Monday, February 28, 2011

Blueberries in Utah

OK, I did some research on soil for blueberries in Utah. Here is a conclusion. You CAN fix soil here to plant your blueberries, but it can take at least couple years to get the soil ready for planting and after that you have to stay on top of it and make sure that soil stays acidic enough. Which is worth it because blueberries can grow up to 50 years. So if you plan to stay in your current house for a long long time, and you want homegrown blueberries, that's the way.
However, if you just want couple of bushes (like me), it make sense to grow blueberries in containers or raised beds. From what I found on the Internet, one of the best mixes for pots is: 1/3 Azalea Soil Mix, 1/3 peat-moss, 1/3 small bark. For the raised bed (15inches deep, 48" long, 24" wide) recommended mix was : 4 bushels of well-rotted saw dust, leaf mold and peat-moss, 2 bushels loam soil, 2 bushels wettable sulfur.
I think I will try one bush in a container this year and see how it survives.
No Daily recipe today, because I am so sick with a flu, I can't even cook :(

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Square foot garden

Current Obsession: Still gardening
I got a famous All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!
book by Mel Bartholomew. I heard about it before, but never paid close enough attention. Now however, it goes right in with my obsessive garden planning. I like his idea about saving space, money and avoiding over planting, which I often do (all those radishes and turnips going to seeds ). The idea that attracts me the most in his new book is "Mel's mix" - 3 equal parts of compost, peat-moss and Coarse vermiculite. Our soil here is terrible and ridden with weeds. I want to start a compost pile and try this mix in new garden beds. More info about Square Foot Gardening is on his website http://www.squarefootgardening.org/ though I really disliked that site's design.
Anyways, my goals for upcoming spring are:
1. Prune my trees and bushes on time, meaning this week!
2. Plant grapes, asparagus and rhubarb, may be blueberries.
3. Fix and replant my strawberry bed.
4. Rotate my crops on seasonal basis without letting my spring crops go to seeds.
5. Avoid over planting.
I guess that's about it. As soon as I feel better - cough, cough (hate that flu!), I need to get on it.

Daily recipe: Crock-pot chicken thighs with onions, carrots and parsnips.
I tried the recipe from "Costco Connection" magazine, before, but it used acorn squash and fennel bulbs in the original. My family ate the chicken, but refused to eat the vegetables. So I still made the chicken the same way - salt, pepper, put in flour and fried on all sides. But I substituted squash and fennel with carrots, onions and parsnips. I cubed the veggies and slightly cooked them in the same skillet. I put them on top of chicken in a crock-pot and poured 1/2 of a cup of chicken broth and 1/2 of a cup of apple juice added some thyme and set it on high for 6 hours. We ate it with rice and this time all the vegetables were eaten as well as chicken.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Kitchen Garden

Current Obsession: Kitchen Garden Planning.

Spring is coming and I get my gardening obsession going. I purchased some spring greens seeds at Wal-Mart for my existing 2 garden beds - spinach, lettuce, radishes. I usually start planting those in March, since they do good in cold weather. However I usually have empty spots in my garden beds in mid summer when it gets too hot to keep replanting spring greens and kind of to late to plant something like tomatoes or squash in their place. So I was looking for some gardening advice and picked up a "Grow it -Cook it" gardening magazine from "Birds and Blooms". It had a lot of good information on most of vegetables and herbs, that I usualy grow and I found out that Kale and Swiss Chard are summer greens that can replace my spinach/ lettuce in mid summer. Also the magazine had some examples of plans for Kitchen Gardens from this site

http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Page-KGPPreplanned and Oh Wow! It is like the whole world of new possibilities opened up for me! You can use their preplanned gardens or create your own plans whichever you prefer. It got me thinking about moving my beds to a different spot in my yard and making them into real Potager or Kitchen Garden with the gravel in between the beds and may be even a bench and short fence in the same area. I also want to start some perennial plants like Asparagus and Rhubarb this year and that means finding a permanent spot for those. Oh so many plans and possibilities. We will see how it will turn out in spring.

Daily recipe: Chicken Soup

Since everyone in our house is down with a flu, I wanted to make "real" chicken noodle soup, not the one from the can. It turned out OK, but next time I will cook meat longer, it was pretty tough.

Current MMORPG: HKO (Hello Kitty Online) http://www.hellokittyonline.com/

Cute, cute , cute if you are into Hello Kitty kind of graphics. My favorite part is actually a tutoring "newby zone"- Dreamworld in which you can try everything that you do in the rest of the game, but can't keep anything from that zone, once you leave it. The rest of the game - pretty boring. I like crafting in online games, but farming the same ingridients over and over and over... You get the point. The only nice thing from all that grinding, that you might get a pet card from the mob. I got lucky and got 3 different pets on my second day of playing. I made it to London so far, which is a 3rd post starting zone for your character - lvls 12-15. The game is free by the way, you can buy some extra items from the online store or with the prepaid game cards, but you don't have to do it. May be I can still make myself to go further in the game.

I guess that's it for today.