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!
Respectfully submitted,

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.
Respectfully submitted,

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.
Respectfully Submitted,

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Plants indoors...Large Scale.

A farmer friend of mine named Greg started A LOT of plants indoors this spring. He ended up with over 960 tomato plants alone. That does not include all of the eggplants, peppers, squash, pumpkins, nasturtiums, artichokes, & herbs ect. The pictures below show some of his methods and plants.
All of the pictures were taken 3/06/09
Pumpkin plants. 3/06/09
Pumpkin plants. 3/06/09

Tomato sprouts. 3/06/09

Planting the sprouts into pots.

Gently packing the soil around the sprout.
Watering the newly planted sprouts with a gentle sink sprayer.
The warm, dark drawer where the germinating seeds are stored till they sprout.
The start of the sprouting method. Take a paper towel and get it moist with water. (please make sure it is a coarse paper towel as fine ones make transplanting the sprouts without hurting them virtually impossible.)
Next step. Place the seeds on the moist papper towel and then gently fold the towel up and place it in a ziplock bag. Finally place the closed ziplock bag in a warm, dark place. The seeds usually will be ready to plant in 3-6 days.
Wrapping the seeds in the papper towel.
I will post more pictures soon. Tomorow I hope to post pictures of how Greg's plants looked like a couple weeks after the above pictures were taken. Now I have to continue with my studies.
One good thing was that I found out I could take the final exams next week and that I have until the 8th to turn in all of my work! Yipee!