October Garlic Planting & Autumn Harvest

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 8.33.41 AMI keep meaning to write here at Becoming Beehive, but life just gets in the way! Dammit…don’t you just hate it when life gets in the way?

Between the gardening, the cooking, the planting, the shopping, the living…sheesh!…there’s just been no time to sit, and think, and write. So, this morning when I saw the above notice from the Summit Community Garden folks, I thought…aha…no writing…just copying, pasting, and sharing. Simple. I can do that.

Hope you’re able to make it to this 1st annual event!

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9th & 9th: The Stockist

UntitledThis evening while the sun was setting over Salt Lake City, I popped into the neighborhood of 9th and 9th for a bit of retail therapy. The shop that really caught my eye was The Stockist. Do you know it?

A few months ago it was called Fresh and it lived across the street…but that’s another story. Now it’s located at 870 E 900 S, right next door to The Children’s Hour.

Walking through the door I had the immediate feeling of “Yes! This place is cool…!” It’s industrial. It’s boutique-like. It’s hip. There’s something at The Stockist for man, woman, child and dog…yep…you read that right. There is literally a little something (pop up tent, clothes, candles, jewelry, dog leads, beauty products and more) for everyone.

Untitled 2

The ladies fashion is relaxed-urban. There are jeans, skirts, and cute tops perfect for running around town, date-night, or a Saturday afternoon stroll around the local farmer’s market. The men’s clothes have a…hmmm…how do I say this?…a “lumber-sexual-ness” about them. Not familiar with the term? Think lumber jack meets GQ. For a better understanding check out this short post over at Elitedaily.com …or…better yet…call in and check-out The Stockist yourself.

Oh, and while you’re there, be sure to step through to the back…there’s an Iron and Resin pop up shop, with some really nice surf and motorcycle inspired menswear. Iron and Resin is a California company known for making premium apparel, featuring a worn look, with a faded colorway, and graphics.





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Master Gardening Classes in Summit County/Wasatch County

Three years ago, and completely new to living in Utah, someone sent me details of the Utah State University Master Gardener Program. At the time I was looking for a connection to our community and because I loved gardening it seemed a good fit. As it turns out the class was excellent: I learned so much about the specific requirements of our high altitude soil and climate, made new friends, and got the idea for starting Becoming Beehive.

If becoming a master gardener sounds good to you, ask yourself the following:

  • Do you want to learn more about the culture and maintenance of many types of plants in our county?
  • Are you eager to participate in a practical and intense training program?
  • Do you enjoy sharing your knowledge with people?
  • Do you have enough time to attend training and complete volunteer service hour requirements?
  • Do you have special interests that could benefit the community or an interest in developing one? (i.e. bird or butterfly knowledge, native gardens, wildflowers, etc.)
  • Do you have a sincere interest in nature or gardening?

Summit County/Wasatch Master Gardeners are members of the local community who take an active interest in their lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens. They are enthusiastic, willing to learn and help others, and able to communicate with diverse groups of people. What really sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture. In exchange for their training, persons who become Summit County/Wasatch Master Gardeners contribute time as volunteers, working through Utah State University’s Extension office to provide horticultural-related information to their communities.

This program is incredibly enriching. I encourage you to sign up and become a bigger part of our local community in this very rewarding way.

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Winter Gardening

Ready for the photo shoot.

Ready for the Park City Magazine photo shoot.

Wow! I can hardly believe how long it’s been since I blogged here at Becoming Beehive. To the five of you kind enough to follow me…I am sorry…I promise to do better going forward. My goal for 2015 is to grow this blog into something useful for you and me…gardening, cooking, sight-seeing, getting involved in the local community, and more. My time away from Becoming Beehive hasn’t been wasted, however. I have been busily working at various projects and putting down roots. One thing I’m most excited about is being featured in Park City Magazine this spring. Photographer Doug Burke, was here a few months ago taking great photos and writer Wendy Lavitt interviewed me this past week. Wendy said she will mention Becoming Beehive in her article, so I’d better get writing and give visitors something to read.

As you know, we are in the heart of winter. This is a time of dormancy for plants and many gardeners. Because I’m always looking for a challenge, I decided to give winter gardening a try this year. The two best resources I found on the subject came from: 1) the book Backyard Winter Gardening by Utah native Caleb Warnock; and 2) blogger Cathy Rehmeyer of Mother of a Hubbard. Caleb made me believe it was possible to winter garden in Utah and Cathy showed me how to do it.

What I particularly like about Cathy is that her posts on winter gardening are practical and informative. She’s not Martha Stewart on steroids…she’s much more down to earth. On her welcome page, Cathy writes:

If you’re here because you want to learn how to grow a lot of your own food, all year round, in a little bit of space, then you’re in the right place. I grow the majority of food that is served at our family table, an endeavor that many people assume is impossible for the average American family. But we ARE the average American family —  my husband and I both work full-time jobs (I’m a medical school professor), and we are raising two young children in the midst of a growing city.

After reading her welcome message and doing a bit of research on Mother of a Hubbard, I decided to go for it. The first step was to build a winter hoop house.

If you’re not familiar with a hoop house, it’s a simple design of rebar, pvc piping, clear plastic sheeting, and some clamps. In essence, you put rebar into the ground, put one end of your pvc piping over the rebar, bend the piping over to the rebar on the opposite side of your soon-to-be enclosed area, and cover everything with plastic sheeting. Cathy describes it in better detail here.

My hoop house is about 8′ long by 4.5′ wide. It took about one hour to build and cost about $50. It would have taken less time if I’d been just a bit more “handy” and mathematical. In other words, I struggled with my calculations!

Ideally, one would build the hoop house in late August when the time comes for sowing autumn seeds. I, however, waited much too late and so decided to build my hoop house over some existing plants that were thriving in the garden.

Kale, parsley, spring onions and lemon balm...going into the hoop house.

Kale, parsley, spring onions and lemon balm…going into the hoop house.

If you look closely at the second photo in today’s posting, you can see the plants inside the hoop house. To ensure they wouldn’t freeze over the winter, I bought two heat bulbs, like light bulbs but used for creating warmth, with clamps attached from Home Depot and secured them to the pvc piping inside the hoop house. The only other purchase I made was an extension cord to provide electricity to the heat bulbs. Here’s how it all looked in early December:

So…things were going along swimmingly for months until very recently. I opened the hoop house to discover something was eating the kale. And despite what the photo immediately above this text shows, I was not leaving the hoop house open. A few days later, I pulled up the plastic sheeting from the snow to discover the kale was gone. A few days later, the parsley was being nibbled on and so it went until, you guessed it, everything was gone!

I wasn’t prepared for the decimation. When I started this project, it hadn’t occurred to me that mice or voles would sneak their way into my lovely warm hoop house and feast. Having since done a little more research…I understand it’s a pretty common problem. I haven’t yet reached out to Cathy at Mother of a Hubbard to ask her how she avoids this problem, but I plan to and will report back the news.

I am disappointed by the results of this winter garden experience, but not defeated. On the upside, I’m ready for growing seedlings this year! When the weather warms up a bit, I’ll put some kind of a pot system inside the hoop house, with wire mesh underneath and along the sides to prevent mice and voles from chomping away at the tender plants. Of course, as I go along, I’ll take lots of notes and photos and share them with you.


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Tree Planting Activity with TreeUtah

imageJoin TreeUtah for a fun morning of planting native trees at Snowbird. The date is currently scheduled for Thursday, September 19th, weather permitting. Contact volunteer coordinator Hannah Whitney at volunteer@treeutah.org or call 801-364-2122. A reservation is required to participate.

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When to Put Fruit and Vegetable Plants in the Garden

Rhubarb in the Snow

Rhubarb in the Snow (Photo credit: Cross Duck)

Warm today, freezing tonight…welcome to springtime in Utah!

Our weather is inconsistent, to say the least. Across the state, from county to county, temperatures fluctuate dramatically and the difference between day and night temps can be shocking…especially if you’re a tender plant.

In an effort to help Utah gardeners make the most of their fruit and vegetable gardens this year, Utah State University Cooperative Extension published an excellent online article on April 26th entitled “When Should I Plant My Garden?”  If you have time, give it a read. If you want the short version…read on.

Every gardener tending a fruit and vegetable patch should know three things: First, plants fall into four basic categories: hardy, semi-hardy, tender and very tender. Second, depending on the category, planting dates vary from early spring to early summer. For example:

• Hardy vegetables, including asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, onions, peas and spinach, can be planted as soon as the soil is workable in early spring. This usually ranges between 45 and 60 days before the average last frost. These same vegetables can be safely planted until the date of the average last frost.

• Semi-hardy plants, such as beets, carrots, lettuce and potatoes, can be planted one to two weeks after the hardy group. These can be planted until the average last-frost date.

• Tender vegetables, such as celery, cucumbers, corn and most beans, should be planted on the average last-frost date in your area.

• Very tender plants, such as squash, beans, melons, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, should not be planted until at least a week after the average last frost has passed. Even if frost does not occur before this time, these plants will not grow well and are more susceptible to disease until warmer weather.

Third, {yes I did say there were three things} a gardener should know the average frost dates for their area. “The what?!”, I hear you say. Before I took the Master Gardener course, I didn’t appreciate that there is an average First Frost of the Year date and an average Last Frost of the Year date for just about every area (see below). Knowing these dates will help you decide when you should plant that very tender tomato plant, which you’ve lovingly grown from seed or paid for at the local nursery.

Let’s use Cedar City as an example. The Last Frost of the Year date is May 10th. If I were putting a tomato plant into my garden in Cedar City, I would not put it in the ground until May 17th, which, according to the information given above for a very tender plant, is exactly one week after the average last frost has passed.

Now, please note, the dates given below are an average…not an EXACT date. If you put your plant into the ground and it gets damaged by a freak late or early frost, don’t getdiscouraged…it happens to the best of us and all we can do is try, try again.

Happy planting!

Average frost information for locations in Utah:

City:                   Frost Dates:

                            Last Frost of the Year     First Frost of the Year    Frost-Free Days

Alpine                                  May 20th                              September 30                  136

Blanding                             May 13th                               October 12th                      153

Cedar City                           May 10th                              October 5th                        148

Delta                                    May 17th                               September 28th                134

Farmington                        May 5th                                October 10th                       158

Filmore                               May 16th                              October 4th                         140

Huntsville                          June 11th                              September 9th                   89

Kanab                                 May 7th                                 October 20th                     166

Lake Town                         June 15th                              September 10th                87

Logan                                  May 14th                              September 25th                 135

Morgan                               June 6th                               September 11th                  98

Moroni                                June 1st                                September 18th                 109

Ogden                                  May 1st                                 October 24th                     176

Park City                             June 9th                                September 1st                  92

Price                                     May 12th                               October 7th                      148

Roosevelt                            May 18th                               September 25th               130

Spanish Fork                      May 1st                                 October 13th                     165

St. George                           April 6th                                October 28th                    205

Toole                                    May 7th                                 October 14th                     159

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Utah’s Prescription Drug Recycle Program

Recently, when an elderly relative passed away, I was shocked at how many prescription drugs were in the house.

My family and I gathered every bottle and blister pack up and tried to dispose of them properly but were shocked to learn that the state my relative had been living in did not have a prescription medicine dispoal program. We were told by the local police and pharmacy to buy cat litter or ground coffee, grind up the meds, and mix the two together for safe disposal. Safe for whom was my immediate thought! I kid you not when I say the amount of medication we found was enough to place in not one but two 2″x2″ chests. The idea that we would grind them up and throw them in the local dump was not acceptable.

Instead, I took them home and hid them away from curious little hands and waited for Utah’s prescription drug recycle program to return. And, it is with great enthusiasm that I remind you that this Saturday, April 27th, from 10.00am-2.00p.m., the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and Utah is taking part. This is the perfect opportunity to go through your medicine cabinets and safely get rid of any unwanted, unused prescription  drugs.

In the five previous Take-Back events, DEA in conjunction with our state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners, have collected more than 2 million pounds (1,018 tons) of prescription medications and removed them from circulation.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposal, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of these medications.

So, please, don’t miss out on this chance to be rid of medicines you no longer need. And, be sure to remind and help extended family, friends and neighbors to do the same. To locate a collection site in your area please visit here.

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