Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Look what I found out enjoying my front yard......a wild turkey with two chicks. This is my favorite time of summer.  In the afternoon we have clouds roll in and occasionally enjoy a rain shower, lightening, and thunder.  Thankfully no wildfires yet.  Hope you are enjoying the beauty and blessings of summer.

Can't wait for these to ripen.

The white powder is Kaolin Clay sold as Surround.  It's a pest deterrent.  Great for organic growers and most crops.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Organic Lawn Care

Probably the most commercialized aspect of gardening is lawn care.  I believe its based more on profits than plant biology. Look at the number of commercials and amount of advertising devote to having a green lawn. Maintaining a lawn organically is easier and less expensive.  An organic lawn also allows you to use your clippings in your compost pile and as a mulch around fruit trees. It is perfectly safe at all times for kids, grandkids, pets, and yourself to play on, lay on, and enjoy.

Here's my routine:

Early Spring (when forsythia blooms)  apply an organic fertilizer which usually is composed of various meals with bone meal the most abundant.  Look for one that has corn gluten which is a pre-emergent weed control.  (Prevents weeds from sprouting)  I use Gardens Alive Wow Supreme.

If you lawn has an extreme weed problem apply again one month later.

To get rid of existing weeds use any organic herbicide that has d-limenol and/or clove.  These are essential oils.  The d-limenol is a citrus oil.  They burn what ever plant it is sprayed on including morning glory so only spot spray your dandelions and weeds.  Spray any weed that pops up.  Be diligent in early spring.  By summer very few weeds appear, and you are just enjoying your lawn.

Early fall, September, I fertilize again with a dry organic lawn fertilizer.  I use WOW supreme but you can use one without a pre-emergent weed control.

 You can reseed bare areas and add compost if needed.  I only aerate when needed which hasn't been very often.

 Keep the lawn mowed regularly.

 Watering depends on your soil type and the type of lawn you have.  There are also conditions created by your house and the sun that may effect how often and long you water.  I have west facing second story windows that reflect sunlight and almost burn the grass. The type of sprinklers and their output will also effect watering. I have Kentucky Bluegrass and a sandy loam soil.  In spring I water as needed.  In summer the sprinklers come on everyday for 15 minutes. You can always cut back the water and if you lawn complains increase the time.

Be sure to choose the right type of lawn for your purposes and concerns.  We have a green zone all around our house because we have frequent wildfires and this acts as a buffer zone.  Different varieties feel different, grow different, have different water requirements, different hardiness and green up at different times and rates.  So do some research so you are happy with your choice.

Confession! I never do anything but spot spray weeds.  The lawn has been the pride and joy my two youngest sons,Blake and Tyler, that have faithful cared for it for 8 years.  Since both are serving missions my husband has taken over the job and so far I don't think my sons would be disappointed.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Flower Beds

I like my gardens to be beautiful so I interplant them with flowers.  The flowers are great for attracting beneficial insects which need nectar when they are adults and feed on pests when they are larvae.  I also have lots of flowers beds with shrubs, perennials, bulbs, and annuals.  My goal this year was to have time to keep my flowers deadheaded.  I'm a little behind on this but will get to it next week.  Lots of my perennials are in need of being divided and will be looking for loving homes next spring where their beautiful will be admired and enjoyed.  I've posted come pictures of some of my flower beds.  Hope you enjoy them.

Warm Color Bed

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Part of tiered landscape

When I prepare a flower bed I do it just like a garden bed-  add compost and a dry organic fertilizer.  In early spring I add my dry organic fertilizer mix and compost on the tops after cleaning out the beds.  I don't do much else expect try to give fish emulsion to new annuals and perennials.

Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees are frequent visitors.

Double Enchinacae

Blanket Flower

Salvia a favorite of bees

Day Lily

Love this variety of snapdragons.  They are 2 feet tall.

Campunula, Larkspur, and Shasta Daisey

Campanula a great  perennial that grows in mounds and is about 18 inches high and blooms mid summer


Catananche a favorite perennial.  The flowers close in the evening.  It is self sowing.

The Garden in July

So my husband and I spent the last two days weeding....the corn and pumpkin field. Nothing feels better than a freshly weeded garden.  If only it would last......We also squashed squash bugs (gives me the chills every time), sprayed for squash bugs with neem and pyrethrin and fertilized with fish emulsion.  Monday I'll be doing the same in the garden then move to the flower beds and then the orchard and the start all over again.

The corn field with the Kolobs in the background.  I love where I live.


The raised bed garden

Orange Fantasia Chard.  I use this  sauteed in herbs and added to pasta dishes.  My goats and chickens also like chard.

Pink Lipstick Chard

Chard and Kale


Green Beans  My favorite variety is Slenderette.

Pickling cucumbers, Armenian cucumbers and Summer Dance Cucumbers

Tristar and Ozark Strawberries

Kamut an ancient wheat.  I'm exploring growing grains.



Wild sunflower.  Absolutely beautiful!

Mullein.  The weed I do allow to grow because its has so many medicinal purposes. 


Love my ducks!  They are preening after a swim.  Thye love squash bugs.  When I can't stand squishing them and put them in a bucket and throw them in the duck pen.  They chase them down and eat them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Berry Patch

 Berries are a great low maintenance and nutritious way to increase home production.  They are absolutely one of my favorite crops.  I have a variety of berries and continue to add new ones each year.  Some are in my landscape and some in the garden.  There is so much you can do with berries.  The absolutely most rewarding thing about berries is fresh eating. They are the one crop my children, grandchildren, and extended family love to help harvest.  I've noticed since I don't have kids home, volunteering to pick berries, I end up with a more abundant crop.  In addition to fresh eating they are easily frozen, canned, turned into juice, jelly, and pie fillings.  Berries provide an essential source of antioxidants and vitamins and also the leaves, flowers, and berries have medicinal purposes.  They are a must for the serious gardener or homesteader. I will be doing a separate post on care and harvesting of each type but I wanted to introduce you to the variety and beauty of available berries for home production.

 My garden include three varieties of raspberries with three maturity dates so I have berries all season.  I have Kilarney, Taylor, and Caroline.

 Jostaberries are a cross between a gooseberry and a currant. They are a large, beautiful bushes.  The berries are tart like a sour grape and ripen to deep purple.  They make great desserts and jellies

Pink Champagne Currants

I have 3 types of currants: black, red, and white.  The white or pink champagne can be eaten off the bush.  All three can be used for juice, jelly, and medical purposes.

Pink Champagne Gooseberries

I think blackberries are my favorite.  I grow the semi erect varieties.  Beautiful plants and so delicious!


The large bush with white flowers is an elderberry bush

Elderberry bush in flower.  A very productive plant.  Birds love these.

Gooseberries.  This variety ripens to a deep rose color.  Deer resistant because of all the spines.

Elderberry flowers

Nanking cherries, not a berry but a great landscape plant and very productive and used like a berry.