Thursday, October 15, 2009

What kind of bug is that?

As my daughter and I walked past the plum tree more than a month ago, she said, "Look mom, a ladybug!". I peered at it and thought, "That is no lady bug! What is that?"

As we looked around the tree a bit more I saw quite a few of them and a few of these too:

I decided to bag one of the shell looking things up and see what it became. We brought it inside and a day or two later I saw a lady bug crawling around in the bag. Yep. My five year old was spot on. It was a lady bug!

Now, in October, our entire orchard, but mostly the plum tree, is covered in lady bugs! I am in heaven! Not spraying any thing, organic or otherwise, has really payed off. Anyone know how to help them overwinter??

Monday, August 3, 2009

Heirloom Tomatoes

Every year, we over plant our tomatoes. Yes, I mean that we plant too many. But this year, we have surpassed even ourselves and the harvest will be HUGE.

We love heirloom tomatoes for their variety, hardiness and of course, flavor. This year, as we started our seeds indoors, we carefully labeled them and kept track of the 9 or so varieties we were growing. As we transplanted them, and then transplanted again, we lost track (we're not stellar at this) and now we are just guessing at which varieties are which. I guess it's kind of funny, that we don't even know what we are eating. But we do have a general idea, since we know what seeds we planted. . .

Supposedly, we have:
Old German
Red Pear
Christmas Grape
Red Zebra
Gold Medal
Speckled Roman
Fresh Salsa

The Peppers are also ready:

Ancho Gigantea
Wenks Yellow Hots
Bulgarian Carrot
Miniature Red Bell
Super Heavyweight Bell

And of course we are raking in:

Black Magic and Yellow Zuchinni
Triple Crown Blackberries
Jade Green Beans
Purple Okra
Sugar Snax Carrots
Swiss Chard

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cherry Pickin'

Yep! Organically-Grown, Blemish-Free, Heavenly Cherries are here! We are especially excited because this is the first year we have triumphed over the aphids and ants. We are harvesting loads of cherries (9 1/2 lbs this morning, more to come). Wahoo!

*All of our produce is pesticide -free, fresh picked, washed, bagged and weighed.*

Cherries - 2 lb bags ($4.50 each)

Red or Yellow Beets - 1 lb bags ($2 each)

Beet Greens - 1 lb bags - ($1 each)

Swiss Chard 16 oz bags ($1 each)

Rhubarb 3 lb bags ($2 each)

Mint on demand

Eggs Available:

1 dozen ($2)

1 eighteen count ($3)

Friday, June 12, 2009

U-pick Strawberries

Strawberries are a crop that I haven't had very good luck with so far. I've been trying to grow these fabulous berries since our first attempt at gardening, seven years ago. That year our garden comprised two 2x2 garden boxes we made out of scrap wood. We planted one tomato, four snap peas, about ten carrots, four strawberry plants and six corn seeds. It was not a stellar garden, we harvested only a handful of peas and carrots, one tomato and one strawberry - no corn. But we were hooked.

Back to strawberries. Each year I get about five tiny (albeit sweet) strawberries and the rest are eaten by the birds and bugs. It got so infuriating that we tilled the 40 ft strawberry bed in last year. The surprise is that this spring we have harvested our best crop of strawberries from plants that apparently survived the tilling. Who knew strawberries were so resilient? Unfortunately, our "best crop" comprises only about five cups of strawberries. The birds and bugs are still eating most of them, but we've eaten a few and loved 'em.

Tasting this year's strawberries has made me crave more and the store-bought California ones are not satisfying. So I did some research and found a greenhouse about five minutes away that sells u-pick strawberries for $2.50/lb. I drove right over and loved picking the berries from hanging baskets. But I only bought 2lbs. They were so tasty and I almost went back to buy a few more lbs when I stumbled across a KSL listing for a U-pick farm in Layton, UT. Day Farms is fabulous! Easy to get to, easy to pick, and very reasonably priced: $1.50/lb or $1/lb if you pick more than 10 lbs. These berries are wonderful. My mother and I took the kids and picked 34lbs! yep, 34.

Needless to say, we've been processing berries for two days - jam, glorious jam. A few of the recipes we've tried are, Strawberry Lemon Marmalade, Strawberry Pineapple freezer Jam, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, you get the idea. YUM.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fresh Produce Available

All of our produce is pesticide -free, fresh picked, washed, bagged and weighed.

Available Produce:

Red or Yellow Beets - 1 lb bags ($2 each)

Beet Greens - 1 lb bags - ($1 each)

Sugar Snap Peas 1 lb bags ($2 each)

Mixed Gourmet Lettuces 16oz bags ($2 each)

Swiss Chard 16 oz bags ($1 each)

Baby Spinach 16 oz bags ($2 each)

Rhubarb 3 lb bags ($2 each)

Cilantro and Mint on demand

Eggs Available:

1 dozen ($2)
1 eighteen count ($3)

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Companion Gardening is a method of pesticide free gardening where many plants share garden space and thus benefit each other. A common example is planting marigolds around a lettuce bed to keep the bugs away. The theory is that the strong smell of marigolds confuses the bugs looking for the lettuce. A side benefit is how beautiful and colorful you garden becomes.

Marigolds, Spinach and Peas

One of the best plants for companion gardening is Cilantro. I feel this way for three big reasons:

1. Cilantro is a very early spring plant (in my garden it is the first to poke up out of the snow).

2. Cilantro generously re-seeds itself i.e. I haven't planted cilantro for five years now, yet every spring I have more than enough.

3. Dainty white cilantro flowers attract bees, hover flies, and parasitic wasps - all good bugs.

Here is the only hitch I've had with cilantro:

The main reason I want to grow it in the garden is for home-grown salsa - but cilantro is ready in April! Obviously tomatoes, onions, and peppers are not ready in April . . . So for a while I was stumped. It really bothered me that I was buying cilantro to add to my home-grown salsa when I had an overabundance of it just three months ago. I did some classy internet research and tried freezing it last spring to use in my salsa that fall - it was perfect.

Here's how:

-Place clean, dry cilantro leaves in a food processor and blend until it's as fine as you like it

-Maneuver the little pieces into ice cube trays. This is tricky, and you better like the smell of cilantro (I love it!) but push them into the trays so that there is very little air in each "cube"

-Cover cilantro with water (it only takes a little) and freeze.

-Bag and label your Cilantro Cubes. Store until Fall and throw a few in each batch of salsa - YUM!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Peas, please!

Oh yeah! I picked 6 1/2 lbs of snap peas this afternoon; and plenty of shell peas (not shelled yet. . .). I am in heaven - this is my favorite crop. Maybe because it is one of the first, maybe because I can eat them as I pick (the beauty of not spraying!) or maybe because I can sit down to a huge bowl of snappy scrumptiousness and call it "dinner". I guess we'll have peas and a loaf of bread for dinner tonight. . .

Sugar Snap Peas
1 lb (quart) bag $2

Available Produce:

Sugar Snap Peas 1 lb bags ($2 each)

Mixed Gourmet Lettuces 16oz bags ($2 each)

Swiss Chard 12 oz bags ($2 each)

Baby Spinach 12 oz bags ($2 each)

Rhubarb 3 lb bags ($2 each)

Cilantro and Mint on demand

Eggs Available:

1 dozen ($2)
1 eighteen count ($3)