Friday, May 15, 2020

I'm Back!

I have been occupied with a lot of projects in the last couple of years, and even more work since I returned to working for the man. Through all of this time I have missed doing this blog. So I am back and I hope that I can keep helping your garden become the best it can be!


Monday, December 4, 2017

Utah Apples: Red Delicious



Flavor: Sweet.
Fruit Size: Average
Texture: Grainy, crisp only before ripening.
Storage: 1-2 months.
Best Uses: Dried, fresh and baking in a pinch.


USDA zones: 5-8
Harvest Time: Midseason.
Chill Requirement: 700 hours.
Tree Size: Average.
Self Pollinating? No
Best Pollinators: Cortland, Enterprise, Harrison, Hewe's Virginia Crab, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, Newtown Pippin, Northern Spy, Pixie Crunch.

Disease Resistance

Cedar Apple Rust: Resistant.
Fireblight: Some resistance.
Mildew: Some resistance.
Scab: Susceptible.


Country: USA
Year(s): 1880


Jesse Hiatt found this tree in Iowa and did not like the location, so he tried to remove it multiple times. He failed in his attempts, but somewhere along the way decided that the actual variety (which he called Hawkeye) was worth keeping and sent it to Stark Brothers Nursery in 1892 as part of a contest to pick a new apple to replace 'Ben Davis'. Stark Brothers really liked the apple and added it to their line and changed the name to Delicious. The name was later switched to Red Delicious one the golden variety was named in the early 1900's.


This is my least favorite apple. I have had a good one every once in a while, but over all Red Delicious does not provide a good eating experience and if I have the choice I would rather plant any number of apple varieties rather than this. That having been said, Red Delicious is a good pollinator of other apples and makes a good dried apple whose quality surprises many people. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Permaculture and the Art of Hate

I am on one of my separations from permaculture right now. Not that I have given up on the principals or methods, but the people are burning me out. In the last year I have seen one of the most noted teachers in field freely let religious hate be posted on his personal page unchecked and another continue his battle with native plant enthusiasts and those who's environmental concerns he doesn't agree with. Another notable permi had yet another tiff on one his Facebook groups and was handling it so poorly that I asked to be removed and blocked so that I would not leave the group for a second time and then come back later only to find that he is fighting with someone again. One of the local permies is branching out and has flooded many groups with her hunting hate rhetoric and one of the notable permies in my area has been creating a bad name by tackling folks on religious issues that he does not agree with. 

Top it all off with a presidential election has been nastier than any in living memory and I am just worn out!

The things that are giving me hope are those that are focusing on leaning good gardening without worrying about the names attached to it. This is particularly true of the middle and high school students I am privileged to teach this semester. They have not shown me the accumulated pride and inflexibility that has become the standard in our current society. 


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Ecologically Rich Border Lands

Often times you hear about hedgerows providing ecological diversity when they are used to separate fields and pastures. Out here in the semiarid parts of Utah hedgerows are unheard of. Yes, we have ornamental hedges that are sheared to oblivion and managed nearly as harshly as turf grass. So what do dry-landers do to bring diversity to our farms and homesteads?

I introduce you to the ditch bank! When Utah was first settled the only way to get a crop that the settlers from the East could recognize was to irrigate with water coming down from the mountains. Over the years an impressive number of canals and ditches were built. For decades this supplied many of the crops that Utahans relied on for food and to feed their livestock.

It wasn't long before some irrigation-less dry farming took hold, but for all practical purposes the ditches were about everywhere and a wide diversity of plants grew in them and around them. This was Utah's version of a hedgerow and hedgerow diversity.

Over the years the ditches have lost influence due to urbanization and the rise of pressurized irrigation systems. This has made it vital that we provide alternate spaces planted to create habitat for the critters that bring balance to our systems.

So when you hear about hedge rows and all their glory, remember that each area has an eco system hero of its own. If you don't take the time to look for that hero, you will not be doing your landscape any favors.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Loving Your Bees to Death

At a recent bee club meeting the idea was presented that it was ok to treat you bees with a miticide even when a varroa mite test showed only low levels of mites. The general response to this was if your bees are alive in after winter there is no problem with that. When I tried to explain why I disagreed, I was quickly shushed.

While I firmly believe that there are many good ways to keep bees, there are very good reasons to not treat unless you have to. And these are not just opinions or personal methods, they are based on science and a wide variety of experience in different fields. Let's take a look at why this may harm your bees:

  • The most common miticides are toxic to your bees. Yes, it might seem ok if your bees survive to spring, but pesticides do damage even when they are not killing outright. This is especially true of the queen. 
  • Many miticides have a cumulative effect. This means that the poison you used last year might still be hanging around in the bees and in the hive, bringing the dose you added this year up to honeybee toxic levels.
  • Miticides do not kill all the mites. Those it does not kill usually have some resistance. They will then breed together to make even more resistant mites. With time, the miticide will become useless. While it is easy to say that technology will provide new chemicals, they may not and they will likely take long enough to produce that you will loose a lot of bees before they are available.

Now, even though I am not a fan of a lot of poisons in my bees or my garden, I am not telling you to stop treating altogether. What I am asking you to do is to test before you treat and only treat if your levels are high enough that the bees cannot handle it themselves.

This is the basic idea behind Integrated Pesticide Management (IPM) that has emerged in a number of fields to keep our pesticides from causing more problems than they solve. If you want to know more about IPM please follow this link: or check with your local agriculture university or state extension.

The IPM approach will give your honeybee colonies a better chance of life and keep a lot of problems from happening around them.