstein was living in the cold room.

To make a very long story somewhat short we tried all kind of live traps and I was continually acting on intelligence gathered from the nighttime surveillance camera.
Professor Einstein earned his name by easily avoiding all of our traps as well as shamelessly poising for the night camera. He would come up real close and stand in a frontal view and then turn to each of his side views in front of the camera. I dubbed that behavior as "poising for prison shots."
He was always up to something and he clearly enjoyed and knew what that camera was.
Example: he would swagger past the camera with his tail wagging really fast up and down as he raided a pile of popcorn, the prison shots, and all sorts of other ridiculous behavior.

Months later: brings us to a few days ago. We were getting desperate and considering poison, but before we did that we decided to try a sleeping pill. So we put out 2 peanut butter scoops mixed with a quarter of sleeping pill each. One was outside of the cool room and the other was inside. We also completely sealed off the cool room so that he could not get in or out of it. When we watched the video of the night we discovered two things. 1: he was still super active over an hour later, and 2: when he went to reenter the cool room via his small hole and discovered that he could not get in he just went nuts! He ran like lightning over to where the door to the cool room is and seeing that blocked came zipping back over to his hole and then started running all over the place for about 5 minutes. We think he was living in our crawl space, based on the most recent Intel. So we then decided to use a homemade trap using a big box and the trigger from a store bought one.
To give you a basic idea of the triggering mechanism it was a metal ramp suspended over a fulcrum with a metal flap that would pop up and block the entrance/exit hole when the mouse walked over the ramp. Kinda like a teeter totter.
Well we changed a few things like pushing the trapping flap outside of the box a little so that Prof. Einstein could not get his hands on it to forcibly pull it down (He is called Prof. Einstein for a reason. He is easily the smartest rodent I have ever seen.) We also added a little bit of peanut butter under the ramp (accidental) and were hoping that it would help it stick one the Prof. was inside the box.
Now the reason the store bought trap never worked was because we were trying to get the Prof. into a really cramped area and there was no way he was going to fall for that kind of pathetic trap.
So we tried this trap last night and in the morning we watched the video.
The Professor entered the trap and ran right back out (did I mention that a friend of ours had tried a larger professional style trap and the Professor ate the bate without setting it off.) We were Shocked!
After further analyzing I discovered that Professor Einstein had run into the trap at full speed by putting his hands and feet on the tiny rail on each side of the ramp! He then exited the same way.
By the way he must have discovered that his peanut butter from the last night had been tapered with because he did not touch any peanut butter again.

Today we reset the trap and poured a bunch of seed in there in the hope that in one of the Prof. many trips to get to the seed he would set off the trap. I also added a quarter to the rail in hopes that as he ran up it would fall onto the ramp and trip it.
When my dad went downstairs to check on it at about 10:15 P.M. (about 15 minutes after I put the money in) he discovered that we had caught Professor Einstein!
So We checked to see just what kind of mouse he was and to my utter surprise (based on the night vision videos it looked like a larger mouse) the Prof. was a Deer Mouse!
We let him go about a mile from our house to use his amazing skills in the wild and I will be on a sharp lookout to make sure there are no other mice around.
So that is the shortened story of our acquaintance with Professor Einstein.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Attractiveness of Beer & Fermentation products to the Gray Garden Slug

Below is the link to the full report done by CSU.

I will give just a couple of highlights here.

All trials were conducted in a heavily vegetated yard in Fort Collins, Colorado during April and
May 1987. Attractants were evaluated based on slug captures in a commercially available slug
trap (Slug Saloo#, American Quality Products, Denver, CO) that measured 9.5 cm in diameter
and was covered to exclude dilution by rainfall and irrigation. Approximately 180 ml of liquid
were placed in each trap during trials, which filled the containers to within 2 cm of the container
lip. Traps were placed among vegetation, arranged in a randomized complete block design with
4 replications. Individual traps were separated by a minimum 0.75 m. Traps were collected 48
hours after placement, unless otherwise indicated. All data were subjected to analysis of
variance (ANOVA). Means among the treatments were separated using the multiple range test
of Duncan (1955) at P < 0.05.
Attractiveness Comparison Trials of Commercial Malt Beverages. Trials were conducted to
rank commonly sold malt beverages for attractiveness to slugs. Treatments included 12 brands
of beer, one alcohol-free malt beverage, sugar water/baking yeast, one brand of wine, and tap
water. Comparisons were made during a series of trials involving three treatments against a
standard beer (Budweisera) that was used in all trials. The ratio of slug capture in treatments
was then calculated against the (Budweiserk) standard to establish overall rankings of
Beer Flattening/Alcohol Fortification Trials. The effect of beer flattening and alcohol
fortification on slug capture was evaluated with two beers (Budweise?, Pabst Blue Ribbo$). In
both trials, beer was flattened by decanting into a bowl 48 hours before the initiation of the trial.
To further help define the importance of the ethanol in beer to slug capture, additional treatments
were conducted involving fortification of the baits with ethanol. Ethanol was added at the rate
of 6% by volume in the form of 95% ethanol.

And the results

A wide range in attractiveness occurred among the various malt beverages tested (Table 1). The
non-attractiveness of alcohol, demonstrated by Smith and Boswell (1970), was emphasized in
this trial since greatest attraction occurred using the non-alcoholic malt beverage Kingbury Malt
BeverageR. Among tested beers, there was a three-fold range in attractiveness with the brewer
Anheiser-Busch products (Micheloba, Budweisep, and Bud LightR) attracting the greatest
number of slugs to the traps.
Several volatile components associated with beer have been identified by Selim (1976) as being
attractive to slugs including acetoin, diacetyl and dihydroxyacctone. The range in attractiveness
of various malt beverages are likely due to differences in the concentrations of these attractants.
For example, Meilgaard (1975) reports a three-fold range in diacetyl exist? among typical United
States beers.
The single wine tested (Gal10 Pink ChablisR) was not attractive to slugs, although Smith and
Boswell (1970) reported that unfermented grape juice was a moderately attractive to slugs. Use
of fermenting sucrose solutions to which baking yeast was added produced capture rates similar
to beer. Selim (1974) had previously reported sucrose fermentation byproducts as attractive to

Mite Update #2

My attemps to destroy the mites have been only partially sucessful.
I have kept their numbers fairly low, but they have killed several of my marigolds in the last couple of days.
I am rather upset. Those marigolds were over 2 months old.
In other news we have had a lot of rain lately, which is really nice in our dryland climate of northeastern Colorado.
One of the dificult things about having clay soil is that when it rains hard the plant leaves become caked with mud. Depending on the severity of the caking and the size of the plant this can be fatal. I have lost more plants the last two weeks to this than I care to remember.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I decided to post some pictures of a trip we took to Virginia in May 2007 during the 400Th anniversary celebration.
Below are some pictures mostly taken on 5-12-07 the 400Th anniversary to the day since the settlers landed in Jamestown. After the settlers landed they returned to their ship and the next day (5-13-1607) they officially formed Jamestown. We were able to see the exact site of the Jamestown settlement. They are still doing a lot of archaeological work, but that is one of the things that attracts people to Jamestown, the sense of excitement and discovery. By the way archaeologists were able to reproduce some of the structures in their exact locations thanks to stains in the soil. Because of this, They have put up a realistic palisade in the exact dimensions of the Jamestown settlement. It was really something to walk in and see the statue of John Smith (that was erected before Jamestown was rediscovered) standing inside the settlement, and see just how small it really was. It definitely gave us a sense of the truth of Jamestown and the realities the settlers faced. The day we were there was not too busy, although somewhat hot, (but not by Colorado standards) however, the next day it was really busy because that is the day President Bush visited. As we were leaving for the night we could see all of the secret service members clearing the area.
Archaeological excavation in progress.
Archaeologists believe this structure to be a barracks.

In the center of the Fort. Note the John Smith Statue facing out to sea.

Swamp surrounding Jamestown.
Fireworks after the celebratory concert on 5-11-07.
I plan on posting some pictures I took of the Yorktown Battlefield soon.
Respectfully Submitted,

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mite Update 1

The spray that my dad used for mites on his tomato plants is 30% vinegar and 70% water.
I used a roughly 1% vinegar and 5 percent lemon juice (was already in the spray bottle) with a roghly 94% water.
So far it seems to work fairly well. I have only had a couple mites left today on the sensitive plant and the other plants I have sprayed with it seem to be mite free. Also my marigolds that were infested this morning are greatly reduced in visible mites. I sprayed them just a minute ago with an increased percentage of vinegar.
If you ever hear that mites wont do much harm to your plants do not believe them. It is true that a small number of mites will not kill a large and healthy plant, but they do not stay a small number of mites. They spread. What in my case starded out as a very small number of mites has in 3 days (which by the way it only takes about a week for them to go through a generation) easily quadrubled. I went from 2-3 known plants to easily 10-15 hard hit plants. They killed fairly healthy plants in 4" pots in 2 days. They have changed a healthy marigold in a 5" pot to a struggling to survive marigold in a day or 2. These things are bad. Another thing about them that is very bad for home gardeners is that once they have become intraduced into the plants you have indoors it becomes virtually impossible to completely eliminate them without removing all of the plants from your house for 6 month to a year. That is bad. You see mites can live for a long time without eating so that you can remove all of your plants from indoors for 2 weeks and then bring new plants inside and within a few days the mites will be as bad as ever.
I will try to do the virtually impossible and eliminate the mites without removing all of my plants indefinately.
Especially since I plan on doing a new rotation of plants once I remove all of the old ones destined for outside.
On a side note Basil seems to be very mite resistant.

Respectfully submitted,


Spider Mites.

They are terrible beasts that sneak into your plants and begin to kill off your whole lot. They are voracious eaters that entrap whole plants in their webs of death. What shall one do to save your plants from these killers?

As you may have guessed from the above that I have been having a little bit of problems from these spider mites. It all began 3 days ago when I discovered that one of my many healthy plants had suddenly and mysteriously died. I investigated for a possible cause of death and I discovered all these fine webs encircling the top of it and all over the webs ran these tiny brown dots. I knew immediately that these were dreaded spider mites and as one of my college classes last semester was Hort 310 Greenhouse Management I knew how fast they would spread and how easy it is to get infested. I reacted quickly with fire and burned the top half of the plant that the mites had occupied.

Yesterday I discovered mites on my sensitive plant, on a lot of my brothers plants and on a couple more of my plants. I decided to try spraying them with citrus, So I sprayed them with diluted Lemon juice. It worked a little. However my dad recommended trying vinegar and water. I mixed about 1% vinegar, 4% diluted lemon juice, and about 95% water into a spray bottle and then proceeded to spray most of my plants with it.
It seems to work, but today I discovered that although the mites are almost completely gone from the formerly infested plants, they are now infesting most of my marigolds! And then I discovered all of these white eggs on one of my Burgundy Okra plants. Sigh... More vinegar.

I will keep you updated on the status of the dreaded mites. Hopefully I will be able to annihilate them, and then I can deal with those pesky fruit flies or whatever they are eating my beans and now, my tomatoes...

Respectfully Submitted,

Total Blog Directory Link

If you want to find some other great blogs about any topic you can go to:
Total Blog Directory


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blogs I am Following added

I have added to the right a new Blogs I am following section.
The first blogs to be added were The Desert Garden and The Reluctant Eater.

The Desert Garden addresses some of the issues facing Arizona and other desert gardeners, but he also has tips that we would all benefit by.
The Reluctant Eater covers a lot of health foods, his first garden, and any other topics pertaining to health.

I will be adding more blogs as time goes by, but I want to only add those that will be good and fairly frequent reads, so it will take me some time to get many added. In the meantime go check out The Desert Garden, and The Reluctant Eater!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Garden Lessons From Years Past

I have been rather busy planting seeds and plants out into the market garden the past few days.
We have got over 10 different varieties in covering the Zucchini, Acorn Squash, Chard, Spaghetti Squash, Watermelon, and Cantaloupe Families. (Yes I know that Spaghetti Squash is not usually considered a "family" However, I decided to include it as plain winter squash did not do justice to the varieties we did.)

I have been moving forward on my "Square Foot Garden." I have been transplanting quite a bit of the plants I have inside out to it, and will continue to do so for the next few days. This process could be accomplished much faster, but I have been much to busy to spend a lot of time on it, and all the red tape that comes along!

My overall plan for the "Square Foot Garden" is to (obviously) use every square foot and maximize the amount of produce I get out of a small area. I also want to begin working on a comprehensive gardening strategy where several elements work together to attain one goal - A healthier, more productive garden with less work.

Before I begin to describe my plans for the "Square Foot Garden" allow me to give a brief history on some past gardening learning curves.
My first gardening year was in 2007 when I started working at a seed company. During that year I began to apply the knowledge I was learning at work. My garden was fairly large roughly1/8 of an acre if I remember correctly. I managed to get a decent amount of produce from it, for a first timer, but I was far, far from what can be obtained from that size of garden. My biggest problem of that year was being able to water the garden more that every other week as I was working full time and keeping the weeds under control. I remember one incident in particular when I watered about half of my garden really well one weekend in July (It had no weeds at all, just plants and dirt) and I could not find any time to get out to the garden for the whole week. Well, when I returned the following weekend I found that I had weeds over 3 feet tall. What?!!!! I spend one week away in JULY when it is well over a hundred degrees out and I get weeds OVER THREE FEET TALL!!!
Needless to say I was not able to retake that half of the garden over, However I did find the time to wage a successful campaign to remove approximately 100 square feet of those terrible weeds so that my Jumbo Pink Banana squash could survive.

Last year's gardening lessons: Last year we started selling produce at a couple of new Farmers markets one at The 29Th Street Mall in Boulder named Market Fresh and one in Brighton.
Because of the fact that we were now going to be a produce vender we planted a large garden, probably an acre and a half. Our biggest dilemma was providing adequate attention to each of the growing areas because we had spread the garden out over a large area with the intent that we would be able to have multiple hoses going at the same time. It did not quite work out like we had planned. The weeds began to take over quickly, we tried to keep on top of the watering and weeding, tried to do the mulching, and plant half an acre of pumpkins.
We were unable to keep on top of all the areas we had planted. While we managed to mulch most of the garden over time, and deal with the most pressing weeds, we were unable to get the garden to produce its full strength. Yes, we did get a very large amount of produce and what we did not sell filled up all of our freezers.
Overall the biggest lesson of last year was mulch and focus less on the amount planted and more on the amount of yields per square foot. Hence this years theme for me Square Foot Gardening TM

In a later post I will explain my plan for The Square Foot Garden TM, but for now I will leave you to digest what I have already written.

Respectfully Submitted,

Saturday, May 16, 2009

CSU pictures Part II.

Below are some more pictures of my trip up to CSU.
Those are some BIG tulips. They were about 3ft high!

The squirrels at CSU are the TAMEST I have ever seen. As I was walking to the car to get my camera I saw a squirrel laying within 8" of a girl who was studying like nothing out of the ordinary was happening.
Then as I took this picture that squirrel came running out of the tulips right to me.
He then proceeded to circle me always staying within 8"...
Before proceeding back into the tulips.
The entrance to the building I took my test in.

The building straight ahead is the CSU Library. They have an amazing array of books.

The Lory Student Center.
Tulips and Pansies outside of the Lory Student Center.
Mixture of flowers makes for a very colorful array of blooms.

Massive Tulips are everywhere in the CSU area.
Today we are going to try to plant most of our garden. We have finally got the ground all tilled up and ready to go.
I will post more on that as time passes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

CSU pictures Part I.

Below are some of the pictures I took while I was taking a test at Colorado State University (CSU.)
A bed of tulips and other flowers by the Lory Student Center.

A picture of the Trial Gardens at CSU. In the summer this whole area will be jam packed withe all sorts of flowers.

Pansies in the Trial Gardens.
People walking along some beds of pansies.
A new hybrid named Panola XP Sunburst Pansy.
Up close to the cloud there is a rainbow.
Tulips in front of a CSU sign.
A close up of some tulips.
There are more tulips in front of the house. Spectacular display!

Some reed tulips bordering the trial gardens.

I will be posting more pictures soon. Today I hope to finish getting my "Square Foot" garden ready for planting. I tilled it yesterday and today I will add some border trenches and some organic matter before I start planting. This year my theme is square foot gardening. This is in part to the fact I am almost constantly answering questions for gardeners with limited space, and in part to the fact that I believe that I can get stronger, healthier plants and greater yields by heavily caring for a small area instead of lightly caring for half an acre. So this years garden will be the smallest I have ever had, but I hope to have more produce than I have ever had.
Also yesterday I had two more flowering plants open their first blooms. The first was some Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis Tinctoria) that I have planted in a container, and the second was some Lewis (blue) Flax that I planted 3 years ago. Lewis Flax is a native blue flax to the Rocky Mountain region. It is named after Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition because the discovered it on their expedition. Its botanical name is Linum Lewisii.
Respectfully submitted,


I have been growing around a dozen Cinnamon Basil plants since mid march. I have now been able to harvest a significant amount of leaves for fresh use and for drying. I really like the cinnamon Basil plants. They have a reddish stalk and they have a definite Cinnamon flavor and smell.
My tallest plant is close to 18 inches and as I am growing them inside I am looking forward to quite a bit of fresh basil this summer.

In a couple weeks after I have rotated most of the plants I have outside I will be starting some other basils.
I plan on starting at least 4 plants of each of the following:
Lemon Basil, Lime Basil, Genovese Basil (the kind used in famous Italian pestos,) Purple Basil, Siam Queen Basil (Thai,) and Sweet Basil. I anticipate lots of basil this summer.

I have started to rotate my plants outside slowly. Currently I have planted about 1 mystery Cosmos, and 3 sunflowers outside as they are the hardiest. I lost one sunflower almost immediately. However, As it is now often in the 90s I will be putting a lot more out. Today I hope to put out at least 4 more wildflowers, and in 2 days I hope to have my garden all ready for the vegetables. In the meantime I am hardening them off to the outside weather. This is done by placing your plants outside (in a similar environment to where they will be planted) for about an hour one day, 2 hours the next, maybe 5 hours the next and after about a week they should be ready for the garden. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to slowly harden a lot of my plants off so I have been forced to do in a day or 2 what normally takes a week.
Below is a link to a post by The Desert Garden about how to protect your garden from grasshoppers.
I have also been growing a Stevia plant also known as "The Sugar Herb." When I got this plant it was about 5" tall. Now it is easily a foot tall and flowering. It has little white flowers that kind of remind me of Baby's Breath. I look forward to some homegrown sweetener soon.

Respectfully submitted,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Plants indoors...Large Scale. Part 3

The other day I went over to my Friend Greg's house to pick up some heirloom tomato plants, and to check up on All of his' plants growth. He has moved 200 tomato plants out to his garden now, and in a few days will be moving his peppers, eggplants, herbs, and other vegetables out to the garden.

Below are some pictures I took while I was there. All of the pictures were taken on 5-11-09. There are also a couple pictures of the Ruby Moon Hyacinth Bean. My brother Jarin collected some seed pods for this from the trial gardens at CSU thinking it was called Red Birds in a Tree. Well it is not Red Birds in a tree, but we call them "birds" because the seed pods look like birds!

Plants in front of a sunny window.
The seed pod of the Ruby Moon Hyacinth Bean. They look like birds!

The flowers of the Ruby Moon Hyacinth Bean (RMHB for short)

More RMHB seed pods.

A mass of tomato plants.
Greg's big Anatolian Shepperd. He is HUGE! (almost as big as a Saint Bernard!)

A tomato plant out in the garden. Gregg put something up to shade them for part of the day.

These are all Leeks, Onions, & Garlic etc.

Greg's Ducks.
A couple of days ago I went up for a test at Colorado State University (CSU.) The test went really well and I had about an hour and a half to walk around and take pictures. I got some pretty cool ones that I will try to post in a day or two.
Also today when I got home from running some errands I had a surprise. As I was unloading groceries my brother showed me that our young cat had kittens! Of course, I had known for about a week or two that she was pregnant, but it was still a surprise especially because one of the kittens was hanging outside of the cage we had put the cat in so that she would not have wild kittens. The little kitten was fine although it did not look very comfortable to say the least. Our cat had a total of four living kittens and one still born kitten.
Hopefully this will be the last batch of kittens we have for a long time. As soon as we get one cat fixed the other gets pregnant!
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cinnamon Basil

I have been growing quite a bit of Cinnamon Basil.
Cinnamon Basil usually has a reddish stem as well as a Cinnamon type smell and taste.
Below are some pictures of my Cinnamon Basil as well as some bulbs that I have growing. All of the pictures were taken 5-09-09

Some of my largest Cinnamon Basil Plants.

Cinnamon Basil with Daffodils and Tulips in the background.

Cinnamon Basil leaves on a plate to dry. I will then grind them up for basil seasoning.

Tulips with Daffodils in the background. I grew these with Life Seed Company bulbs leftover from the fall.

Dutch Master Daffodils in bloom.
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Plants indoors...Large Scale. Part 2

Below are some pictures of Greg's (my farmer friend) plants. The pictures were all taken 4/13/09. His plants were all growing fast! Greg had an incident where he got some organic gardening soil and it had high nitrogen level and it contained manure... Shortly after he planted over 120 plants in the new soil he found out his plants were all dying! He moved quickly to get his plants out of that soil and was able to save quite a few. Unfortunately he lost 80 tomato plants to that mistake. Greg then proceeded to throw that soil out into a hole his dog had dug. When his dog found out all it would do is bark at it! As Greg told me "even the dogs did not like that soil."
Greg's mistake when he purchased that organic soil was not checking to see if it contained high nitrogen levels and manure. The soil contained both with the result that when he transplanted his seedlings they were burnt. Seedlings cannot deal with the high nitrogen levels that a lot of common gardening soils contain, even though large plants can. The soil I and now Greg use is a soil that is in commercial use called Fafard 4-P. This soil only contains Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, Processed Pine Bark, Vermiculite, and Perlite.
I recommend using a soil like this for seed germination. Should you purchase your soil at a local garden center I would first ask an employee if they have a soil for seed starting and then check the label to make sure it does not contain high nitrogen levels. The soil that my friend Greg used in the story above had a nitrogen level of 10-13%.

Tomato plants.
Pepper plants.
More tomatoes.
Plants in front of main window.
Biggest Tomato plants as of 4-13-09.
I have mostly finished up with finals at Colorado State University. I still have to go up to campus for a test Monday or Tuesday. I was planning to rototill a new section of garden today, but it is raining so I don't think that is going to happen.
Hopefully I will be posting more pictures today.
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