Wasatch Front Farmers Market

>> Monday, April 25, 2011

We love farmers markets, and now we have a new one in town!

Wasatch Front Farmers Marketwill be held at Wheeler Farm - 6351 South 900 East, Murray.

They will be open every Sunday beginning June 12 and ending September 26 from 8:00am-1:00PM.

The market promises to be filled with urban farmers, artisans, baked goods, music, and maybe a few roosters.


Goldfinches are back!

>> Sunday, April 24, 2011

 Of course, they have always been here, it’s just their color that left.
The bright yellow is a beautiful addition to the yard.


Kitchen Garden – Basil

>> Saturday, April 23, 2011

Basil is one of the most popular herbs grown today and there are a lot of varieties divided into four main groups- sweet green, dwarf green, purple-leaved, and scented leaf. It’s best grown in raised beds or in containers. Either way it needs good drainage.

Like most herbs, basil needs six to eight hours of sun, which is commonly considered to be ‘full sun’. They are easy to start from seed, beginning around the average last frost date – here around the Salt Lake area of Utah (zones 5 and 6) that would be about mid-May. Or, many people prefer to buy basil as small plants from garden centers priced anywhere from $.99 to $2.49. Either way, they can be grown right through August.

 To get the plants full and lush, pinch the ornamental flowers off before they open to force the plant’s energy into making leaves.

I prefer to allow some of my basil to flower, just for the ornamental value – they won’t be good for cooking purposes after they do – but they still get pinched once or twice in order to get them to ‘bush’ out a bit.
purple basil

For cooking purposes, leaves have the best flavor just as the flower buds begin to form. Regular harvesting will keep the plants producing new shoots. At some point in time, basil plants will wear out and need to be replanted. Consider growing a regular succession of transplants that will take the place of old plants and continue your basil harvest without too much interruption.

Basil is also a good companion plant for several vegetables as well: asparagus, beans, beets, cabbage, chili and bell peppers, eggplant, oregano, potatoes and tomatoes.

Tomatoes, planted alongside basil are said to taste better, although I must say that my own personal taste tests have not shown this to be true. But they do look good together. One expert did suggest that the only benefit of planting basil and tomatoes together was the ability to harvest them at the same time. Try it for yourself and late me know what you think.

If you want an easy to grow ornamental or you want an easy to grow herb for cooking, this is the plant for you.


A Tribute to a Pioneer – Rosalind Creasy

>> Sunday, April 17, 2011

Los Angeles Times did a cover story on this remarkable lady. From the story:

Few people have been quite so consistently ahead of their time as this Los Altos gardener. In the 1970s, Creasy began systematically rolling back the lawn of her Bay Area home and replacing it with a kitchen garden. In the process, she slashed her water bill, eliminated sprinkler runoff and filled her pantry, to say nothing of cutting tens of thousands of “food miles” from her dinner plate. Then in her 30s, a trained educator and mother of two, she went to the local community college to study horticulture, where she scandalized her teachers by pressing the idea of replacing much of our ornamental landscape with food crops.

The article basically pushes Ms. Creasy’s latest book but don’t let the crase commercialism stop you from checking out the post. Both of her books are full of design tips and expert wisdom.


Truly 'Green' Lawns

Originally posted in Grist
The American lawn. Symbol of prestige! Source of unending drudgery! Environmental nightmare!

Why do we have this thing, anyway?

The lawn originated in Europe, perhaps first as an areacleared near castles to allow for the easy sighting of potential attackers, then later maintained as a sign of social standing -- all that open space without food growing on it meant you had to be pretty rich.

These days, many American neighborhoods require either a well-tended, well-watered lawn (although more environmentally friendly types of landscaping are sometimes acceptable as well). Failure to maintain the standard lush green carpet can result in nastiness from neighbors, or even fines.

All this has become a problem now that the economy has hit the skids, because keeping grass in tip-top shape is not as easy here as it was in ye olde England.

I had heard before of stiff fines for grass that grows too high in places like Florida. I hadn't thought about the opposite problem: Lawns in dry parts of the country that just shrivel up and die for lack of intensive watering and other expensive maintenance.

But let's not forget that wonderful thing called American ingenuity. If you're worried that your neighbors are getting ready to call the lawn police because of your withered grass, you can just pull out the paint gun! That's what some folks in Phoenix are doing, according to a report in TheNew York Times:

Doug McGraw, who lives in the Dreaming Summit subdivision in western Phoenix, has been cited for neglecting his lawn. Like many homeowners here, Mr. McGraw saw his finances in turmoil of couple of years back and had no extra money to spend on the lawn. "I just let it go one year, and it went to brown," he said.

A citation letter arrived from the homeowners' association.

That is when his wife, tongue in cheek, remarked that if food could be dyed, why not lawns? Mr.  McGraw began researching the issue and discovered that those who operate athletic fields and golf courses do indeed use lawn dye to keep their grass green year-round.

Unsure whether this would be allowed by his association, and somewhat embarrassed to be taking the easy way out, he dyed his lawn one night in the spring of 2009 without telling a soul in the neighborhood.

The idea that painting lawns green is a growth industry -- an income source that might enable people to keep their own lawns painted green and the homeowners' association at bay -- says a lot about where we've come to as a country.

I couldn't help thinking about the scene in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland where two hapless lackeys are caught painting white roses red by the Queen of Hearts, who shouts "Off with their heads!" (Alice saves their lives).

Maybe an even more appropriate echo can be found in the mythical Potemkin villages erected to impress Russia's Catherine the Great on her tour of the newly acquired Crimea region, back in 1787. No one is really sure if the story is true, but legend has it that the empress's minister, Grigory Potemkin, had fake houses built along the monarch's route so that she would not be able to see the poverty of her new subjects.

Here in the good old U.S. of A., even as our nation gropes along in financial and environmental freefall and entire subdivisions go down to foreclosure, we've got to keep up appearances. Because otherwise, what would the neighbors think?

- - - -

An alternative, of course, is to tear out that lawn and plant something more to your liking, say, native plants or edible plants.


Outdoor Container Plants

>> Thursday, April 14, 2011

With the outdoor gardening season coming upon us it’s time to return those plants that have been over-wintering in our nice warm home to the great outdoors.Also, I get to place hanging plants around the outside of the house. Oh yeah!

Over the years I have maintained container plants on the back deck as a sort of mini-kitchen garden. Lettuce, radish, spinach, beets, tomatoes, etc. This year will be no exception. During my rookie days, these containers did not produce very well due to my inattention to the single most important aspect of container growing: adequate fertilizer.

A continuous supply of nutrients and fertilizer is an absolute for lush container bouquets and productive edibles.

After about a month of growing the plants usually began to show signs of the dreaded ‘death-mask’. Browning around the edges, wilting, drooping, that even feeding didn’t help. I learned that my mistake was in not feeding them enough. I was starving the container plants, because I didn’t replace nutrients that were leached out of the potting mix every time I watered.

Now, through the advice of other more experienced gardeners, I use this three-step fertilizer program, and my container gardens flourish.

Step one - Incorporate timed or slow-release fertilizer into potting mix when filling containers. (If the potting mix contains fertilizer, skip this step.) Fertilizer pellets are coated with a polymer that let them dissolve at varied rates; the thicker the coating, the long it takes for the fertilizer in pellets to be released into the potting mix. Most brands feed plants for at least 60 days, and some supply a steady stream of nutrients for up to 120 days. Check the label on any product you buy for this information.

Fish meal pellets are formulated similarly to synthetic fertilizers. Cotton seed meal, feather meal and alfalfa pellets are other slow-release organic choices. All feed plants for about 60 days.

Step two - Apply water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks to supplement the slow-release fertilizer. Water-soluble fertilizers deliver nutrients directly to plant roots and are easy to apply. Just dissolve them in water and pour the liquid into the container for a nutritional boost. Follow package directions for dilution rates and the amount of fertilizer to use on each container. I’ve had great success with fish meal emulsion and liquid kelp.

Step three – Sometimes plants need a quick pick-me-up due to stress or heavy production of flowers or fruit. Deadheading old blooms and cutting back damaged foliage helps to re-invigorate the plant. After doing this, spray water-soluble fertilizer on leaf tops and undersides. The spray delivers nutrients directly to where photosynthesis takes place. Results are dramatic—you’ll see growth or renewal almost overnight.

Note: Use any spray bottle or garden sprayer and always follow dilution rates given on the fertilizer package. Don’t spray leaves when temperatures are above 90ºF or when the sun is beating directly on the plants. The fertilizer will burn leaves. The best time to foliar feed is in the morning or early evening.


Herbs in a Bag

>> Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Here’s a neat little trick I found while reading through Farmers Almanac. The article was written by Jane Baumgartner

The herbs recommended are basil, chives, marjoram, oregano, parsley, sage, or thyme.

Here are the easy steps to get your herbs growing: Herbs in a Bag!
  1. Lay the bag of soil flat on the ground.
  2. Poke a few drainage holes in the top surface.
  3. Roll the bag over, then cut a few holes in the new top surface.
  4. Insert herb seedlings into the holes and firm the soil around the roots.
  5. Water and fertilize as you would a regular garden bed.
  6. Set the bed into a wheelbarrow or child’s wagon and move it into and out of the sunlight as needed.

Now, with time, regular watering and fertilizing, and some spring sunshine, you can look forward to harvesting herbs from this couldn’t-be-easier garden!
Thank you for sharing Jane.


© 2007 -2011 - Utah Valley Gardens - All photos and content copyrighted by Utah Valley Gardens unless otherwise attributed. The use of photographs posted on this site without permission is forbidden and is protected by copyright law, as is all original text.

Blogger templates made by AllBlogTools.com

Back to TOP