Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pioneer Day Celebration and Garden Report

    I worked in the bee store yesterday and then spent the rest of the day at the bee booth at our stake pioneer day celebration. I'm not sure what the connection is between Mormon pioneer day and honeybees other than the fact that Brigham Young was  quite taken with the honeybee as a symbol of thrift and industry. I had nothing to do with choosing that theme for a booth and was just there to be helpful. It still felt a little awkward as it couldn't help but promote my business. The fry bread booth next to us had no such conflicts. I'm not aware that anyone in the stake operates a fry bread business. We had a little observation hive and let people taste some of the different varieties of local honey.  The fry bread booth had Costco honey so it was easy for people to compare local raw honey to pasteurized generic honey.

   Linda came with James and Beth and their kids.  Lucy and Britton were both very cute in their little sun bonnets.  I wish I had thought to take some pictures. I know that John and I are still pretty tight as he trusted me to hold his root beer for a while. Their ward (Woods Creek) and our ward were both involved with the gold panning booth on the other side of the bee booth. Both the gold panning booth and the fry bread booth were extremely popular. It looked like the kids had a good time. I wish I could have spent more time with them.

    I had a very busy day earlier at the store.  I had planned to close a little early as the pioneer day activity started at 3:30 pm.  The store was so busy that the best I could manage was  closing 15 minutes early.  I had customers waiting in line until shortly before closing time.  I had one customer show up who is one of my trading partners.  He reminded me that he still owes me some produce from a package bee trade last year.  I put in an order for peaches and pickling cucumbers. I probably should have gotten tomatoes too, but I'm hesitant to take on too many canning projects at once.

   I've had a difficult time getting the cucumbers started in our garden as the slugs have wreaked such havoc on them. I had to get new starts and replant them several times. In spite of the  mass quantities of slugs I've fed to the ducks, there were still enough left to wipe out the cucumbers several times.  I've finally got it down to the point that I can only find a few slugs for the ducks when I do my morning slug patrol.  I guess the obvious solution is that I need more ducks next year. It would also be helpful if I could let them out of their pen to forage more often earlier in the year before the gardens are planted.  The big problem is that there are so many creatures that like to eat duck. Flightless ducks are even more vulnerable.  Even though they are called runner ducks they don't compete well in a foot race with a dog or a coyote.
Rockwell dry beans with volunteer pumpkin

Blue Lake pole beans with a sunflower and broccoli from Rachel's garden

    Other aspects of our vegetable garden are doing very well.  My dry beans are looking quite lush at the moment and have lots of blossoms. The Rockwell beans look healthier and more vigorous than the Yin Yang beans. The Blue Lake pole beans also seem to be doing well and I am optimistic that I will get a good harvest of green beans to can.  I'm also interested in trying lacto-fermentation with green beans.  I hope Linda is happy with the cute garden in the front. I have made an extra effort to keep that part of the garden well weeded. I have some yellow summer squash and spaghetti squash in the front garden that I purchased as starts. they seem to be doing well.  The slugs decimated all of the squash plants I started from seeds.  The one exception is the volunteer pumpkins that are snaking their way out of my little bean field.  At least I think they are pumpkins. The winter squash I planted from seed did so poorly that I couldn't bring myself to weed out the nice big healthy volunteer winter squash plants.

   I planted red cabbage this year. What I have left seems to be doing okay, but I ended up with a lot less plants than I wanted. Once again the slugs showed no mercy. I wanted to do some red sour kraut
but I don't think we will just have enough for fresh use.  Although my onions survived the transplanting from the site of the access road, it was obviously too late to do that.  I ended up with smallish bulbs that aren't really useable.  In contrast, the little portion of my corn field that survived the road construction seems to be doing well.  I should at least get to see how well the new indian corn variety works out. Hopefully I will get enough seeds to plant next year with some left over to try in corn bread.  I think we also have a nice crop of potatoes in the works. I look forward to digging potatoes with grand kids.


  1. Slug bait? I've heard the key to success is putting it far draw the slugs away from your beloved/hopefully productive plants.

  2. The best short term remedy for slugs that I have found is a product called Deadline. It is a semiliquid that you can pour into a barrier around your plants that the slugs can't pass. Metaldehyde is the active ingredient and it supposedly doesn't leave nasty residues in the soil. It has to be replenished more frequently when the weather is rainy and we had a very rainy spring. I've used watermelon and cantaloup rinds as a means to attract the slugs away from the plants. We just had a seriously bad slug year and I should have spent a little more on Deadline instead of relying so much on handpicking and the ducks. Three sets of cucumber starts later I think we are finally in good shape as to our slug population.