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Paonia Farm and Home Supply, also known as Paonia’s do-it-yourself center, wants to show your project(s) with pictures to inspire our community to get started with their project.  Please come into the store and share your before, during, and after pictures of your projects, gardens, remodeling efforts, and farm animals.

Salad Garden

A wide assortment of Spring salad lettuces

A wide assortment of Spring salad lettuces, peas, and radishes

As gardeners, we yearn to sow the earliest seeds of spring into the garden-Botanical Interests‘ lettuce, peas, kale, spinach, arugula, mustards, carrots, radish…yum, you get the idea. These early, fresh spring crops are up in the garden and paying off on the salad plate. Add some overwintered carrots, onion leaves, homegrown pansy and bachelor button flowers, and you have a downright masterpiece for the eyes and the palate.

Planting tip:

These Botanical Interests radish seeds produce a harvest in less than four weeks!

These Botanical Interests radish seeds produce a harvest in less than four weeks!

Succession sowing:

Little Finger carrots are harvestable in 57 days

Little Finger carrots are harvestable in 57 days

Succession sowing refers to sowing a crop in intervals to ensure a continuous harvest. By sowing crops with different days to maturity (harvest), you are planning for multiple harvests in one effort. For example, Cherry Belle radishes are ready in 24 days,  Little Finger carrots are harvestable in 57 days, and Atomic Red carrots will mature in 70 to 75 days. When you sow both of these crops at the same time, you already have two successive harvests.

Harvesting tips:

Botanical Interests Mustard seeds

Botanical Interests Mustard seeds

Whenever possible, harvest vegetables in the cool of the morning. Both greens (spinach, mustards, Swiss chard, and kale) and lettuce can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a week or more. Harvest entire stems with the leaves of Swiss chard, kale, and mustard; it helps the plant put its energy into more growth.

It’s not too late to get a salad garden growing!

Attracting Hummingbirds

 

Creating beautiful gardens that tantalize the eyes and attract hummingbirds produces an indescribable joy and delight.   For centuries, gardeners have been fascinated with the beauty, antics, and aerobatics of hummingbirds. At Paonia Farm and Home we encourage you to plant flowers and design gardens that fashion a bird friendly environment or incorporate clusters of hummingbird feeders in your yard and landscape.

Fun Facts about Hummingbird

Ruby Throated Hummingbirds are very common

  • Hummingbirds are the tiniest of all birds, weighing less than an ounce and measuring only 3 inches long.
  • During migration, some hummingbirds make a non-stop 500 mile flight over the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Unlike other birds, a hummingbird can rotate its wings in a circle. Because of this special hummingbird fact, they are the only bird that can fly both forwards and backwards. They can also fly up, down, sideways, hover in one spot, or fly upside down for short distances.
  • The hummingbird flight muscles make up 30% of a hummingbirds total body weight.
  • Their brightly-colored, iridescent feathers and quick movements make them appear as living sun catchers—hence their nickname, flying jewels.
  • They can hover in midair when sipping nectar from brightly–colored flowers with their long, slender beaks.
  • While whizzing about the garden, hummingbirds expend so much energy that they must eat at least half of their body weight each day to replace the 12,000 calories that they can burn up. This means eating almost constantly from sunrise to sunset and visiting over a thousand flowers every day.

 hummingbirdgarden

Flowers Will Attract Hummingbirds

In general orange and red flowers and colors attract the birds. Examples of annuals and perennials that can be incorporated into border areas and flower beds and are also known for attracting Hummingbirds include:

Gorgeous Colored Bee Balm Variety
Gorgeous Colored Bee Balm Variety
  •  Penstemon
    Butterfly bush
    Catmint
    Dianthus
    Columbine
    Coral bells
    Daylily
    Larkspur
    Delphinium
    Yucca
    Iris
    Lupine
    Petunia
    Scarlet sage
    Honeysuckle
    Soapwort
    Summer phlox
    Verbena

Hummingbird Nectar Mix

Hummingbird Feeder with Bird Perch

To prepare safe hummingbird food: Mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water and bring to a boil to kill any bacteria or mold present. Cool the sugar solution and fill the feeder.  When water is plentiful, the solution can be increased to 1 part sugar to 3 parts water, or 1/3 cup sugar to 1 Cup water.

Other tips for making the hummingbird nectar include:

  • Never add red food color to sugar water.
  • Never use commercial mixes that have red dyes. Nectar in flowers is clear, and red food coloring may be harmful for hummingbirds.
  • Never use honey to make hummingbird food – when honey is diluted with water, bacteria and fungus thrive in it. Table sugar is perfect.

Selecting Hummingbird Feeders

The two most important issues to consider in selecting hummingbird feeders are how easy they are to take apart and clean, and how large they are. Bacteria and mold grow in sugar water, and sugar ferments, so hummingbird water should never be left out for more than two or three days, and changed daily in very hot weather.

The easier it is to clean a hummingbird feeder, the more likely you are to do it often and well. The fill hole should be large enough for you to be able to get a bottlebrush inside, and every crevice should be easy to scrub.

The best-sized feeders are those that are emptied every day or two by the hummingbirds you have. Hummingbirds are usually extremely territorial around feeding sites, and so four tiny feeders with one feeding port each, set in different trees or at different windows, will attract and maintain more hummingbirds than one large feeder with eight ports.

Bottle or tube hummingbird feeders can be glass or plastic, often with red plastic flowers and bee guards (little plastic screens that keep insects away from the sugar solution) on the feeding ports.

If the bee guards are yellow, they may, ironically, attract bees. Plastic saucer-type hummingbird feeders have feeding ports in the top, making them fairly bee-and wasp-proof. These feeders often have little moats in the center that should be filled with regular tap water—that will keep ants from climbing down the support wire or rod and getting to the sugar water.

Always avoid locating your hummingbird feeder in direct sun. Fermented sugar solution repels birds, and attracts ants and bees.

Asparagus on Toast with Cream Sauce and Eggs

Asparagus on Toast with Cream Sauce.  Bacon bits are optional

Asparagus on Toast with Cream Sauce. Bacon bits are optional.  Recipe is from Emma, Linda’s grandmother

A delicious recipe that is just in time for Mother’s Day breakfast or brunch.  With the recent rains, there is plenty of asparagus sprouting along roadsides, just be sure if you are picking wild asparagus to not trespass private property.

IngredientsAsparagus 2

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 4 hard-cooked eggs, diced or sliced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash pepper
  • 2 cups milk  (part cream is OK)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, optional
  • 1/3 cup bacon bits, optional
  • 4 slices bread, toasted and halved

Directions

  • Snap off the lower part of the asparagus stalks where they break easily.  In a large skillet, bring 3/4 cup of lightly salted water and asparagus to a boil. Cover and boil for 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Keep warm and drain when ready to serve the plate.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of butter; gradually whisk in the flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk and continue whisking the mixture. Bring the sauce to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in optional cheese until melted, if desired.
  • Place 1 slice of toasted and halved bread on each slightly heated plate.  Top the toast with asparagus spears, followed by cream sauce, diced hard cooked egg (one per plate) and garnish with optional bacon bits.  Serve.
  • Yield: 4 servings.

Steps to Harden Off Seedlings

Seedlings being hardened off prior to planting in the garden.

Seedlings being hardened off prior to planting in the garden.

After the danger of frost is past, harden off tomatoes, peppers, and other plants that are cold sensitive.  Hardening off is the process of getting indoor-started seedlings accustomed to the outdoor environment by gradually exposing them to daily shifts in temperature, light, and water.

 Guidelines to help your seedlings get settled outside:

  • Begin hardening off 7 to 10 days before transplanting outdoors.
  • Start by placing your plants outside in a shady area protected from wind for a couple of hours a day for the first 2 to 3 days. Bring them back inside at night.
  • For sun-loving plants, begin putting seedlings in progressively more sun for 2 to 3 days, being careful at first to avoid the harsh mid-day full sun exposure.
  • If the plants you are hardening off are shade or part-shade plants, leave them in the shade or dappled sunlight. Do not put seedlings directly in wind, as they may dry out quickly or snap.
  • After 7 days, your sun-loving plants should be ready for full sun and staying outside at night if nighttime temperatures are above 45°F. When caring for cool season crops in small containers, err on the side of caution and bring them back inside when it is below 45ºF.  Cool season crops like broccoli, lettuce, greens, and cabbage can handle colder temperatures when planted in the ground.

Reduce the stress of transplantingpepper-seedlings-14289301

  • In 7 to 10 days your plants are ready for transplanting. Transplant in the evening, or on a cool, cloudy day.  Some gardeners give the transplants a dose of kelp or seaweed fertilizer to help prevent plant stress.
  • Water plants immediately after transplanting. Keeping plants protected with row covers for another week will further help them adjust to their new home and give them some protection against fluctuating temperatures.
Sweet 100 Seed packet from Botanical Interests

Sweet 100 Seed packet from Botanical Interests

Sweet 100’s Cherry Tomatoes are a gardener’s favorite.  and will produce approximately 65 days after transplanting.  The garden fresh flavor of this prolific plant offers exceptional flavor.

 

Ripe and ripening sweet 100' on the vine

Ripe and ripening sweet 100′ on the vine

 

 

 

 

 

By following these steps and referring to each Botanical Interests seed packet for specific instructions on when to start the transplant process, you’re plants will be growing steadily in their outdoor garden bed in no time.Pepper Jalapeno

 

 

 

Introducing Joe Chisholm

Joe Standing in the outdoor warehouse

Joe Standing in the outdoor warehouse

Now that gardening season has arrived, what does Horticultural Vinegar, Agricultural Molasses, Paonia Soil Company’s “The Bomb”, Smart Pots – multiple sizes, Fox Farm Soils, Down-To-Earth Fertilizer Blends – Bio-Live, Acid Mix, Tree & Shrub Mix, Bat Guano 9-3-1, Fishbone Meal, Bone Meal and Joe Chisholm have in common?Vision2

Answer:  you can find both Joe,  and the above Organic products and much more at our sister store,  Paonia Farm and Home Organics located at 208 Main Avenue.  Joe is eager to welcome you and advise you , so you can determine which Organic and OMRI listed products will best suit your gardening needs.

Joe, son of Dan Chisholm, who retired from Paonia Farm and Home Supply two years ago, is committed  to helping you understand the benefits of the various products. For example,
Joe is committed to talking to you about which Organic products are suitable to enrich and enhance soils your existing soil and which products promote healthy, vigorous plant growth, and explain how OMRI listed products can meet your gardening goals.

Joe#2He proudly operates by the principle of  “If I don’t know the answer, I will look-it up, research the answer and get back to you.”  Lastly and the best part is that Joe is dedicated to helping load your purchases into your vehicle.

Despite Joe’s relative youth, he is celebrating 10 years as  a part time or full-time employee of Paonia Farm and Home.  Jim Link, his uncle, has been mentoring him most of his life in a wide array of practical farm and home construction skills like roofing, in addition to soil sciences.  Some of Joe’s vast experiences include  fence building, irrigation, welding, landscaping, all kinds of farm work in everything from building a chicken coop to moving cows from field to field,  and even how to drive and use a tractor for a host of purposes, and much more.

During the course of the last 10 years, Joe has also worked as an all around handy-man, earning a reputation of willing to do anything and if he doesn’t know how to do it he is will find the answers.

When not working, Joe enjoys spending his spare time welding, and participating in outdoor activities like hiking or biking on Jumbo.

With a warm smile, strong work ethic, maturity, wisdom and knowledge beyond his years, I hope you will stop in, introduce yourself to Joe at the Paonia Farm and Home Organics store and probe Joe’s vast store-house of product knowledge.

He is ready and waiting to serve you!