Sunday, November 4, 2012

Recipes from the Harvest Tasting Event

The food was delicious at our harvest tasting event and I requested the recipes to share with you all.  I have received the ones below and would love to receive more to post!

Easy Pickle Recipe from Alan Rollins

4 pounds cucmbers (small or sliced)
2 Tablespoons salt
3 cups water
3 cups vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons dill seed
3 teaspoons whole mixed pickling spices

Wash cucumbers
Heat salt, water. vinegar, and sugar together to a boil
Pack cucumbers in clean bottles
Add 1 Tablespoon dill seed, 1 teaspoon pickling spice to each quart bottle
Put on new canning lids
Process for 30 minutes in water bath canner.
 Potimarron Bread by Julie Peterson

15 oz. of Potimarron puree (Potimarron is a small winter squash that has a chestnut flavor)
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups sugar
3 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1.        Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Halve squash lengthwise and remove seeds. Place squash halves, cut side down, on a foil covered cookie sheet. Bake uncovered for 55-60 minutes or until tender. Cool squash completely. Scoop squash pulp from shell using a spoon, into a blender. Blend till smooth. You may need to add a little water to get it smooth.
2.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
3.       In a large bowl, mix together potimarron puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the potimarron mixture until just blended. Pour into pans.
4.       Bake for about 50 minutes in preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Garden Planning

Hopefully your fall/winter garden is doing well.  I've got radishes, lettuce and swiss chard growing nicely.  I'm going to keep planting my winter lettuces and see how long they will grow just out in cold.  I have parsnips that are mulched and I hope to save their seeds next year.

It's time to start planning your spring garden for 2013.  I'm determined to exercise self control and only plant one variety of each plant family to make seed saving easier.  I've coordinated with my mom to plant a different variety and we'll share our harvest with each other.

I found some favorites this year that will definitely be planted again - my favorite is Rattlesnake Snap Bean, it was a prolific grower and delicious fresh and cooked.  I have seeds I saved (not easy to save the first/best pods and not eat them!) and will have them to trade in the spring when we get together.  Another favorite was Red Romaine Lettuce, it was easy to grow, delicious and slow to bolt in the summer, I have seed from this also. Blacktail Mountain Watermelon was another winner, easy to grow (see a pattern here) and delicious, not the best saver - I'm trying one next year that is a long saver.  I didn't save those seeds, that will be project for another year.

Please post your favorites from this year as a comment and let us know why you love them and if you will have seed available!


It's not too late to plant your garlic, you can still get your garlic in thru the end of November!  Garlic is very easy to grow and requires little care or fuss.  You plant it in the fall, start watering in the spring when it comes up, and harvest in the summer.  Garlic is grown as clones, like potatoes, so they do not cross pollinate.

When you harvest, you save your biggest, best cloves to replant in the fall.  Each single planted clove grows around 8-10 cloves which a great rate of return.

There are hard neck, and soft neck garlic - hard necks store longer, sometimes until you harvest your next crop, they grow a delicious spear in the early summer called a scape and they are stored with the stems trimmed short.  Soft neck garlic stems can be braided for storage and do not store anywhere as long.

Grocery store garlic is soft neck, and the large cloves are usually Elephant Garlic which isn't a garlic at all, it's a Leek.  The complexity and flavor of garlic will amaze you and it will probably be the easiest thing you grow.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Garden Tour

Thank you Logan Lyon for giving us an incredible tour of Woodhead Garden in Orem.  He uses sustainable techniques and grows an incredible amount of plants in a small area along with chickens, rabbits and composting worms.  He waters with a solar driven aquaponics system that recycles between a fish pond and the plants.  Logan grows and sells heritage, organic plant starts and composting worms from his garden and the Provo Farmer's Market.

Logan is happy to give tours of his garden to those of you that missed it, click on this link to call and schedule a time.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

How to Make Compost Tea

This is a great website that explains how to make compost tea.  I've been using my compost tea on my lawn instead of any fertilizer this year, and my neighbors are commenting that it's never looked better.  I also spray it on many of my plants and trees and they love it.  You can use any compost - just make sure it's broken down and composted before you use it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Utah Seed Exchange is Expecting Twins!

Great news, both of the squash blossoms that we hand pollinated at class were a success and we are expecting two pure squash for seed!
An idea I had that worked:

I planted my lettuce in the Spring on the North along my foundation where it only gets a few hours of sun each day.  It has grown beautifully, hasn't bolted yet (except for the Arugula), is delicious and makes a very pretty foundation planting! 

I sowed the seed, then covered it with wood chips, and then watered.  I alternated red and green varieties for visual interest since it's a feature in the front of my house.

This picture was taken this morning, it's making me hungry.

Monday, July 2, 2012

June Class Videos are posted

We had an amazing question and answer session at our June class!  You have to be at the meeting to get all of the amazing, timely information that is shared in those sessions, but I do have the garden demos for you under Links on the right hand side of the home page.  The June demos are Saving Rutabaga Seed with Caleb, and Hand Pollenating Squash with Caleb.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fall Planting Schedule

I know you've just started to miss peas and your lettuce is bolting, the good news is that fall planting is coming up soon!  I have added the fall planting schedule to our planting schedule on the left column of our home page.  This schedule is based on a 1st frost date of October 10th and the dates are chosen in order for the harvest to be done about that time.  This may require some protection from July and August heat on some varieties that are marked with an *.   A great way to protect them is to grow them in the shade of taller plants.  You can also choose to wait and plant later, you will just shorten your harvest, unless we have a later frost. 

If you plant cold hardy varieties of lettuce and spinach, you can lengthen your growing and harvesting time into the winter.  See chapter 6 of 'The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency used by the Mormon Pioneers' by Caleb Warnock for cold hardy variety recommendations.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

May Class Videos

I have posted 3 links for the May class videos.  They are: Sprouting and Potting Soil, Egyptian Walking Onions and Growing Blueberries in Utah - or Not!

See the link section on the right hand side of this page.

- Allaire

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I'm in the process of putting in my garden beds in my yard and just wanted to share the progress.  I went with stone which absorbs heat during the day, keeping the soil cooler and not burning your roots, and releases that heat into the soil at night keeping it warmer.  I'm quickly planting as I complete each bed!  There will be 10 of them when we're done.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sustainable Seed Starting April Class

I have put the links to the videos from our Seed Starting class on the right under LINKS.  You can view the clam shell, closed system demonstration by Caleb Warnock, and the Soil Blocking demonstration by Clarence Whetten.

I have had great success using my sprouting bins with hot water to sprout my seeds before planting them.  They are sprouting quickly and I only plant the seeds that germinate, or sprout.  

- Allaire

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Utah Seed Exchange in Action

Our exchange has begun in earnest!  Members brought Heirloom Raspberry Canes, Egyptian Walking Onions and Red Potato Seedlings to our class on April 21st and they were thankfully given a home in other members gardens.  We will continue to have an table set up at the classes each month, so bring the seeds, cuttings and plants that you have to share, and come and take what you need.  For what you receive, we ask that you  grow, care for, and share them with us in the future!

Also, please bring your produce as it ripens for others to taste and help us find our favorites!

Please label what you bring, thanks.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Recommended Reading

I recommend a couple of books that you should have and read if you want to save heirloom seeds in Utah:

'The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers' by Caleb Warnock Forgotten Skills at Amazon also available locally in Utah at most book stores including Costco.
'Seed to Seed' by Suzanne Ashworth   Seed to Seed at Amazon

New to the Utah Seed Exchange

If you are new to the Utah Seed Exchange, and would like to be on the email list to be notified of meetings and events, please email your request to be added to

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Have Garter Snakes? Yeah for you!

Question asked by member: 

I was over at the property we are buying and noticed that there were a lot of garden (garter) snakes coming out. I don't know if it was because of the rain we had at the first of the week or not. I don't mind a few but do you know how to control the population of snakes and how do you have chickens with them. Won't they eat the chicks?

Answer by Caleb Warnock:

Garden snakes, also called garter snakes, are a wonderful organic pest control, and a lot of fun too. We have three at our house and we see at least one of them everyday now that it is spring. Like everything else, they are out early this year because it is unusually warm. Garter snakes feed primarily on slugs in the garden and are very beneficial -- they can eat a huge amount of slugs. Garter snakes never have teeth, and don't bite. Our three garter snakes (we've named them all Henry because we can't tell them apart and we call them "the Henries") wander free-range around our yard, garden, and pasture. The kids pick them up and play with them, as do I. They are also a great way to teach kids (and nervous parents) about the benefits of natural wildlife. Part of the reason we keep a pond in our backyard is to attract wildlife, including the snakes. Garter snakes also eat squash bugs and tomato worms. They are a blessing in the garden.

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 17 Caleb Warnock class: Garden Planning

The notes from the 2nd class are ready for viewing under PAGES.  Also see the Vegetable Families PAGE.

Tomatoes - Tomato and Potato Leaf Varieties

View the PAGE of the same title on the right to see a picture of a regular tomato leaf variety, and potato leaf variety.  The potato leaf variety is not self pollinating and will cross with other tomato varieties.

The following link is to a list of many types of tomatoes, look under leaf type.  This is not a comprehensive list, but the largest I could find.  If anyone does the research on more of the varieties, please email it to me and I will share it, thanks.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Film on Organic, No Till Gardening

This link will take to you a great film on organic, no till gardening.  WARNING:  DO NOT WATCH WHEN HUNGRY!

If you need newspaper, you should ask around your neighborhood, I've had many stacks given to me by people who don't make it to the recycle bin often.   Remember, don't use the shiny advertising pages, they have been treated with things you don't want to eat!
Please note that you will want to put aged manure, compost, or soil under the wood chip compost the first year, or you will need to plant down into the dirt below the wood chips.  After it decomposes in future years, it will not horde nitrogen from you plants and you'll be able to plant right in it.    Pay special attention to the wood chip demonstration garden in the second half of the film that was started from scratch.

Also, you will need to water more frequently here in Utah (than in Washington) because we are a dry climate.  You will not need to water as much as you would without the wood chips, but be sure to check the moisture level under the chips frequently.  I have noticed that it stays moist under the chips for a few days longer than areas that don't have the chips.  

My fruit trees have seen the most water benefit, only needing to be watered once a month.   
It has saved my peas from burning up in this extraordinary hot spring we're having. 


Seeds and plants on the Forum

There are plants and seeds listed on the forum that available to share, I currently see Chives, Potatoes and quite a few seeds.  There are also some requests.  Thank you to those of you that are posting on the forum and getting our community exchange going!

You will find the forum n the right side of this page, click on the forum found under Link.

How to Make a Hotbed for Winter Greens

One very easy method of winter gardening is to create a simple hotbed and grow winter-hardy greens in it. To do so, simply dig a pit about a foot and a half deep; fill it with about 12″ of green manure or any green material, even weeds; top with about 4″ of soil or compost, leaving the top slightly below ground level; and cover the indentation with glass or any solar box. The hotbed doesn’t need to be big to produce greens you can eat all winter.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

8 Ways to Get Rid of Weeds

Connect to this article under Pages on the right side to learn how to manage your weeds.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Feb 11 Caleb Warnock Class Notes

The notes from Caleb's February class are now available under Pages on the right side.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I have realized that there are some things that you need to be introduced to before you can plan your heirloom gardens and select your seeds.  We will be going into these concepts in depth in the classes, but I’d like to give you some basic information now to help you plan your garden and make your seed selection. 

Here is a quick guide to the difficulty of saving seeds from various species.

Easier species:  Peas, tomatoes, beans, lettuce, tomatillos, squash, eggplant and potato(no pollination)

More difficult species: beets, spinach, cucumber, onion, pepper and turnip.

Most difficult species: watermelon, carrots, melons and corn.  Melons need to be hand pollinated and it is very difficult to distinguish between the male and female blossoms.  Corn needs to be planted in volume of at least 100 plants.  You need to collect pollen from 50 plants and use it to pollinate 50 other plants, this prevents inbreeding depression.

For many plants, you will not be able to save any pure seeds if you plant multiple varieties of the same species.  If you do, you must be able to isolate these varieties from each other by one of the methods described later.  If you would like to change your seed requests, please let me know.

The difference between heirloom and hybrid seeds. 

Heirloom seeds have reproduced plants identical to their parent for many generations, and if properly protected, will continue to do so indefinitely.  Varieties are protected and reproduced year after year.  You can save and plant these seeds every year and get the same produce.

Hybrid seeds are from plants that experienced cross pollination either purposely or naturally.  Hybrid seeds will produce plants that are different from their parent.  You can only reproduce the same hybrid by crossing the same identical original plants.  You cannot plant the seeds of hybrids and get a plant that resembles its parent.   Most commercial hybrid seeds restrict you from saving seeds, or have sterilized the seeds, so you have to buy seeds every year.


Heirloom seed saving requires extra effort in order to prevent cross pollination.  In order to understand how to prevent this, an understanding of how plant pollination works is required. 

There are three ways that pollination occurs, Wind Pollination, Insect Pollination and Self Pollination.

Wind Pollination
Pollen is dispersed by the wind.  The purpose of the wind is to shake the pollen from the tassel onto the silk, but pollen is very light and can travel several miles on the wind, crossing it with other gardens.  It is difficult to isolate wind pollinated plants by distance, and more difficult methods must be used.  Corn, Spinach and Beets are in this category.

Insect Pollination
Many plants produce both male and female blossoms on the same plant. The male blossom is on the end of a long straight stem and has an Anther that produces pollen ready to be picked up when the blossom opens.  The female blossom is on the end of a miniature fruit and has a Stigma that receives the pollen and the fruit or vegetable matures.  Insects such as bees, transfer the pollen from the Anther to the Stigma.  These varieties must be hand pollinated or isolated to keep the variety pure.  Squash is familiar insect pollinator.

Self Pollination
These plants have functional male and female blossom parts within the same blossom.  Pollination occurs within the blossom.  Some beans are pollinated within the blossom and it never opens, eliminating the possibility for cross pollination.  Others, such as peppers, self pollinate, but then the blossom opens which allows cross pollination by insects.


Please note that you do not have to have all of the produce from a plant pure, only enough of them to save the seeds.  The produce that is pure and is for seed saving must be marked clearly.

There are 4 methods that are used to keep seed pure.

Distance Isolation
The distance isolated must be large enough to prevent contamination by insect or wind blown pollination.  This distance will vary from species to species and is referred to as the “isolation distance.”   You do not want to grow a different variety of a species in the same spot, seed from the previous variety will have dropped and will grow and cross with your current variety.

Time Isolation
Annual Varieties that cannot be isolated by distance can sometimes be isolated by time.  This can be done by planting the first variety as early as possible.  Then the first crop begins to flower, sow the second variety.  Time isolation will only work if the first crop sets all of its seeds before the second crop reaches the flowering stage.

Mechanical Isolation
This can include bagging, caging or alternate day caging.

Hand Pollination
This technique is used mainly for vegetables that are insect pollinated but can also be used for some crops that are wind pollinated.  This involves transferring uncontaminated pollen from a male blossom onto the receptive stigma of the female blossom which has also been protected from contamination.  After the female blossom has been pollinated by hand, it must be protected from contamination.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Thought this would be a fun video from WWII to get us started.