Thursday, March 29, 2012

Garden update

My friend April - she is one of the smartest people in the world.  She started a magazine all on her own. Her oldest just got a perfect score on his ACT.  And April is also the best stay at home mom I know.  She was getting ready to grind some wheat yesterday when the neighbor said to her son, "WHAT is that?" To which her youngest son replied,  

"It's like a super hero cape - but for girls."

 If that doesn't give you a whole new appreciation for motherhood, I don't know what will. 
My morning started off in the fog.  I decided to go running anyway (I attract accidents and so I get nervous about anything that would impair visibility).  There was just enough visibility to make me feel like I would survive the run.  I saw my neighbor Babette out running too.  She was on her way home and I still hadn't reached my half way point. The fog started to burn off as I reached the top of the hill near my home.  I  love it when it looks like clouds. I can honestly say I never thought I'd ever run.  EVER! But I'm really enjoying myself.

And when I returned home I decided to work on the square foot garden.  I had to cut a piece off the 10x12 row cover and make it 8x14.  I also cut some of the extra pieces of the black pipe I used for the hoops and made clips.  

I planted Correnta Spinach and Little Finger Carrots today in this little garden.  During the week I transplanted 81 Big Daddy Onions, 4 Dutch Cabbage, and 5 Chinese Cabbage (Michihili) into this garden too. 

You can see my youngest in the background here. All 12 jalapenos are sprouting. 

All 4 Summertime Lettuce are doing well.  They'll go outside soon.  I decided to try and see if the spinach would sprout better in the 3" pots rather than the small window peat starters.  3"peat pots win!

If you look closely in the middle of the peat pot on the right you can see the first of the bell pepper sprouts.  I really hope that all of them sprout.  I love bell peppers. 2 cayenne peppers are just starting to sprout as well.

These are my Baby Bok Choy starts. Once they get a few more leaves I can harden them off.  I am hoping these crazy Utah springtimes don't send them bolting to seed.  My parents lived in Korea (my Dad is a medivac pilot) for a while and we love Asian greens. 

And my Utah Celery plants are looking pretty.  I can hardly wait to see if I can get these to grow once I move them outside.  Any tips?

All of my heirloom tomatoes are growing well. I can't believe that in 6 weeks they will be going outside and into the walls of water.  A couple I go to church with has this cool idea for using bolt cutters to turn cattle panels into the best tomato cages - perfect for indeterminate heirlooms that seem to grow super tall. Cattle panels are about $25 and you can make 3 cages from 1 panel.  I will definitely be making 3 - hopefully 6. And they store flat. Extra cool. 

And as you can see, these are getting out of control.  I may just have to break a piece off and start them over from a cutting or they might be too leggy.  I've never started heirlooms from seed I collected and I was worried about how long they'd take to sprout and grow but I can't bear to just toss them out.

All the bulbs and lilies seem to be poking out of the ground.  I am most excited about the purple Alliums.  Those on the west side of the house are really looking good. 

I also planted 18 basil plants this year to mix in between the tomato plants. I hear it helps deter those pesky tomato horn worms - we'll see.  

And then later today I planted 8 Early Girl tomatoes. If the ground would dry out a little I could get my garden tilled and plant all the peas - the bird on the mountain melted oh so long ago.

Cell phone pictures - sorry!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Domestic Bliss...

I love being a stay at home mom because it gives me time to do things like this.  It gives me an opportunity to provide experiences for my family that are fun and help my children learn and grow. Domestic bliss doesn't happen often for me but it did this day (and I slept really well last night too).

 I put all the candy out on the table and the icing (I was going to make Royal Icing but I ran out of energy since I needed to finish canning the 12 pints of chicken stock I made and 10 pints of chicken breast).  So I opened 4 cans of white vanilla icing from Betty Crocker and filled a few decorating bags and we went to work. 

All of the left over candies are going in eggs in their Easter baskets.  They'll never know.
Here is a photo of the sugar cookie houses without their decorations.  I drew the pattern on the back of a cereal box and then cut it out.  Then I used a pizza cutter to cut out the dough.  I used a lid from a spice jar for the circle - cut it in half and made the front step for the house.

Jelly Beans - pretty much the only Easter candy I can eat.

Daddy helped him decorate his Easter house.

Me and all my freckles. And Christopher - I didn't retouch my photo one bit. Does my neck look weird? I always worry about lumps and bumps in my neck.

I love my daughter's rock garden.  She took inspiration from our own yard.  I don't help them with their houses.  I provide the tools, the candy, and the houses but she did all the rest on her own.  In all this fun is a way to teach them to be creative and independent a little step at a time. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Harvest Monday - March 19, 2012

On Tuesday we went to the grocery store, not the one we typically go to. And there was fresh chicken breast for sale at 1.47/lb in 40 lb cases.  We purchased two cases. 

So far I've canned 
21 quarts of chicken breast 
6 jars of chicken stock

 from the trimmings.  I also have a stock pot in the fridge just waiting to be skimmed and canned. I put 7 lbs of chicken in freezer bags and put them in the deep freeze.  And I have about a dozen pints of chicken breast I need to finish up.  I love having a pressure canner and I love canning my own chicken at a fraction of the cost.  What will we use all this chicken for over the next year - chicken salad sandwiches, chicken enchiladas, hawaiian haystacks, and I could go on and on. And the chicken stock is great for chicken noodle soup, and a million other things like making a low fat gluten free condensed creamy chicken soup (I'm allergic to wheat).

Here's our landscape plan.  I asked for plants that they'd find around homes in Park City Utah.  Uhm, they really didn't know what they were doing.  But the bones are good.  So I have been busy making changes and having fun.

Can you see the green line?  Just click on it to see it larger if you need. I am going to add a low wall by stacking flat rock.  That corner set up isn't going to work.  I'm just starting the leg work - measuring, finding how much sand I'll need.  How much the rock with cost. ETC
 I've started some Summertime Lettuce.
 My red beef steak tomato plant is doing well.
 I started some spinach in 3" pots.  It like the extra space for the roots.  NOTE TO SELF: Plant spinach in 3" peat pots if you want success.
 Because they don't seem to be doing very well in the small jump start containers.
 The baby bok choy is looking good. I think I should have started it a few weeks earlier.  Live and learn. The ice on the lake is already gone - the earliest in 5 years by weeks. I can always put it in the shade.

And here are the other heirloom tomato starts in 6" pots -
Cherokee Purple
Pink Brandywine
Red Beefsteak

The celery is looking great.

Red beef steak I need to separate the one and put it in another pot.

And the pink brandywine with it's potato like leaves. I can hardly wait to munch on these most delicious tomatoes.

It snowed 3" last night.  But it will be 67 degrees Friday. Nice! And I've taken up walking.  I go between 2 miles and 3 miles a day except not on Sunday. But today I choose the elliptical because the road is so icy.  See ya!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Gnome Management in the Garden

This is for my gardening friends.  I can't believe he kept a straight face through the entire video. It must have taken him a few cuts to get it right. This is hilarious.  Luckily I haven't been invaded yet.

(Don't even think of sneaking one in)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Harvest Monday - March 5, 2012

This is my garden on Friday - looking west. Most of the snow fell in one night.

This is my garden last week:

And here is a pretty photo of the long shadows in the winter Friday morning.

March 1st I spent the day planting seeds for peppers and heirloom tomatoes because Hot Peppers take 12-14 weeks before they can be transplanted outside.  Sweet Peppers take 10 weeks around here. And once I take all of the cold weather veggies outside and away from the sprouting station I will transplant the sweet peppers into 9" pots.

I brought the seed starting mix in from the garage in the 5 gallon bucket.  Then I added water and used my spade to add it into the pots.
 I planted 12 jalapenos, 12 bell peppers, 4 serrano peppers, and 2 cayenne peppers. 

I'm also going to try growing Baby Bok Choy this year.

And in these 6 inch pots I planted heirloom tomatoes which also take a lot longer to sprout and they are pretty slow growing.  I collected the seeds from last year.  This year I purchased seeds for Cherokee Purple which I've never grown before but I've seen that it's quite popular among gardeners.  While I absolutely adore eating Pink Brandywine tomatoes, I do love bottling tomato juice and making my own crush tomato sauce with roasted garlic (my mouth is watering).

Not quite sure why I started my romas.  huh. Early Girls will get planted the first of April.

I purchased the 3 inch peat pots in a pack of 22 for $1.50

Check out Daphne's Dandelions for more great garden ideas!