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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.

Learn to Grow Microgreens

Growing#3Microgreens are vegetable and herb seeds, sprouted in soil in the convenience of your kitchen rather than germinated in water, and then harvested for eating within 10-14 days.  We Coloradoans could consider this indoor winter-time gardening.

The tiny plant leaves have grown just a few inches tall in this short time.  Unlike sprouts, which are usually consumed before leaves emerge,  various plants such as daikon radish, amaranth, cilantro, cabbage, kale, and many others are used to grow microgreens.

The increasing popularity of microgreens is in part due to their ability to pack a lot of flavor and nutrition in a small tiny amount.  Another benefit would be how adaptable they are to being included in various dishes.

For example:  Mix microgreens to create a small, flavorful , sometimes spicy and delicately textured salad.  Use them in sandwiches or on top of burgers instead of lettuce. Another possibility would be for use as a garnish to give a plate flair.

Lastly, microgreens, in addition to their strong flavors, are noted for their health benefits.  Depending on the choice of plant, the crisp greens provide vitamins C, E, and K, as well as being a source of antioxidant compounds that support vision and healthy skin.

Updated and Revised Edition

Updated and Revised Edition

Susan Friar, author of GROWING MICROGREENS Step by Step says,   “I will take you from the “no fail,” highly nutritious broccoli and kale to the colorful and kid favorite sunflower and pea shoots and way beyond. You only need a few minutes each day to tend your plants and you can have a rainbow of colors in a minimum of space and time.” 

The class will be held Saturday, November 14, at 10:00 am at Paonia Farm and Home Supply when Susan Friar teaches Growing Microgreens – Step-by-Step, based on her book of the same title.


Winterize your Yard Now

townparkWith such a warm October, the sudden weather change may have caught home owners and gardeners behind in getting Fall yardwork, clean-up, and putting the yard “to bed”.   Once this storm runs its course, you can complete the Fall chores which fall into five major categories, details follow:

1.  Rake Leaves

Finish getting the leaves raked up, if they ever finish dropping, before the first snow hits which eliminates lawn damage caused by molding leaves.  Rake up

Rake leaves before winter sets in

Rake leaves before winter sets in

the leaves for making your own compost, or bag the leaves up in the blue compostable bags provided by the Town of Paonia since they are no longer vacuuming up the leaves left at curbside.

The FREE blue bags, available at the Town Hall, are on a first come first serve basis.  Fill your bags with your leaves and place them at the curb and you will be surprised how quickly they are snatched up by those who are seeking low cost compost material.  Just be sure that only leaves (no twigs, or branches) are loaded into the bags.  All types of rakes are available in the store.  Come in now for the best selection.

2. Apply  Winterizing Fertilizer

Fertilome's Winterizer

Fertilome’s Winterizer

Fall feeding is the most critical feeding time for your lawn and trees.  Fertilome’s Winterizer is a great product to build up resistance to winter’s harshness by increasing stem strength and disease resistance.

Lower nitrogen (10%) and higher potassium (14%) plus small amounts of trace minerals such as Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, and Zinc,  help build up vigorous root growth during the winter resulting in healthier, greener lawns in Spring.

  • The product should be applied at the rate of 20 pounds per 5000 square feet for lawns
  • Use 1 pound per inch of trunk diameter around the drip line* for trees.
  • Use 1 Cup per 3 foot of height for shrubs  Don’t apply the Winterizer too close to the tree trunk, and then WATER thoroughly following the application.

*A drip line is the outer edge to which a plant’s branches spread.  This is where rain water tends to naturally drip from the plant and where the root system is concentrated.

Organic Winterizing Products include Earthworm castings which promote root growth and plant nutrition and  Soil Activator contains humates.  All products are in stock at the store.

3. Clear Gutters and Drains


Removing debris from gutters and outdoor drains unclogs the gutter and prevents water damage to your house and roof.  Neglected gutters risks water backing up and seeping into your roof, or spilling down the side of the house causing possible foundation damage. 

This step must not be done so early that the gutters re-clog, or the gutters can become frozen with debris inside.  Aim, to complete this step when the leaves are down and before the first snow.  With our Colorado Indian Summers this step probably needs to be completed in November sometime before Thanksgiving.

4. Insulate Plants 

SIX_FOOT_medium_mediumProtecting plants with a “jacket” for the inevitable extremely cold freezing temperatures helps eliminate winter-kill and promote plant health.  Cover plants  roots with at least a one inch layer of mulch (Soil Pep is a good choice).

Also, plants can be safeguarded with The Planket, which is a plant blanket designed to prevents winter damage from both snow and deer and available at Paonia Farm and Home. Other materials you can use  to protect cold sensitive plants would be include burlap,, a sheet or a cardboard box..  When the sun and warm temperatures return, these “covers” need to be removed to avoid “baked plant”.

 5. Drain Pumps, Lawn Sprinklers and Hoses

 Hopefully this job is done already, because Lawn sprinkler systems and pumps represent a substantial capital investment and must be drained, and blown out before the deep freeze of winter sets in or you will most probably incur broken, pipes, sprinkler heads and and other damage that will need to be repaired next Spring.

As always, visit or call the store for more information for answers about products, services to all your gardening questions.  You can also contact the store for a list of people willing to perform the various tasks discussed in this article.mulching

Get Your Yard Ready For Migratory Birds

Feeding wild brids all winter can be extremely gratifying.

Feeding wild birds all winter can be extremely gratifying.

With fall in full swing and winter on the way here are some useful tips to make sure our feathery friends make a stop in your backyard throughout the season.

1. Clean your bird feeder
Get your feeders ready for fall and winter by cleaning them up. Start by emptying the feeder. In a bucket,  combine 10 parts water to one part bleach if you wish to use a safe disinfecting solution. Using an old rag, wash and rinse the bird feeder thoroughly.  Air dry the feeder or dry it with a towel if you are in a hurry.

bird seed 2. Choose a bird feed that is high in protein and fat and stock up.
With temperatures dropping birds begin to grow in winter feathers and start storing energy for the cold weather. Try using black oil sunflower seed as your basic go-to bird seed stock.   If you are more ambitious,  you can use a mix of 60% black oil sunflower seed, some roasted no-shell peanuts, a bit of safflower and some white millet. Bird seed mixes may attract a wider variety of migratory birds.

3. Don’t deadhead your garden
Leave your flowers blooming, it’s less work for you and the birds will love eating the fresh supply of food. The wilder your garden the more lively an ecosystem.

bidsinclippings 4. Save your pruning clippings
If you have some pruning to take care of in your garden, be sure to save all the clippings in a pile. A clippings pile will provide a perfect safe spot for smaller birds to fly into and hide.

birdbath 5. Use a heated birdbath
Finding fresh water in the winter is incredibly difficult for birds, and your birdbath will be a great source! Along with using a heated birdbath it’s important to change the water regularly.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes!

No-knead Artisan Bread must be baked in cast iron.

No-knead Artisan Bread must be baked in a covered cast iron or heavy duty, pre-heated pot to get a good crust.

You will be amazed that this recipe literally takes about five minutes of your active, hands-on time.  I mixed up the four ingredients yesterday morning.  Shaped the sticky dough this morning and about 3 hours later, look what came out of the oven!

VOILA!  Delicious bread with no kneading.  This recipe is not only fool-proof, in my opinion, but only requires four basic ingredients you are most certain to have on hand.  You really must try it, as it will transform your  bread baking experience while delighting your family.

Perfect for cold, rainy, Fall weather when you are kind of stuck indoors.

No Knead Artisan Bread

Finished loaf should cool on a wire rack if possible

Finished loaf should cool on a wire rack if possible

3 Cups all purpose flour or bread flour

1/4 tsp Instant Yeast

1 1/4 tsp Real Salt

1 5/8 Cup water



1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast and salt.  Add the water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 12-14 hours at room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2.  Dough is ready when the surface is dotted with bubbles.  Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on the floured surface.  Sprinkle with a little more flour.  Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball in about 30-60 seconds.  Pinch seam together on the bottom. The less handling the better.

3.  Generously coat a cotton kitchen towel (not terry) with flour, wheat bran or corn meal.  Place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more flour.  Cover with another cotton towel and allow to rise for 2 more hours or so.  The dough is ready when it is more than double in size.  This dough isn’t likely to fall.

4.  Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees with a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot such as cast iron, enamel or Pyrex, in the oven to pre-heat as well.  After about 25-30 minutes, carefully remove the pot from the oven.  Slide your hand under the towel, and flip the dough over so the seam side is up.  You may think you have wrecked your loaf, and it may look messy, but trust me on this, this is OK.  With seam side up, the loaf “blooms” or opens up while baking.  Cover the pot with the lid.  Return to the oven for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid and bake another 15 minutes or until the loaf is beautifully browned.  Cool it on a rack.


Putting the Garden to Bed


Cooler temperatures tell us it’s time to put the garden to bed and store the fall harvest to be enjoyed throughout the winter.

Fall Harvest

At my home, potatoes have been dug up (one of my favorite garden chores) and stored away in a dry, cool place.  I have now harvested half the carrots and left the other half in the ground.  The carrot tops have been removed from the carrots  in the ground and covered with 16 inches of straw.  In mid-to-late winter, I’ll be able to harvest out of the ground the sweetest, tastiest carrots ever because they over-winter well when covered deeply with straw or bags of leaves.

Store up squash and pumpkins

Store up squash and pumpkins

Also, my garden cart is heaped up full, with butternut, delicata and sweet meat squash and pumpkins.  I bake and process the pumpkins for pies and soups.

I also like to roast the pumpkin seeds for munching while they last.  One secret to tasty, nutritious pumpkin seeds is to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes.

Lastly, we’re enjoying kale and swiss chard in soups and stir-fries.  More kale and chard have been frozen – hopefully enough to enjoy in soups and stews this winter and last until spring!

FermentedbeetsFermenting Vegetables

I have also just harvested the last of the beets and turnips and made fermented beets and turnips for the first time.  I learned the art of fermenting  from local fermentation guru, Maria Hodkins.  It’s not to late to ferment just about any leftover/surplus veggies like carrots, cabbage, broccoli, onions, etc without using vinegar, pressure canners or freezers.

Fermentation, makes it’s own vinegar, so-to-speak, which is actually  lactic acid produced by bacteria naturally present in our environment.  Not only are the naturally occurring bacteria beneficial for health and eliminate the canning process, but the fermented veggies can be stored for months in cold storage or refrigerators.