Welcome To Our 2012 Garden

10 February 2012 (Friday)
I ordered 28 yards of sand today. We will be using it to ammend the sticky clay
 soil of our garden.  David and Miriam are going to begin tilling their garden
tomorrow so I wanted to have the sand here. Because of rain, the back road into
our property was too soft for the big dump truck.  He made huge grooves in the
road and I had to shovel and rake it smooth again. 


4 March 2012
We kept the rabbits in the yard in this pen all winter and never had to buy food
for them. We moved their pen every couple of days.  They ate grass mostly. 
We did give them old apples and some oatmeal sometimes.



Our winter squash has kept nicely until now.  A few of them have molded.  



10 March 2012 (Saturday)
I drove to Mountain Home and bought another Harbor Freight greenhouse for
$100 from a guy who was being deployed to Saudi Arabia next Wednesday. 
He said he'd be gone for 6 months to a year and his wife wanted the greenhouse
gone.  We disconnected it at the corners and I brought it home in panels.  


9 May 2012 (Wednesday)
We transplanted the raspberry starts that are coming up around the parent
plants to fill out the rows where they died last year after first planting them
in the hot August sun.

We also planted most of the canna lilly bulbs I bought from a lady about a
3 weeks ago.  We bought 6 bags of 25 roots each for $30.  And we planted
Grandma Browers yellow "Dayley Iris" out there with the canna lillies.  She
hasn't been able to get them to bloom in her yard the last couple of years so
I'm going to get them to bloom again and then we'll take some back to her
yard.  I also planted some canna lillies in their yard where the iris
came from.

On the first of May our beehives swarmed a couple of times. We gathered them both
back in from the back yard neighbors apple trees.


11 May
 2012 (Friday)
The temperature at the airport at 6:30am this morning was 36 degrees. 
At that time we had a medium frost on the ground and all of the rooftops
are white with frost.  We also had frost 3 days in a row earlier this week. 
Sunday was a medium frost.  Monday was a heavy frost.  Tuesday was a
light frost.  Our grapes are beginning to leaf out and they were nipped

We picked a huge bag of rhubarb Tuesday for Jenny to take to bottle
with Heidi in Twin Falls.  Jenny was on her way back from the Ranch. 
The rhubarb has been ready to pick for at least a week. 

I tilled about a 1/3 of the garden yesterday just to get ready to move
the sand out into the garden.  So I am just tilling to level out the hilled
rows and knock down the weeds.  We will perform the major tilling
after the sand has been spread.

Our chicken laid its first egg on Wednesday and its second egg
yesterday.  We are not yet feeding it commercial feed.  I have been
giving it a little wheat every day and throwing earthworms to it
throughout the day that I get in the yard.

12 May 2012 (Saturday)
Light frost again this morning.  There was a layer of white frost on the
lawn and a pretty heavy frost on the rooftops. It is 8:00am now.  The
airport weather station says it is 49 degrees.  I can still see frost on
the roof tops across the street.  Our elevation (about 2750 feet) is just
barely above that of the airport here at Five Mile and Amity.

28 May 2012 (Monday - Memorial Day)
Planted most of our garden plants.

30 May 2012
Planted 2 rows of early corn and two rows of late corn

9 June 2012 (Saturday)
Planted 1 row of Russett Potatoes

23 June 2012 (Saturday)
We purchased 6 Rhode Island Red chickens for $4 each from a man
in Caldwell that raises chickens.  There are 5 hens and a rooster. 
He had raised these for his kids from baby chick size. His kids don't
want them now so he's selling them. They are a still a month or two 
from laying eggs.

4 July 2012 (Wednesday)
Weeded east half of the garden and the purple bell pepper row.  I drove
over to ourfriends home in Brownstone (5 Mile and Lake Hazel).  They
have an amazing garden. I also stopped at our friends place at Amity
and 5 Mile to see their garden.

5 July 2012 (Thursday)
Weeded the corn and the rest of the west half of our garden.  Also
weeded the east raspberry patch and tilled between the rows.  Today
was our first picking of raspberries from this patch. There have been
a couple of ripe ones for the last few days but there are enough to pick today.

16 July 2012 (Monday)  Planted last 5 rows of the garden.  Onion sets,
various bell peppers, celery, and some tomatoes. On the 17th I weeded the
corn the second time and hilled up dirt around the base of the corn over the
soaker hose.

6 August 2012 (Monday) Today was our first big picking of blackberries. 
We picked 20 pounds and put 15 quart ziploc bags of blackberries in the
freezer.  Until now we've eaten and shared all of our pickings.  We gave
4 pounds of blackberries to Peggy's parents during their siblings reunion
last week.  We gave 1 1/2 pounds to her Uncle Tom earlier last week. 
We took 8 pounds to Las Vegas with us last thursday to share with all of
the family coming to see our new grandson Ian, and we've eaten probably
4 or 5 pounds ourselves until now - a total of close to 40 pounds.  There
are still at least that many out there ripening still.



10 August 2012
Our 5 Rhode Island Red chickens started laying eggs.  Yesterday they layed 2
brown eggs and today they layed 3.  They are very small eggs but have solid
healthy shells.

15 August 2012
We have given a lot of blackberries away and members of our family have come
over and picked 20 - 30 pounds for their families.  Today I picked another 22
pounds for our freezer.  We now have over 40 pounds of blackberries in the
freezer.  I'm excited to start doing the same with our raspberries next year.


18 August 2012
We harvested the honey from our 2 main beehives.  We have 3 bee colonies
but the
third is a very small one and we don't have honey frames on that box.
We have 8 frame bee boxes with 8 5/8" deep honey frames.  We havested 30 pounds
of honey from each hive.  We did this in our yard using the Fackrells 2-frame
spinner.  I had helped them remove honey frames from one of their hives earlier in the
week so we spun all of their frames too. They use 6 5/8" shallow honey frames.  We
got 15 pounds of honey from their frames. We had a problem keeping the bees out of
our work.  We should do this work in the garage next time.  The temperature is now
in the mid to upper 90s during the day and perfect for spinning honey. 60 pounds of
honey filled 12 of the plastic "3 lb cottage cheese" containers.  We will filter out the
pollen, wax, and bee parts later.  The 2-frame spinner has a small resevoir for honey
so we had to drain it constantly or the frames would drag in the honey. You can see
from the picture below that there is less than 1/4" of wax, etc floating to the top.


20 August 2012
A neighbor gave us 6 Black Sexlink Chickens that are a couple of years old and not
laying eggs as regularly as he wishes.  They lay extra large brown eggs.

22 Augst 2012
Today I picked all of the pears.  There are 2 huge boxes that way near 80 pounds ea.
We have taken 2 or 3 boxes of them to the church share table and a neighbor came
and picked some to process into pear butter.  They were falling off of the tree at an
extreme rate this week so I picked them.  I think you normally prune the trees in the
spring.  I pruned my pear trees today.  They were looking pretty unsitely.

We put an ad on Craigslist for free plums yesterday.  Lots of people came and picked.
We love sharing the things we can't use ourselves.  It has been fun meeting new people.
A Bosnian family came to pick plums and said they hadn't seen potatoes growing before
so we dug one of our plants to show them the potatoes.  There are only a handful of
plums left on the tree and some of those are so ripe that they are mushy.  We need to
prune the tree smaller and thin the fruit next year to get a larger plum.

One of the people that came last year for pickling cucumbers came over today to see
what we had for cucumbers.  I didn't grow the same kind this year as last.  He said he
hasn't been able to find a cucumber that makes pickles and shrinks less than those he
got from us last year.  We got out the map from last years garden and could see that
we planted McPick and Sumter.  I know Charlene Fackrell brought me the McPicks
but I'm not sure about the Sumters.  And I don't know which he preferred.  He said they
were uniform in size and not pointed.  And he said that he has made pickles before
and after but had much less shrink in the jar with our cucumbers.  I liked the McPick.
I would guess that it was that variety that he liked.  They were good for both pickling
and they would also grow out nicely for eating whereas some pickling varieties of
cucumbers only grow to a certain shorter length and then get fat.



27 August 2012
We put 8 more pounds of blackberries in the freezer today.  It got dark before we
were finished picking or there would have been more.  Peggy said she also ate
that much while she was picking.  We are now at 50 pounds in the freezer. We pkgd
all of it in 20-24oz freezer bags.

The plums are gone.  I picked about 25 pounds of tomatoes 3 days ago. Until now
we have just been picking a couple to eat. we should have 250 pounds of tomatoes
but most plants didn't set fruit very good because of the heat and we planted later than
normal so they didn't get a chance to set fruit before the heavy constant heat came. 
Peggy and I went to the county fair on the 24th.  It was the only day last week when it
wasn't real smokey because of forest fires and the temperature was only 80 all day
instead of 95.  It is 95 degrees again this week.

You can see from the pictures below the difference between the yellow straightneck
squash and yellow genovese zucchini.  We don't have any green zucchini this year.



28 August 2012
I spoke with Robert who operates the main garden area of the large garden at the corner
of Maple Grove and Ustick in Boise. He sells the corn from 4-6pm Mon-Sat.  He also sells
the raspberries. He has Heritage raspberries that are producing right now.  I wanted to know
from him what variety he had that are producing so late in the season.  He said that he has
let the Heritage plants produce both in the spring and fall but the spring harvest is so
minimal that he will be mowing them off in the fall in the future to make a more vigorous
fall crop.  Then he has a yellow rapsberry that is producing now.  I have seen others who
have yellow raspberries procing now in the valley too.  He plants both Bodacious and
Ambrosia corn.  They are both great but he likes the Ambrosia for freezing.  He says it is
more moist.

Robert showed me how his sand filter works on his irrigation pump.  He opened the
backwash valve which flushed the filter clean just by running the water out backwards. He
says that they get the 12,000 foot drip line Toro Aqua Traxx from an irrigation company
in Ontario, OR.  I am very interested in trying that system.  He doesn't use shut offs so the
whole system is on when the pump runs.  But he said that he needs to be able to shut off
some of the line sometimes and will be getting shut off valves for the drip tubing.

Almost all of the pears I picked green a week ago are ripe enough and ready for canning.

5 September 2012
I noticed last week that the volunteer amaranth (both varieties) that we planted last year
are up about 4 inches tall.  This week they have doubled that and the seed pods are
beginning to show top of plant.

Our sugarbaby watermelons have been ripe for over a week.

It got too dark to really do anything outside tonight at 8:45.  It isn't light enough to do much
until about 6:45 in the morning.  The days are getting much shorter.  Next month we fall
back an hour so it will be getting dark much earlier at night after that.  We are right at the
14 hour day mark.  The chickens will soon be needing added lights for egg laying.

12 September 2012
We had a light frost this morning that bit our cucumbers.  It didn't damage the armenian
cucumbers at all.  But the regular cucumbers were frosted back some.  I can't tell that
any of the rest of the garden is affected.  All of the rooftops in the neighborhood were
white with frost.  This is the earliest frost I have seen in Boise.  Normally this one cold day
happens around the 25th of the month.  There is usually only a day or two of extreme cold
and then 80-90 degree days again for at least another 2 or 3 weeks.

We picked our first 10 cabbages today.  I took 8 of them to the church share table. We
made colslaw for Randy's birthday dinner this evening over at Browers.  I cooked 12 ears
of corn and cut the corn off to take.  They are Bodacious variety so the ears are full size.
The cut off corn weighed 4 pounds.

27 September 2012
We have been picking the old corn from the Early Sunglow rows to feed to the rabbits and
chickens.  We picked the last of it today.  And we picked all that was left in the Bodacious
corn rows.  We blanched it ad cut it off of the cobs and filled 12 quart ziploc bags which
added up to 19 1/2 pounds that we put in the freezer. That was after giving tons of corn
away to everyone that came all summer.  I put a FREE CORN STALKS ad on Craigslist
today.  Someone is coming in the morning to take them.

It has been 80-90 degrees which is pretty warm for this time of year. The peaches are all
gone.  I mowed the grass last night and found a pear that had fallen to the ground. It was
perfect for eating with no worms.  The skin was a little scarred but it tasted good. Our 
 Flame Seedless grapes have been ripe enough to eat for 2 weeks.  We have also
been eating apples off of our trees since at least 2 weeks ago.  Now that the nights and days
are a little cooler, the broccoli is starting to head up instead of bolting so quickly. We've
been picking 8-10 cabbage each week to take to the church garden share table on Sunday.

1 October 2012
We picked 2 1/2 buckets of tomatoes and made 30 quarts of tomato sauce today.  Each 12
quart batch of blendered tomatoes was seeded and included 1/2 cup of minced garlic, 8 cups
of chopped green onions, salt and vinegar. We only put 4 cups of onions in the 8 qt batch.