In the article Growing Sugar Snap Peas in a Container, I commented on the variety I selected being cold tolerant down to 28 degrees. I inadvertently tested that claim. I have the peas growing in 12" x 18" grow-boxes on the patio. I cover them with gardening fabric at night. Well, I took off for the evening without covering the peas. A fast moving snow storm rolled in and dumped three inches of snow on the ground - including my patio. The peas sat in the dark under that cold blanket of snow for four hours before I got home. I looked at the snow covered peas and was sure it was colder than 28 degrees and that I had killed them. I quickly brushed the snow off the peas and covered them for the night - hoping for the best and fearing the worst. Well, the new day dawned bright but cold. After a few hours the patio had warmed up to 38 degrees. So, I took the cover off the peas to find them tall, perky and no worse for having been smothered in snow. It's wonderful to grow a vegetable plant tough enough to survive my neglect.
(Note: Robyn W works at McCoard's Garden Center in Provo, Utah)
It's not too early to get started with the 2012 gardening year. Take a walk around your yard and check to see if there is any winter kill or breakage that needs to be pruned out. Broken branches are easy to spot now without leaf growth. You can also prune out any branches that are growing into each other or into the center of the tree or shrub.
You can prune flowering shrubs now but be careful to know when they flower. Spring flowering shrubs should be pruned AFTER they bloom. If you prune them now, you are pruning off the flowering buds. This won't hurt the health of the plant however.
Shrubs that bloom in the summer of fall can be pruned now without sacrificing bloom. Prune for shape and to renew the growth of the shrub.
Now, while shrubs, trees, and perennials are still dormant, is the ideal time to transplant. If you must move a plant, dig up as much of the rootball as you can and carefully move to it's new planting hole. The plant must be completely watered in in its new location. Waiting to move the plant while it is in its active growth cycle will greatly increase the likelihood of plant distress.
Perennials that have become overgrown can be safely dug and divided now. Make sure you water them in when they are replanted.
If any of your plants have heaved (been lifted out of the ground by repeated freezing and thawing) now is the time to carefully push them back down and tuck them in with extra soil.
This is a very good time to rake away the dry leaves and dead foliage and twigs that cover your perennials. I leave most of this on my beds in the winter to protect the crowns of the plants from cold but now that the weather is warming, it is time to remove this cover both to clean up the beds and to get rid of potential hiding places for pests.
Go ahead and plant your peas now. You can also plant hostas, daylilies and bleeding heart now.
Have a fabulous 2012 gardening year!
Have you event wanted to raise bees? Honey is an important part of food storage for many families and it would be nice to have an unending supply. For some, honey production is also a successful small business venture.
But is it a realistic possibility, particularly for people living in town?
I’ve recently become acquainted with Scott Brimhall, a Orem resident who has spent the past 12 years raising bees as a hobby. He says it can be a rewarding venture but it does have a steep learning curve, requires quite a bit of labor to get started and also requires a substantial up-front investment.
“I started about 12 years ago as a hobby. I was looking for something I could do for my family. What could I do or give all of my family members as a Christmas present that they wouldn't think was junk or dorky?”
The project mushroomed from there. “For good and bad,” Scott said. It has been time-intensive and expensive but also fun. He is sticking with it, keeping hives going year after year. He gives almost all of the honey away as gifts, just keeping what his own family will use.
He keeps two hives going. Within the city of Orem, two hives is the maximum number that can be kept by residential beekeepers. Scott said you can start with just one hive but having two greatly increases your chance of success. If you have just one hive and the queen dies, you could lose your entire project. If you have two queens you can probably keep it going.
“On a good year I bring in about 60 pounds of honey per hive,” Scott said. (The industry average is about 50 pounds per hive. “That lets me give honey to a lot of people.”
Scott said he is mostly self-taught. “I checked out a book from the library and jumped in. I’ve learned a lot from trial and error.”
But Scott recommends people interested in beekeeping get more training than he had. There are several good resources in this area. He recommends people join the Utah Beekeepers Association and take advantage of the educational resources it offers.
He has purchased bees from several companies, with various results. He recommends Knights Family Honey in Lehi, “They are good people and can be very helpful.”
People keeping bees in Utah also need to register with the Utah Department of Agriculture. That department is charged with keeping bees healthy and monitoring the presence of Africanized bees in the state. The department also offers educational resources for beekeepers.
The time commitment varies from week to week throughout the season. In the spring you may spend a two hours ever couple of days getting set up and making sure the bees are ok and getting established. During summer you mostly just monitor the bees to make sure everything is ok. During fall you need to invest a hefty amount of time to harvest the honey and get make sure the bees are set for winter.
Right now, a package of bees with a queen will cost about $85. The hives are more expensive. Depending on your setup, you could spend about $400 on the boxes, foundation and other equipment.
So, about $500 per hive for the initial investment. That doesn’t count protective clothing. Scott said the bees are usually relatively mild during spring and summer but they become aggressive during fall when they want to protect the honey. You definitely need protective clothing.
“You can go cheep, buy just a hat and veil, go out in your sweatshirt, and do ok, You might get stunt a couple of times. I sure like my full bee suite.”
So, the investment can be quite high the first year. But, if things go well you can reap the benefit for many years into the future. Raising bees can be fun and rewarding.
Our 2011 raw honey is still avaliable. We have local beehives located in Bulffdale, the honey is straight from the hive, no processing, fresh, raw and yummy.
We have several sizes:
Small honey bear- $3
Large honey bear- $7.50
3 1/2 lb jug- $13
Small 29 oz jar- $8
Large 60 oz jar- $15
Come and pick up a jar- makes a great Christmas gift! 801-254-6398
(Dave Webb posted this for an acquaintance)
My family and I recently experienced an extended power outage due to a windstorm with gusts over 100 mph. We were well prepared and endured the outage comfortably. Still, I learned a few things I can do to improve my emergency preparedness.
We are well stocked with flashlights and I have a outdoor propane lantern that cranks out the light. Of course I couldn't use the propane lantern in the house and the flashlights aren't group friendly. What I wanted but didn't have is an indoor lantern bright enough to light a large area for meals or playing boardgames.
We have a propane grill in the backyard. I cooked our meals on the gas grill. It worked - but it was an uncomfortable challenge to cook on a gas grill in high winds. Again, I found myself wanting a portable stove that is safe for indoor use.
Here are two products I'm leaning toward purchasing:
GASONE Portable Gas Stove. It's currently listed on Amazon.com for $21.75. It burns butane and is described as safe for indoor use. The price is right for my budget and it has received a significant number of favorable reviews.
Rayovac SE3DLN Sportsman Xtreme 300-Lumen LED Lantern. It's currently listed on Amazon.com for $18.99. Again, priced right for the budget and a significant number of favorable reviews.
Many cities allow residents to have chickens in their backyards. It is pretty easy to care for them during the warm months, but what do you do with them during winter?
There are so many chickens in Utah cities, KSL TV did this report to help people learn to take care of them during the cold months. Below are exceprts.
Chickens can actually suffer frostbite — particularly those breeds with large single combs on their heads like leghorns or barred rocks. These breeds are popular with commercial growers because of their excellent egg production.
Breeds with rose combs like wyandottes, or pea combs like ameraucanas or brahmas are less likely to experience frostbite. Some sources say that coating combs with petroleum jelly during cold weather can help protect against frostbite.
The most important consideration in keeping chickens warm and healthy in cold weather is adequate shelter. The shelter need not be heated or insulated, but it should be dry and have adequate circulation. An airtight shelter can become too humid, which can lead to frostbite. Dry bedding like straw, hay or wood shavings can help insulate chickens from the cold, but it must be replaced regularly with clean bedding.
Chickens that forage for much of their food during warmer months need additional supplemental food during the winter.
Read the complete KSL report.