A Mid April Garden Tour!

It’s hard to believe April is almost half over!  We had an unusually dry week here in Northern Utah, so dry in fact that I actually had to break out the drip system and Water the new raspberries and the peas and I had to put a sprinkler on the onion bed.

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I want to take you on a walk around the new yard and garden today but lets start with a quick shot of what we harvested this week.  We did a lot of planting this weekend and needed to clear out some space, so we ended up pulling about 1/2 of the over wintered spinach out.  Most of what we pulled were plants that didn’t do as well over winter and were now yellowing and thinking about bolting.  I was surprised when Mrs. Stoney had finished cleaning and throwing out the yellow stuff we still had 1.75 pounds of spinach!  Mrs. Stoney sent me straight to the store to find some strawberries and we made her favorite Strawberry Spinach Salad.  I think I have Mrs. Stoney talked into doing a little writing on the blog so look for a recipe from her later in the week on this delicious salad!! IMG_6437

We also spent a few hours this weekend digging out more grass, enough in fact for almost 2 more beds! IMG_6452

This is all we have left to dig out.  Only an hour or so left and we are done.  We are holding off on this section for a few days because one of our neighbors happened by while we were working in it and mentioned he could use the grass for a section of his yard that needs new grass.  So some time this week he is going to come over and help us with the rest and move it to his yard.

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That’s actually a good thing!  As you can see the pile of grass we have pulled out is getting pretty large.  Some people have suggested that I compost this down and put it back in the garden, but it has a lot of Johnson & Quack grass in it.  That grass reproduces with long under ground runners that I’m afraid those roots won’t be destroyed in the composting process and that I would just be adding troubles to garden.  So this pile will slowly disappear into the garbage bin over the next month or so. IMG_6446

I’m really happy with how the garden is working out.  Eventually we will move everything into raised beds but I think I want to work in the garden for a year or so before we decide on what permanent structures to put in.

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The lettuce bed is still doing great!  Mrs. Stoney’s idea of planting lettuce last September in the cold frame has worked out to be the best decision we ever made.  We have had all the lettuce we can eat for more than two months now!!  There are three varieties in this photo, butter crunch, oak leaf and Nevada.  We really haven’t started eating the Nevada yet, which is the nice heads in the front.  This patch will keep us going for another month until the heads behind it are ready! IMG_6431

We did a lot of planting this week.  A total of 40 starts when into the garden.  The photo above shows a few Bak Choy plants.  These are not our favorite veggie so we only grow a few in the spring and fall.

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Here’s cabbage, cauliflower and a few broccoli starts next to our overwintered Swiss chard which we have just started eating this week. IMG_6434

Here’s the bigger section of Broccoli plants.  We put in a total of 16 Broccoli, 4 cabbage and 4 cauliflower.  All of these starts are in the same bed and only about 6 feet apart total.  That way we can put a hoop over them with some row cover to keep the aphids and cabbage loopers off! IMG_6436

We also put in 4 more Swiss Chard plants and 4 kale (which I didn’t get a picture of).

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The raspberry transplants have been in for a week now and seem to be doing good.  Most of the plants have new growth starting at the base of the plant.  This is where this falls crop will grow!!

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And here’s some really good news!  The first of the strawberry blossoms!  That means fresh strawberries are only a few weeks away!! IMG_6435

The peas we planted two weeks ago are finally starting to poke through!  I was a little disappointed with how long these took to germinate.  Next year I think I will cover the bed with row fabric to warm things up a bit to get a quicker germination.   My in-laws tried that this year and their peas are 3 inches tall already! IMG_6440

Remember all the bulbs we planted last fall!  Well they are slowing starting to come up and bloom.  I always hate the first year after planting new flower bulbs, they seem to come up slower that first year!   But this bed is looking great!  Imagine what it will look like next year when the bulbs have established themselves better and reproduced at bit!

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Also the daffodils are looking great.  Again much slower that the rest of the neighborhood but they should catch up next year and also daffodil clumps look better every year with more and more flowers!

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The apple trees we put in last week are looking good!  They are starting to leaf out and get established. IMG_6441

One of our local nurseries has a great sale on the second weekend of April every year.  We came home with a flat full of geraniums and other plants, most of these will end up in pots for the deck and front porch, but a few will also make it into the front flower beds. IMG_6453

And of course the seed starter is still going like crazy!  Along with the veggies I talked about on Thursday’s post we also planted two flats of various different flowers for the front beds!  We are looking forward to a riot of color this year as compared to the nearly empty beds we had last year. Here’s this weeks harvest totals: Spinach 1.75 lbs Lettuce 1.25 lbs Total 3 lbs Our annual total now stands at 38 pounds!  I will be honest with you, that may be the best we have ever done this early in the season and it’s all due to that September planted lettuce!! I will be joining several blog hops this week including the Tuesday Garden Party at an Oregon Cottage, Garden Tuesday at Sidewalk Shoes, The Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead and of course the Monday Harvest Report at Daphne’s Dandelions!  Also remember if you haven’t already done so be sure to like Stoney Acres on Facebook!  Thanks for reading!

Seedling Updates

The garden season is well under way for 2014 and I figured it was time to do a little update on our seed starting efforts.  Seed starting begins early in the year at Stoney Acres.  The lights have been on since January 15th with some of our early lettuce starts.  Now we are swicthing to warmer and warmer crops.

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Here’s a shot of the flat of seeds that were started on February 24th.  That makes them 6 weeks old so it’s time for them to go out to the garden.  I’ve had them out in the cold frames or under a tree for the past 4 days hardening off.  They should be sufficiently hardened by Saturday so we get them planted then.

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These early girl tomatoes are the only exception to that.  It’s still a bit early for my tastes to put tomatoes out, even with wall-O-waters so I will thin out the smallest plants and transplant these to a 4 inch pot over the weekend.  Then I will give them another 10 days or so before they go out.

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We grew 16 broccoli starts, that’s more than we have ever planted in the spring, I’m really hopeful for a good harvest this year.  We are trying Pac Man again this year, it’s fairly quick to get heads so it can beat the summer heat!

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Also ready to go out are some kale starts, pac choi, Swiss Chard, cabbage and cauliflower.

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Not ready to go out are our celery starts, which still desperately needs to be thinned.  I will keep these inside for another couple of weeks as well.

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These two packs are some pitiful lettuce starts, they ended up on the top shelf of the starter and one of the lights was out so they got a little leggy and they really get ignored up there.  I will put them out in a week or so but I’m not sure they will survive.

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Next are some even warmer weather starts.  This tray was planted on March 22.

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All our summer tomatoes, celebrity, beef steak and brandywine are looking good, they should be ready to go out about May 15th.

Also our bell peppers, we are backing down the amount of plants we put in.  Last year we did 12 and we still have 3 gallon bags left in the freezer, so this year we are backing it down to 8.

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The basil and parsley are up, these seeds were old and I didn’t expect them all to come up, since they did I may transplant some of the basil into different pots for more plants.

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Here’s a new plant for our garden this year.  Red Russian Kale!  I’ve always wanted to grow this but couldn’t find the seeds locally.  I mentioned that in one of our neighborhood gardening classes and was surprised by one of the group members when he brought me a packet seeds at church that he had ordered online.

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Here in the front are dill and chives, I’ve grown both of these in the past but I’ve always bought my starts.  So this is my first time trying to grow them myself.

And of course scattered throughout the flat are several pack so different lettuces.  The lettuces and kale will be ready to go out about May 1st, the rest of the plants will be ready May 15th ish.

I’m linking up this week with Simple Lives Thursday, a new blog hop I’m joining over at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa.

Welcome to April!

The first week of April brought us a beautiful mix of rain and sun but the temps for most of the week were cool.  The cool temps kept the newly planted peas from germinating.  The forecast is for warmer temps this week so I’m hopeful that we will see the peas up soon.

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Harvests from the garden this week were limited to about 1/2 pound of lettuce and a 1/4 pound of spinach.  It sure is nice to have lettuce this early in the year.  I promise a post soon on how to have lettuce for salads in your garden 10 months out of the year.  It’s easier than you think!

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Progress on the new garden and yard is really moving along.  We pulled more grass out this week, enough for another 100 plus square feet garden bed.  We have a little more that 300 more square feet to pull out and we will be ready for the warm weather garden!

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We can’t get that job done soon enough!  I started hardening off all of the mid spring Cole crops this weekend.  These will spend about a week more in the cold frame and then they will be ready to be planted out!

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One of the new beds we dug out over the weekend was immediately planted with raspberry transplants.  Our good friend Leo (the guy that lent us some garden space last year) offered to let us have as many Caroline Raspberry starts as we needed.  We ended up transplanting 26 Caroline and 2 Golden raspberry plants!  We are looking forward having our own raspberries again.  We expect a small crop in the fall, followed by many years of this yummy raspberry.  In the past we have always grown Heritage raspberries, but Leo introduced us to Caroline last year.  The berries are larger and sweeter and the plants produce almost twice as many berries!  We know this because Leo has done a side by side test for the last few years and seeing the difference in yield between the two last fall sold us!!

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Also new to the yard over the weekend were these two apple trees.  While we were planting these trees we were discussing the fact that despite 17 years of gardening these were the very first fruit trees we have ever planted!  Our first garden already had fruit trees and shortly after moving to our second garden we knew we didn’t like the area and didn’t want to say long term, so we never planted fruit trees there.  So these are our first fruit trees!  We planted a Early Fuji and a Homey Crisp, both are semi dwarf trees that we are going to try to keep pretty small, but hopefully 3 or 4 years from now we can add a couple bushels of apples to our harvest totals!!

We are hoping to be finished digging up grass some time this week, then we need to haul in some compost till up the beds and they will be ready for their first summer of gardening!  This garden will have a ton more sun than our last garden so we are looking forward to increased yields and lots of tasty veggies.  I’m also excited that the garden is so close to the house, no hiking out to the back 40 to harvest our garden this year!!

Here’s our weekly harvest total:

Lettuce – 1/2 lbs

Spinach – 1/4 lbs

Total – 3/4 lbs

That brings our annual total to 35 pounds.

I will be joining several blog hops this week including the Tuesday Garden Party at an Oregon Cottage, Garden Tuesday at Sidewalk Shoes, The Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead and of course the Monday Harvest Report at Daphne’s Dandelions!  Also remember if you haven’t already done so be sure to like Stoney Acres on Facebook!  Thanks for reading!

Monday Harvest Report March 31, 2014

A great week weather wise here in Utah, at least until yesterday.  We had temps mostly in the 60′s all week but things turned south on Sunday and we actually had a little skiff of snow.  But the weather was great on Saturday and that let us get a ton of garden projects done.

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This was the first and biggest project of the weekend.  Our truck is broken down so I’ve been putting off renting a sod cutter for weeks.  But Saturday Morning Mrs. Stoney laid down the law for the family and told us she wasn’t going to go a second year with out garden peas and truck or no truck we were going to dig up the sod for the next bed in the garden.  It was a bit of work but with 4 of us working on it the digging only took about an hour.  We did have some rain on Thursday so as you can see the ground was still pretty moist.  That allowed us to just cut the sod out and pull it out, then we ran the tiller through the bed a few times.  Now we have a new 25 x 4 bed.  3 more like this to go and the garden will be finished!

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This whole bed will be dedicated to peas this spring and then will be our melon bed for the summer and fall.  We planted two varieties of peas, this photo shows where we planted the Oregon Giants.  This is our favorite snow pea, they are a vine type pea.  This year we are going to see how they do on these tomato cages.

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The rest of the bed was dedicated to 3 rows of “little marvel” bush peas.  The last few years we have tried different varieties of bush peas but this year we decided to go back to our favorite “little marvel”.  They just really seem to be the best suited to our area and give us the best production.  We are a little later than I would have preferred getting our peas in, but given how up and down our weather has been I really doubt it will make much difference.

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Next on the planting list were this years onion crop.  Two varieties going in the year, our tried and true “Copra”, which are a very long storing variety.  The other is new to our garden this year.  It’s a sweeter onion called “Candy”, these don’t store as long (only 3 months) but are supposed to be sweeter and milder.  We get our onions from Dixon Dale Farms.  We have been buying from them (with a large neighborhood group buy) for 4 years now and I have nothing but praise for their wonderful product.

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You can see we really love our onions!  There are a total of over 150 starts, plus we also planted around 25 of the smallest starts deeper to be harvested as green onions.  All those onions for only $5.30 is a great buy.  Of course that price is what we get for buying them as a group, but what a deal for a good quality product.  If this summers conditions are good, I would expect we will have well over 50 pounds of onions again this year!

Cold Frame Potatoes

Also planted Saturday were the first potatoes of the spring.  This is about 8 pounds of seed potatoes that I planted in the cold frame where the carrots were all winter.  The cold frame will give them a really early start and most of these potatoes will be harvest small in June to be eaten with the fresh peas in one of our favorite spring time dishes.  This bed won’t be one of the most productive beds for total yield, I would expect around 30 or so pounds of small new potatoes.  But oh man will these yummy spuds be worth the space!!  The variety is Red Pontiac.

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Of course we did have a some harvests this week.  In order to get the onions in we had to harvest all the over wintered kale.  There were 3 plants that I had to totally pull out and after pulling all the leaves from the stalks we ended up with over 8 pounds of kale!  Wow that’s a lot of kale!  We have cleaned up about half of it and Mrs. Stone made a large batch of kale chips on Saturday afternoon.  It’s funny we can’t get the kids to touch kale fresh but when we make kale chips we can’t keep them out of it!  They downed most of 4 baking trays full of chips in one evening, I finally had to put them away when I caught our youngest coming out of the kitchen with her cheeks stuffed full of kale chips for about the 5th time!!  :)  I will see if I can talk Mrs. Stoney into writing a quick post this week with the recipe she used.

Along with the kale we did harvest some more lettuce and spinach for use in salads during the week but I forgot to get photos of that!

This weeks totals are:

Kale – 8 lbs

Lettuce – .25 lbs

Spinach – .25 lbs

Total 8.50 pounds.  That brings our annual total to 34 pounds!  It feels great to be back to a normal garden season!  This time last year we still hadn’t closed on our house and were living in an apartment with no spring garden at all so we are really enjoying all our spring veggies.

I will be joining several blog hops this week including the Tuesday Garden Party at an Oregon Cottage, The Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead and of course the Monday Harvest Report at Daphne’s Dandelions!

 

Monday Harvest Report March 24, 2014

We’ve had a couple of pleasant and mostly dry weeks.  For the most part the weather has stayed in the 60′s.  We did have a little snow early in the week but it was gone by 10 am.

Winter Carrots

The warm weather was starting to cause the last of the winter carrots to get ready to go to seed.  I could see the greens getting thicker and starting to change so I decided to hurry and get them out of the ground on Saturday.  I pulled a total of 9 pounds.  They all went into water and into the fridge.  They will stay good like this for several weeks and we will wash them as we need them and get them eaten up!  I’m always a little sad to see the end of the winter carrots, the spring variety are just never as sweet and yummy!

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We harvested a total of 18 pounds from this cold frame, not our best effort but not too bad, especially since they were planted a couple of weeks late.  Next up for this bed are potatoes, I will get them planted this week and they will be ready to eat along with the peas in mid June.

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We have continued to harvest  a good amount of greens over the last two weeks.  Both the spinach and the lettuce are doing really well.

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The spinach will be winding down in the next couple of weeks and I think we will replace them with some extra peas, as this bed kind of has a light load scheduled for this year.  I looked at the rotation schedule and this bed will only have celery planted in it all summer so I think we can squeeze in some extra peas.

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I couldn’t resist throwing in a picture of the garlic.  Things are already progressing nicely, I’m looking forward to early August and having some home grown garlic again!

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Also here’s a shot of what’s next in the spring harvest rotation.  This over wintered Swiss Chard is doing great and should be ready to start harvesting again in just a week or so.  It’s amazing that we are still eating from plants we put in last August!  I love cold frames!

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Here is another benefit of cold frames.  I’ve ran out of space under the lights in the seed starter so to make room I moved this flat of mostly pansies (there are  few lettuce plants here too) out to the cold frame to finish off.  I’m hoping the added sunlight will really kick these plants in and get them ready for transplanting in a week or two.

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We have a lot of work to try and get done over the next few weeks.  The biggest project is removing all the grass for the rest of the garden space and then tilling and preparing the beds for crops.  I have to admit this isn’t going to be my favorite garden task!

Here’s this weeks totals:

Carrots – 9 pounds

Lettuce – 1 Pound

Spinach – .25 pound

Total 10.25 Pounds

This was our biggest week of the year so far and will be the biggest we will have until late May or early June.  Our annual total now stands at 26 pounds or 3% of our goal.

I will be joining several blog hops this week including the Tuesday Garden Party at an Oregon Cottage, The Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead and of course the Monday Harvest Report at Daphne’s Dandelions!

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