Friday, June 27, 2014

Garden Update

This is partly a follow up to a previous post investigating different ways to grow vertically.  Much of my efforts this year so far have been successful.  I am still struggling with the best way to support tomatoes.

We are actively harvesting vegetables.   The onions were grown from grocery store scraps.  We just put the end of an onion in the ground and it took off. 

My pole bean plants are actually taking to the poles.  

They are naturally wrapping around the poles that I put near them.  I helped start the process by tying the base of the plants to the poles.  They did all of the coiling, though.

I found that bird netting works really well as a growing lattice for peas.

Peas grow well in containers.  Last year, I grew the pea plants too far away from each other and only harvested a few pods.  The nitrogen-fixing abilities of these plants can help build soils.

My other pea plants are suffering from some kind of leaf parasite or a fungus.

My Armenian cucumbers are flowering.  However, they have yet to get big enough to trellis on the fence.

We bought basil from the farmer's market.

It seems to be doing ok, but I am having issue with earwigs.

Purple basil

My tomato plants are already huge.

More tomatoes

The plants in the container are doing very well. The borage (purple flowers) is growing from last year's crop.

Broccoli is doing well. It is a little late.

I built a leaning trellis for my squash, as mentioned in a previous post.

The squash plants are starting to get huge.  I don't think I have enough trellis for all of this squash.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Roots and Greens and Farmer's Market Fun!

Today was the start of the Saturday downtown Salt Lake City Farmer's Market. There were lots of people and vendors there. This was the first time that Brooke and baby Fox got to experience the market. They both had a great time. We came away with golden beets, red beets, fresh pasta, two sweet basil plants, and a Thai purple basil plant. We can't wait to go back when the summer veggie season really starts to take off!
Baby Fox

We did some garden maintenance today as well. We harvested some of our radishes, lettuce, kale, beets, chives, savory, and parsley. Paul planted the basil plants from the market and Brooke thinned out the strawberry popcorn. 
Today's Harvest

We had a beet and a radish that grew together. What a cute little pair of hugging veggies. I wonder if the beet will taste raddishy or if the raddish will taste beety.
Veggie Hugs

Sunday, June 1, 2014

CSA and Farmers Markets

After I began writing a gigantic blog post on local and seasonal food, I decided to chop it up into a series of semi-informative smaller posts.  Seeing as how June has just begun, I am already behind schedule for talking about local farmers markets and the lesser-known CSA.


CSA stands for community supported agriculture, which is a way for local farmers to sell food directly to consumers.  To get food from a CSA, you buy "shares" of the farmer's harvest, and those shares are delivered or made available to you as baskets full of food every one to two weeks during the harvest months. The harvest months include all months where vegetables can be harvested, which are usually May to October.

Usually, you will have an opportunity to buy shares in a CSA farm (is community supported agriculture farm redundant?) before the growing season starts, and some farmers give you incentive to sign up early.

For those who live in Salt Lake City the CSA Utah website has an excellent list of local CSA farms. The Herald Journal of Logan had a cool article of Logan CSAs.   I want to be inclusive to my friends in Indiana who read my blog, so I should mention that the Consumers website has a list of CSA farms in Indiana. The Local Harvest Website also has a neat map showing locations of local farms for the entire country.

After doing some quick back-of-the-envelope calculations, I decided that most CSA deals are a little to a lot more expensive than buying vegetables from the grocery.  However, you will know where these vegetable came from, and you will be supporting your community.  Also, obligating yourself to get vegetables every week means that you will be motivated to eat more vegetables every week. By participating in a CSA, you are eliminating hidden costs to your health and the environment (most CSA farms use sustainable farming practices) that could bite you later in life.  Some CSAs have excellent deals where you can volunteer your time to get a huge discount on their services. I am sure a savvy individual who did a little research could make participation in a  CSA much more healthy and cost efficient that regular trips to the grocery produce isle.

While speaking on CSA farms, I would like to give a shout out to a CSA in my neighborhood of Salt Lake City (Glendale), B.U.G. Farms.  This CSA uses back yards in my neighborhood to grow their crop.  The yards are provided by homeowners in exchange for some level of participation in the CSA. Pretty cool.

Farmers Markets!

Farmers markets are excellent places to meet local growers and sellers and fun family thing to do on a Saturday (even if you don't buy anything).  While the city did have an excellent Winter Market, I am getting especially excited about visiting the summer market. The Salt Lake City Summer Market opens June 14! Another excellent marker, the Wheeler Farm Market, opened today! 

 The Cache Valley Gardners market has been open since May 10, and has some great vendors.  It is definitely one of the great things about Logan, Utah.

The Evansville Farmers Market started May 16.  Unfortunately, I have never had a chance to visit this market, and would be interested to hear from my Evansville peeps if it is any good.