Saturday, April 3, 2010

NEW BLOG

Hi everyone !!!  This is a blog I started in 2009.  It has a lot of information about gardening on it.
But I now have a new blog site, it combines all of my blogs.
It has information about gardening, recipes, thoughts, pictures and so much more.
The new site is:   pamolsen.net
PLEASE VISIT !!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

AMMON FARMERS MARKET

Today I was invited to join the Ammon Farmers Market as they sold their goods at the Idaho Falls Harvest Festival.

What a great experience, I will not forget it. The best part was the people I met, while selling my fruits and vegetables. We talked about the short growing season and the weather, but most of all we talked about gardening. My favorite subject !!!!!

The weather was cold but sunny, the wind was low but chilly. But the people I met warmed my heart. I also found out that most people are beginning to garden again, how exciting !!!!!

I am so grateful I attended this Harvest Festival and will certainly be there again next year.

A special thanks to Shelly Yorgesen for all of her hard work with the Ammon Farmers Market. She really looks out for all of the members of that Market !!!

Below are a few pictures I took of my booth. As you can see, a lot of people attended the Festival.






Monday, August 10, 2009

ALL I KNOW ABOUT CORN


Above is a picture of what corn looks like as it comes up. This is quite a neat picture, because it shows three different stages of corn as it is coming up. The far left corn is what the corn looks like as it is just coming up. The leaves are kind of curled up in a cone shape. The middle corn is a few days older, it is beginning to open up. The far right shows corn that has the leaves opened up and starting to green up and really grow.

Believe it or not, corn is easy to grow. Follow a few simple steps and this fall eat the sweetest, freshest corn ever.

My Dad always planted the corn. He planted Golden Bantom 12 row corn for years. I still plant one row of Golden Bantom, but the corn really isn't that good to eat. They have much better corn now. I didn’t pay too much attention to how he planted the corn. Sometimes I would walk beside him as he would dig a hole in the row and I would drop in about four to five seeds. As he would cover up the corn, he would walk on the row to pack it down.

Dad would say something like this: one seed not to sprout, one seed for the mouse, one for the bird and one for the house. Anyway he figured that if we planted five seeds at least two would grow to maturity. But as I began to plant corn myself, several other things I learned from my Dad came back to me. So as I plant my corn, I always use his steps along with a few things I have found to be successful.

1. First of all I soak the corn overnight, I put the corn in a quart bottle and fill it with water. This year I used about three quarts, but you probably won’t need that much. The corn will double in size, so plan for that when choosing a container.
2. Dig a furrow 3" deep.
3. Fill the furrow with water and let it soak in.
4. Plant ‘hills of corn’ five kernels in each hole, with hills about one foot apart.
5. Then fill in the furrow.

The cool thing is, the roots of the corn will be able to go down through the soft damp soil and the corn leaves and stem will go through the dry dirt easily.
NOTE: If you do soak the rows first, DO NOT water the top of the furrow after you plant, the seeds will not need more water. If you do water the top, it will cause a crust to form on top of the row and will make it more difficult for the corn to break through.

Another thing my Dad taught me is to side dress the corn. He would fertilize two or three times during the Summer. I fertilize after the corn is about 18" tall and once a month after that. To side dress, you carefully dig a small furrow beside the row of corn. Put about two tablespoons of granual garden fertilizer next to the hill of corn and water it in.
This year I fertilized the row when I planted the corn. Which I wouldn’t do again, I don’t recommend it for two reasons. First, the corn seed has all the nutrients it needs to begin to grow on its own. Second, because the corn is so tender as it is growing, the fertilizer may be too strong and cause the corn to burn.

Now here is my Dads best kept secret. When the corn is about 12 to 18" tall twist off the suckers. Suckers are the side stems that grow out from the main stem at a 45 degree angle. The suckers rob the corn stocks of their strength, so twist them off as soon as you can. They will not grow back. After you remove the suckers, the corn will grow much faster. At the same time you are twisting the suckers, thin the hills to 2 to 3 of the strongest plants. When you are removing the suckers and thinning the corn, hill up the corn rows. Take a hoe or rake and pull dirt up around the corn. This will make the corn stronger and less likely to blow over, it also keeps the moisture in. This also kills the weeds. If the annual weeds are small, covering them with dirt kills them. So keep your weeds small and cover them to destroy them. This works for all small annual weeds in the garden.

NOTE: Don’t water your corn when the wind is blowing. It will cause the roots to become soft and the corn may blow over. Especially as it grows taller try not to water it on a windy day. Sometimes during the Summer the wind comes up during the evening, so watch the weather and water when the wind is not blowing.

Plant corn in rows about 36" apart, corn that is planted too close won’t pollinate properly. It seems if you plant it too close the wind can’t get down the rows to move the pollen. Sometimes people plant three rows then skip a row. Last year I planted 7 rows and didn’t have a problem. The corn I plant is a yellow and white sweet corn. It isn’t too tall so maybe the corn can pollinate because the corn is kind of short. This year I planted 17 rows. WOW !!! We’ll see if I have a pollination problem.

Try to plant your corn on the North side of your garden. Run the rows east and west. If not keep the corn away from crops that need sun. Sometimes you can plant peas next to the corn and the afternoon and evening shade actually helps the peas. I tried this year to plant peas among the corn. The peas did well, and seemed to enjoy the shade. I will do it again next year, but I will wait until the corn is about 10" tall before I plant the peas.

This is a cool trick I learned a few years ago and believe it or not it works !!!!! To prevent corn worms in your corn, spray a little Pam non-stick cooking spray on the silks of the cobs when they first begin to form. I guess the worms don’t like the grease, or they can’t make their way into the cob. Last year I had less than 10 worms in my corn. No kidding, this really works.

About watering corn, my Mother always said if your corn is turning yellow, it is getting too much water. She also said don’t water your corn until it shows signs of stress. Stress shows in corn by curling the leaves length-wise. Outside of the leaves to the middle, not top to bottom. They begin to become narrow and pointed. When they are pointed, that is the time to water your corn.

I use drip soaker hoses down each row. This does two things, it doesn’t water the weeds inbetween the rows and the corn gets the water directly into the hill. This hose I am talking about isn’t a regular round or flat soaker hose, it is a flat drip hose. It is made out of material, and the water just drips out of it. I can water two rows 150 feet long in about 3-5 hours.

Don’t let your corn get dry during the time it is forming the cobs. Keep watering it during this most important time. If you are going on a vacation during this time have a friend water your corn. It seems to dry out during this time because of hot temperatures, so keep your eye on your corn and the cobs !!!

Harvesting the corn. I always check the top of the corn before I pick it. I carefully peal down the top and check the kernels to see if they are ready. I sometimes push my fingernail into one of the top kernels, if it breaks the kernel easily, it is ready. If it kind of pops the corn is probably over ripe. If the corn is too white looking it isn’t ripe yet either. If it is too yellow or golden colored with a red speck on each kernel, it is over-ripe. Sometimes all of the corn will be ripe at the same time and you can pick all of it. But it has been my experience with Serendipity corn is that it ripens over a span of two to three weeks. (Serendipity corn is yellow and white, the sweetest corn I have ever tasted).

Each stock should have two ears on them. One will be a large ear and one a smaller ear. The thing is, both will ripen at about the same time. So don’t think the smaller ear isn’t ripe yet, or that it will grow as big as the large ear. It usually will be ready about five days later than the big ear.

Try to pick corn when it is cool, either early morning or evening. Eat it or can it right away, corn becomes ‘old’ quickly, so either put it in the refrigerator right away or begin to can it.

NOTE: Don’t give up on your corn if it seems smaller than your ‘neighbor’s. The best thing about thinning out your corn and getting rid of the suckers is that your corn will start to grow faster. If you have weeds, please weed your corn, it will make the corn grow much faster. As we all know, weeds rob our vegetables of much needed nutrients. Another thing about weeds is that they grow much faster than the vegetables thus making the vegetables FIGHT for everything they get !!!

It is quite late to plant corn this year. If you didn't plant any corn, get excited about it next year. There is nothing better than fresh corn on the cob with the rest of your 'home-grown meal'.
Below are pictures of my corn after a big hail storm June 28th. It looks pretty sick right now, and I hoped it would recover from the damage and continue to grow.
This is my cat Shaker walking through the corn, this corn is about 18" tall. Some of my corn was about 3' tall when this picture was taken. It is pictured below.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

IT’S PLANTING TIME !!!!!!

Yes it is time to plant your ‘Fall Garden’.

Around this time of year in Idaho and next week in Utah is the time to plant your Fall Garden.

I usually plant peas, cress, lettuce, spinach and radishes. This crop will be the sweetest and most rewarding crop in your garden. Because of the cooler temperatures, the radishes and lettuce don’t ‘go to seed’. Going to seed is when the radishes don’t form but the tops go to seed. This makes the radish very bitter and hard, not good at all.

Even when it freezes, the lettuce and radishes aren’t harmed. They seem to be sweeter because of the cool weather.

So if you have any seeds laying around from this Spring, plant today !!!!!
I planted on August 3rd and my radishes are up now and looking good. You can even plant in the same row that finished growing, like lettuce, radishes or peas.
Just dig up the row, dig the old vegetables in or put them in the compost and then plant the new vegetables.

NOTE: I recently read that in order to have radishes that aren’t hot, water them when they are young and tender. Keep them damp, and they will be much sweeter too. Most of these Fall vegetables like lots of water so watch them closely.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ALL I KNOW ABOUT TOMATOES

I love tomatoes, especially the homemade kind. Here is how I grow tomatoes the easy way.
NOTE: I usually complete one step before moving onto the next.

1. I dig a hole in the ground with a shovel, the hole should be about 8" deep and 8" wide.
2. Then I put about three Tablespoons of garden fertilizer in the hole. NOTE: It is VERY IMPORTANT to water in the fertilizer, DO NOT put the fertilizer in the hole and plant the tomato on top of it, THE TOMATO WILL BURN, TURN YELLOW AND DIE !!!!!!! Just ask me, I killed several this year.
3. Next fill the hole with water.
4. After the water has disappeared, I plant the tomato.
5. Make sure you label the tomato, by inserting the name tag in the ground next to the plant.
6. I put a gallon can over the tomato, make sure both ends are removed.
7. Then place a tomato cage over the top, place the wires in the ground outside the can.
That is all there is to it. I fertilize about once a month, there is a fertilizer just for tomatoes and I usually use it. But you can use a regular garden fertilizer too.

I learned from my friend Joan that tomatoes are self pollinators. They don’t need other plants to pollinate with, they don’t need bees to spread the pollin either. You can help them pollinate by just shaking the tomato cage a little.
After the tomatoes begin to form, you can trim the vines or branches that do not have any tomatoes on them. They are just robbing the tomatoes of energy they need. I usually take scissors to cut them. It is a very easy job, and will make your tomatoes ripen faster and grow larger. Cut almost all of the branches that don’t have tomatoes on them. Don’t trim all of them though, leave some on the top and a few on the sides or the tomatoes will sunburn. Later in the season, you can trim the top of the tomato plant too. Most of the new blossoms will not make it to maturity anyway, so trim those branches too.

You can also save the seeds from tomatoes for planting next year. Here are my recommendations.
1. Make sure the tomato isn’t a hybrid, choose an heirloom, you may need to do some research to find out if your ‘favorite’ tomato is an heirloom..
2. Make your choice before you plant, so you can space the tomato at least five feet from others not of the same kind. This way it won’t mix with other types. I plan to plant them in a different area of my garden.
3. Choose a tomato that will be good for the area. Don’t chose one won’t ripen easily here.
4. As the plants are growing, pick the plant that looks healthy and is a great producer, watch it through the season.
5. Mark that plant and watch it, do not pick too many of the tomatoes, do taste tests.
6. Pick the tomato for saving when it is a little over ripe.
7. Open the tomato and put just the seeds into water, a paper cup is great.
8. Let the tomato ferment in the same water for about 5 days.
9. Wash the seeds in a strainer and dry on a paper towel. It works best if you put a few towels on the bottom and one on the top then pat dry.
10. Continue to dry the seeds on a paper plate, turning once or twice a day.
11. When the seeds are completely dry, (1 to 2 weeks), store in a zip loc bag. Put a few small holes in the bag, a fork works great.
12. Store them in a cool, dry, dark place, I use a tin container.
13. You can test a few of your seeds to see if they will sprout. Placing them on a wet paper towel and place them in a zip lock bag. Check every few days to see if they have sprouted. It is good to test about 10 seeds, if 8 or 9 sprout, that is a great. If you only have one or two, better luck next year.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

NEW PLANTS AND NEW TECHNIQUES

Boy, I can't believe it has been over 5 weeks since I have written anything on my blogs !!!!!

No excuses, but I have been quite busy with work the last few weeks, I hope you have continued gardening without me.

I have planted my entire garden, except for my flower pots and replacing my tomatoes and peppers that I burned up and killed. I have planted 17 sixty foot rows of sweet corn, and 15 forty feet rows of sweet and Indian corn.

SO LITTLE TIME
Yesterday I started to panic. There is so much to do and so much to write about, and so little time. But I realized that I needed to do one thing at a time.

This year I am trying lots of new vegetables. I may only do this one year because some of these may not be successful. I feel that I need to find out what crops do well in this area and from now on, try to plant only things that do well here in Eastern Idaho.

A few weeks ago I promised to tell you the 30 new items I was going to try and 20 new techniques. So here they are:
1. Romanesco Broccoli
2. Red Hmong Cucumber
3. 6" Radiand Green Radish (red on the inside)
4. 2"-4" white radish (red on the inside)
5. Bitter Gourd
6. Red Bean Horto Semi Bush
7. Yard Long Bean
8. Asparagus Bean
9. Garden Bean Royal Bugundy (Purple in color)
10. Lincoln Pea (Heirloom, I will save this seed)
11. Italian Tree Tomato (Will grow up to 25' tall)
12. Red Sweet Corn (Red sweet corn to eat)
13. Blue Indian Corn (Hopi Blue Flour Corn also a sweet corn)
14. Black Indian Corn (Black Aztec Sweet Corn)
15. Blue (small Indian Corn)
16. Peaches and Cream (Sweet corn)
17. Carnival Carrot (Red, purple, yellow, orange and white)
18. Lemon Cucumber (round yellow cucumber)
19. Mini Bell Mix Pepper ( mini purple, red, yellow peppers)
20. Regular Bell Mix Pepper (purple, red, yellow peppers)
21. Pepper Habinero ( very hot pepper)
22. Yellow watermelon (Yellow on the outside, red on the inside)
23. 7" rose red radish (salad giant)
24. Small Circular carrots (look like round radishes)
25. Stallions white cucumber
26. Radicchio leaf chicory
27. Russian Red carrots
28. Bright lights swiss chard
29. Cow peas
30. Peanuts

NEW PLANTING TECHNIQUES OR EXPERIMENTS
Here is a list of some of the techniques I am trying this year. I will go into more detail later as these techniques unfold.

1. Saving pea seed, (Green Arrow & Lincoln, I will grow these on a trellis, that way they will dry faster and better.).
2. Saving bean seed, (Blue Lake Pole Bean & Blue Lake I saved from seed last year)
3. Trellis planting (cucumbers, cantalope)
4. Trellis planting (peas and beans)
5. Tree tomatoes on a overhead trellis (this tree tomato should grow 15 to 25 feet tall).
6. Sack planting ( I plan to plant some peppers in a quart ziplock bag, I will dig a hole for the bag and put a can over the pepper as usual. Then in the fall, I can move them into the green house, for a longer season.
7. Saving radish seed
8. Saving carrot seed
9. Saving beet seed
10. Saving onion seed
11. Greenhouse early winter crop
12. Greenhouse early spring crop
13. saving tomato seed
14. Planting beans with corn
15. Planting sweet Indian corn to eat
16. Planting beans and peas with corn
17.Upside down tomatoes and peppers (both comercial method and homemade in a 5 gallon bucket)
18. Planting delicata plants from the nursery, my starts and soaked seeds. To test which will do better.
19. Growing a giant pumpkin, by trimming all extra vines and pumpkins. I have planted about twenty plants and will choose about 5 plants to experiment with.
20. Planting annual flowers to transplant into planter pots.

Monday, June 15, 2009

TEACHING CHILDREN GARDENING

A child is never too young to take out in the garden. They can help you plant and weed and they can even have their own garden space in your garden or in another part of the yard. If they want to try growing something new, let them !!! They may even be able to teach you something you haven't thought about.

It is best to work as a family when planning, planting, weeding and harvesting the garden. Work together, and make sure you make it fun for your family. Learn from each other and enjoy the time you spend together in the garden.
My parents always encouraged us to help in the garden, I’m sure it would have been easier if they just did it themselves. I’m sure greatful that they spent the extra time to teach me what they did.

I can remember my nephew helping me plant potatoes when he was only about 2 1/2 years old. He would crawl down the rows and put the potato sets in the hole I made with a shovel. I doubt he remembers that day, but I sure do. Thanks Chris !!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

ALL I KNOW ABOUT PEAS

I love peas, they are about my favorite vegetable. I plant lots of peas, most for eating right out of the garden, and some to freeze. Little Marvel Peas and Green Arrow Peas are some of my favorites. I plant them in a wide row. About 12" to 18" wide, this year I am trying a new method. I planted two 12" rows on each side of a ‘net wire’ fence. I’ll keep you posted on how this works.

Peas can be hard to come up through a hard crust. So here is a solution, my Mother told me about ten years ago. At that time I told her I couldn’t get my peas to come up, some years they were fine and some years they wouldn’t come up. So this is what she said. Dig a furrow for the peas, (I dig one anywhere from 4" to 18" wide), then flood the row with water. After the water sinks, plant a generous amount of peas. (We used to say ‘plant them thick’). Then cover the peas with 1" to 2" of dirt that is on one side of the row. (Here comes the biggest hint !!) Do not water or sprinkle peas after you have planted them. No matter what !!!! As my Mother told me "Do not water them, you’ll want to. But don’t water them and they will come up on their own." Even if you check them a week or ten days later and they seem to be lying in dry dirt - they have soaked up enough moisture from the water in the furrow for them to sprout. Give them a few more days and they will begin to come up — honest.

You can also soak them first, but I never have soaked my peas. Peas can rot easily if they have too much moisture. If you soak them first, then water the furrow, then it rains you will have a good chance to have rotting peas. I recommend watering the row first and waiting.

Do not water your peas during the heat of the day, or late evening. If you water peas during a hot day, the will scald and die. They are very sensitive to water when they are hot. If you water them during the evening they will have a greater chance of having fungus or mold problems. I water my peas during the morning, that way they are cool and will have all day for the leaves to dry off.

Did you know that peas have nodules full of nitrogen on their roots? The plant produces nodules on the roots and much of their energy is used to build these nodules. So they have their own built in fertilizer. When the pods are filling, the plant reduces the building and filling of nodules and spends its energy filling pods. Because the peas have built in nitrogen doesn’t mean they do not need fertilizer, they can become low in nitrogen. If the colors of your peas are yellow that may mean, they need a fertilizer supplement.

You can plant them thick and replant a second crop in the same place. But watch for nitrogen diffencency. I have replanted a second crop in the same place around July 24th or August 1st for a few years now, and have had good results.

PLANTS ARE PEOPLE TOO !!

A few weeks ago I stopped to visit with Della at the Willard Bay Gardens in Willard Bay, Utah. I always enjoy talking to her. She is so full of information, and so willing to share her expertise. I asked her questions about trellising, compost, soil for planter pots and several other things.

She told me about a great organic product called coconut fiber. It is ground up coconut shells. It is used to mix with your potting soil to soak up the moisture in your garden or flower pots. She recommended I mix it 50/50 with the potting soil I will use in my pots this year. It makes the soil so light and fluffy. I love the idea of having something in my pots that will soak up and keep the moisture more constant.

She told me about Hen and Chickens and how they grow. I wanted to transplant some of the small chicks that were around the outside of the plant into different areas of my garden. She said that was not such a good idea. She told me the center plant is the Hen and she has several chicks around her. As they get older, the Hen will grow a stem and a blossom and then after a few weeks the Hen dies. This allows more room for other Chicks to grow and fill in the large area where the Hen once lived. So they really aren’t meant to be divided, but grow in one area.

As we visited, we realized that each plant has its own story. We just need to learn what that story is. As we learn more about gardening, we will learn more about the plants we grow and how to learn to be more successful with each plant. We will try new techniques that may or may not work. The trick is to find out what works, what doesn’t and learn all we can about the plant’s story.

It is always a good idea to keep a garden journal to write down ideas, techniques and dates. So try to remember what works and what doesn’t to improve your garden’s story book.

Once again, thanks Della for the visit and the advise !!! Barney and Della Barnett are located at Willard Bay Gardens, 7095 S. Hwy. 89, Willard Bay, Utah. www.willardbaygardens.com

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sharing is Contagious

Share your glorious garden with others.

My Parents were always sharing their produce and flowers with others. My Mother used to take a bouquet of flowers to church almost every Sunday. She worked hard on the bouquet to make sure it looked great. I know people appreciated her hard work and talent.

Sharing is contagious, if you give someone something from your garden, they will be more likely to share with someone or do something nice for someone else. Isn't that the way it should be? Besides, doing for others makes you feel good.

So share your garden with someone - anyone.