Welcome to my new website. It will be both fun and informative. It will have five of my favorite topics: pictures, thoughts, recipes, gardening ideas and did you know? Please enjoy, leave comments, ask questions and visit often.
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  • ALL I KNOW ABOUT GARLIC, ‘HOW TO PLANT AND GROW GARLIC’

    Posted on September 30th, 2013 Pam 2 comments
     I LOVE GROWING GARLIC, IT WAS MY FAVORITE THING TO GROW EVERY YEAR.
    It is very easy to grow. Here are some steps to growing garlic the easy way.

    1. Only plant garlic purchased from a garden center, commercial greenhouse or me. NEVER plant garlic from the grocery store. The largest garlic I have grown is called Musik, some cloves can be as large as a golf ball.
    2. Plant mid September or early October.
    3. Divide the bulb into the separate cloves. Try to keep the thin paper on the cloves.
    4. Dig a hole or furrow and water well.
    5. Plant cloves 3″ – 4″ deep, pointed side up.
    6. Plant about 8″- 12″ apart. If planting several in one row, stagger the cloves.
    7. Fertilize and cover with soil.
    8. Mulch with grass clippings, leaves, potting soil or straw, I like straw the best.
    9. In the spring, carefully rake off the straw and use it as mulch in garden paths, it helps keep weeds down. It is best to uncover the mulch gradually in the spring. The garlic will be 6″-8″ tall. The leaves will be tender, so uncover slowly over a few days. Uncovering them in the evening is also a good idea.
    10. Water at least 1″ per week, 2″ is better.  Reduce watering as harvest time grows near.
    11. After a few months ‘scapes ‘will grow from the center of the plant. It is best to trim these off when they are about 10″ and use them in cooking. They are great to stir fry or chop and use in any dish requiring garlic. NOTE: not all garlic will grow scapes, usually the soft neck will not grow a normal sized scape.
    12. The scapes are trimmed because they rob strength from the garlic bulb. If left on the plant they will go to seed. Leave on a few plants if you want to save seeds. BUT I DON’T RECOMMEND THIS.
    13. Garlic begins to mature when the bottom leaves begin to turn brown or dry up and the main stalk is still green. This is usually late June to the middle of July. Harvest when three to four of the bottom leaves turn brown and before the entire stalk turns brown. I have found the weather is a large factor and determines when the garlic is ready to dig. For example, in 2015 I started digging garlic the end of June, but in 2017 I didn’t dig in June but late July.
    14. To harvest, use a shovel and dig the entire bulb. Do not leave any garlic in the garden, harvest everything you plant. Allow to dry on a rack, in the shade for two to three weeks. Then trim the top to about two inches and trim the roots to about ½ inch.
    15. Rub one or two paper layers off to clean the garlic. Keep the garlic dry. DO NOT CLEAN GARLIC WITH WATER.
    NOTE: Each garlic bulb will have 4-18 cloves, depending on the type. Figure how much garlic you use and plant twice as much….you will love this ‘fresh’ garlic!!!!
    Did you know 80% of the garlic purchased from the grocery store is from China? It is easy to see how your fresh garlic will taste much better.

    Read more articles at my blogs:
    www.pamolsen.net
    www.gardeninglifestyle.blogspot.com

    Pam Olsen
    ‘ON THE SUNNYSIDE’
    208-406-1243
    pamolsen@prophoto.bz

  • GARDENING WEEK 8, BUY SEEDS NOW

    Posted on February 22nd, 2013 Pam No comments
    Yes, now is the time to buy garden seeds. Why??
    1.  Because the best selections are in stores now.  Be aware that the most popular seeds sell out quickly.
    2.  It may take up to four weeks to receive seeds when ordering from a catalog.
    3.  Spring is coming and it will be time to plant before we know it, buy or order now.
    4.  It is best to have seeds on hand when you want to plant them.
    Below is a 11 week schedule, we are on week 8.
    Jan. 4th Week 1 Order gardening catalogs
    Jan. 11th Week 2 Check out Books & Magazines from Library
    Jan. 18th Week 3 Family survey
    Jan. 25th Week 4 Garden Journal, study gardening books
    Feb. 1st Week 5 Seed inventory, test seeds
    Feb. 8th Week 6 Make a garden plan
    Feb. 15th Week 7 How much to plant
    Feb. 22nd Week 8 Buy seeds
    Mar. 1st Week 9 Plant onion seeds and artichokes
    Mar. 8th Week 10 Trim Raspberries and apply Caseron
    Mar. 15th Week 11 Plant broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage seeds
    Mar. 22nd Week 12 Plant flower seeds & herbs
    Mar. 29th Week 13 Plant onion sets, plant raspberry starts

  • GARDENING WEEK 3

    Posted on January 18th, 2013 Pam No comments

    This week let’s take a family survey. For example, a family of five may have two adults and three children, but only one person may be the gardener. Try to make gardening more of a family activity by involving everyone. Include the children no matter the age. It is surprising what positive additions youth lends to the garden. It is a good idea to let them choose a few vegetables or flowers to plant.

    Make up a survey by asking questions like:
    What vegetables do you like to eat?
    What flowers do you enjoy?
    Would you like to plant or maintain your own area of the garden or yard?
    Would you like to try something new?

    Asking questions like these will enlighten you as to the interests, wants and needs of your entire family. Maybe trying something new will excite a family member into being more of a part of the garden activities.
    The reason most people garden is that it’s fun, but sometimes you have to make it fun. It’s fun to look at the new garden catalogs (you should be getting them by now if you ordered them during week 1) and let everyone choose a few things to plant.

    Include in the survey things like what improvement projects would you like to see in your yard. One large project and three small projects per year are good goals to work toward. So let everyone be a part of the choices that are made. Someone may come up with an exciting project that may not have been thought of before.

    Take time to organize the survey and let everyone have a few days to complete it. Keep the survey short, 10 to 15 questions. Help small children by using pictures to aid in their choices. After gathering information from the survey, you will have lots of choices in your garden this year.

  • THINK ABOUT THIS

    Posted on January 3rd, 2013 Pam No comments

    I saw this on a bumper sticker yesterday.
    Have you feed your kids today? Thank a farmer.

    I saw this on TV yesterday.
    ‘No Farmers, No Food’

    Farmers work hard to bring food to you.
    They love what they do.
    Thank them for it.

  • STORING POTATOES

    Posted on December 2nd, 2011 Pam No comments

    Many of you have received potatoes this time of year. I thought I might give a few suggestions about how to store them.

    Here is a picture of potatoes and carrots ready to go into storage.


    Here it shows the tubs the potatoes and carrots are stored in.

    LIGHT
    Always keep potatoes out of any light. They will turn green and bitter if they are in direct light. The way to tell if a potato is ‘green’ is to scratch the skin back, if it is white, it is okay. If it is ‘green’ the potato will be bitter. I always throw away any green potatoes I find.

    SORTING
    It is a good idea to sort the potatoes before storing them. The smaller potatoes won’t last as long as the large ones, so sort them out and use them first. Then look for any ‘green’ potatoes and any that may be cut or spoiled.

    DIRTY POTATOES
    It isn’t a good idea to wash the potatoes before putting them in long term storage. For some reason, they begin to decay sooner if they have been washed. If they are extra dirty or muddy, just wipe them off. But it is best to leave them alone.

    COOL
    Always store potatoes in a cool place. In the basement is okay if it is cool. In the garage is okay too, if the container is insulated, (blankets make good insulation), remember to wrap the entire container, especially if the container is sitting on the cement floor. I like to use a plastic tub to store potatoes, it keeps them cleaner than a box and safe from pests.

    REFRIGERATION
    It isn’t a good idea to store potatoes in the crisper of your refrigerator. The starch turn to sugar and may cause the potatoes to turn dark when fried. The best temperature to store potatoes is between 43 to 48 degrees.

    DECAYING
    It is a good idea to check the potatoes occasionally to see if any are soft or beginning to decay. Just remove the ‘bad’ ones and clean the container or move the ‘good’ ones to a clean container. Sometimes there may be liquid from a decayed potato in the bottom of the container, usually the other potatoes will be okay, just wipe them dry and move them to a clean container.

    SPROUTS
    As the Winter goes by, the potatoes may grow sprouts. In our family our Mother always threatened us if we were fighting with the awful job of pulling the sprouts off the potatoes. We didn’t like that job very much, our spud cellar was kind of spooky. It doesn’t harm the potato too much if you break the sprouts off early when they are small. So keep a watchful eye for sprouts too.

    LITTLE KNOWN FACTS
    Did you know the average American eats over 140 pounds of potatoes each year, (almost 365 potatoes per person, or an average of one potato each day.)

    The average American eats 142 pounds of potatoes a year, almost 365 potatoes per person-that’s an average of a potato a day.

    Potatoes are the second most consumed food in America, milk products are number one.

  • GARDEN CREATING

    Posted on June 7th, 2011 Pam No comments

    Okay so this is probably the first time you have heard the word creating when talking about gardening. Sometimes you just need to be creative. Like starting seeds in the bathtub (more about that later).
    This may be your first garden, if so, congratulations !!! What a big step. A garden will be a great improvement in your garden and on your table. Start small and do some research. You will have so many decisions to make. Such as where to plant, what to plant and how much to plant.

    Lets start with where to plant.
    1. Choose a sunny location.
    2. Well drained soil
    3. Keep your first garden small.
    4. Plant it in a close, convenient spot, one that you can see from your kitchen window.

    Next, what to plant.
    1. Vegetables your family likes to eat.
    2. Lots of veggies for salads.
    3. Plant a variety.
    4. Have fun with your garden, try something new.

    Last, how much to plant.
    1. Plant in a compact area, make the most of your space.
    2. Decide if you plan to eat the vegetables fresh or do some canning too.
    3. Estimate how much you will harvest from a certain vegetable and then plant accordingly.
    4. Try this, keep track of what vegetables you buy for a few weeks. Then plant what you think you will need. Keep in mind that you will eat differently out of your garden than out of the store. For example, you will probably use radishes and green onions from your garden in a salad, but may not go to the extra expense if you buy them at the store.

    My Mother used to say, plant too much so you will have enough.
    Plant what you eat and eat what you plant.

    Updated from my ‘gardenyourlife blog’, April 15, 2009

  • WHAT TO BUY AND WHEN TO PLANT

    Posted on June 6th, 2011 Pam No comments

    This should take about a week to explain, but I will try to do it in a few paragraphs. First, some of you may be overwhelmed with starting a garden. Even those of you who have gardened for years may be a little stressed. So let me tell all of you to relax !!!! Your garden is to enjoy. So just slow down and enjoy it, enjoy every minute you spend in it.

    Buy seeds or plants?
    I buy seeds for things like peas, radishes, beans, corn, carrots and lettuce, they grow quite easily planted directly into the soil. I buy plants from the greenhouse for things like pumpkins, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, cabbage, tomatoes and peppers. I sometimes buy seeds from this last group and plant them, too. If you need a faster start, you may buy the plants to try to get a successful crop. The seeds are much cheaper, but you do take more of a risk with seeds. However, the plants that come up from the seeds you plant directly into the soil will usually be more healthy looking and will already hardened in when they come up.

    Helpful hint: When planting seeds outside it is sometimes useful to soak the seeds. I usually soak seeds like cantaloupe, watermelon, pumpkin, squash, (I soak them for at least three days). I dig a hole about 4″ square and 2″ deep, then put about 1/4 cup of fertilizer in the hole and fill the hole with water. When the water sinks, I put the soaked seeds in the hole (5 seeds in the hole) and cover with about ½ inch of soft soil. Pretty simple huh? This way the seeds are soft and ready to germinate when you plant them, they are in damp soil and will come up about one week earlier.

    Please read the back of your seed package, before and after you buy the seeds. It has a lot of information, if the seeds can be planted inside or outside, when to plant, and lots of other valuable information.

    When to plant, (these are my suggestions for eastern Idaho).
    Guidelines for planting seeds inside for transplanting outside (after the last frost).
    Plant peppers from seeds the first of March, or even mid February, (10 to 12 weeks before the last frost) depending on the seed, as most are slow growing.
    Plant tomatoes from seeds the first of April (6 to 8 weeks before the last frost). plant seed of squash, cantaloupe, watermelon and pumpkins around April 20th (4 to 6 weeks before the last frost).
    I am GUESSING the last frost in this area is May 31. But according to my Mother, we ‘always have a first of June frost!!! So expect one more frost around June 5th, if you have planted, just cover the plants for a few nights.

    If you are planting indoors you can buy planting trays with soil disks and clear tops. You should have a light source, plants need 8 to 10 hours of light each day. If you are using artificial light, keep the light close to the plants or they will become tall and skinny. Keep the plants in a semi warm place (a constant temperature of 40 to 50 degrees is ideal). Notice I said semi-warm, why get them use to 70 degrees when they will be transplanted into a much cooler environment?
    Wow, lots of information, I hope you can understand much of what I said. Any questions so far?

    Updated from my ‘gardenyourlife’ blog, February 14, 2009