Yes, I am THE Jenny Smith

How to double or triple your asparagus yield

We end up with a lot of asparagus each year, and I mean A LOT. I have 25 asparagus plants out, and they produce like gang busters all season. It’s so amazingly tasty out of the garden that I often eat it raw while I’m cutting. It’s so good! I’ve been growing this asparagus for six years now, and I’ve been experimenting with longer cuts for the past four years. Read below for my tips on increasing your asparagus yield. 1. Include female plants When I was planning our asparagus bed years ago, the recommend number of plants was 10 plants for every person in your family. That would have been 40 plants for us. I knew how long my…

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Bear Claw blooms

The tomato plants I ordered from Laurel’s Heirloom Plants in California came in on Saturday! She had them packaged really well, but wow — they sure looked gnarly when they first came out of the packaging: They looked weak to me, and the potting mix was totally dry, so I decided to wait a few days before planting them out to see how they’d fluff out: The craziest thing about these plants is the flowers. Look at this monster bloom on the Bear Claw: I fertilized with a little bit of Neptune’s Harvest as a foliar spray on Monday, and my plants are looking amazing: They are definitely ready for planting, but it’s going to be down in the thirties…

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Great weather but…

It’s beautiful outside today! It’s 70 degrees with sunshine and a light breeze — almost couldn’t be better weather. It was so nice, but I decided not to plant my tomatoes after all. First off, the garden looked like this less than 48 hours ago: Gross, right? Even today every foot step in the garden is still squishy. I decided not to plant when I knew the plants would be waterlogged, plus I saw this on some of my seedlings yesterday: It definitely looks like leaf spot, as contrasted with this: … which is cold damage. I am actually feeling vindicated. There’s a master gardner who is always reminding people that soil harbors disease. She’s a super nice person, but…

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Finished drip line, planting, sharing

The weather was unseasonably warm yesterday, which means a thunderstorm is coming, That meant I needed to focus on getting stuff done outdoors before the rain came. Sydney reluctantly went out to the garden with me to help install the remainder of the drip line. I didn’t get any great pictures, but you get the idea. We put in tubing at the base of the bean trellis on either side, plus added 3 foot rows since I’ll have this in tomatoes. 1/4” tubing has a limit of 30 feet per run. The length around the straw bales is 22 feet, plus I needed a little extra to get from the mainline up to the bales. We debated, and decided to…

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Garden testing and infrastructure

Today I’m going to post about the infrastructure we are adding to the garden this year in the form of drip irrigation and a new squash trellis, plus I’ll talk about the confusing at home soil test I did. I’ve long wanted to add drip irrigation to the garden — I’m a lazy gardener at heart, and I’d love to have a system that automatically waters for me when it’s dry outside. Jared looked at some of the “smart” systems out there and determined they wouldn’t do what I wanted, so he got an Arduino and some other electronic-y stuff to build me a custom WiFi operated three-zone water valve system. It was cute how excited he got when it…

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A corona virus wedding

I’ve been recovering most of last week from the craziness. In addition to a scare where one of my Aunt’s aide’s tenants came down the corona virus, helping Sydney get her college plan finally figured out, and executing her Zoom birthday party, Caleb decided to go ahead and elope, corona virus style. He and his fiancée have been living here since mid March, and when it became clear that the temples probably wouldn’t open in time for them to get married on June 6 as planned, plus the fact Emma had to go back to Utah to move out of her dorm meaning she and Caleb would be quarantined apart, they decided to just go ahead and get married. Caleb…

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Comparing Burpee Organic Seed Starting Mix vs Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix for transplanted tomato seedlings – Results

Well, there is a clear winner in my soil medium test, and it was not the product I expected. The contenders You’ll recall that in my original post where I described transplanting mass-planted tomato seedlings, I was transplanting six Cherokee Purple seedlings into larger pots and decided to test the two mixes I had head to head. I had Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix and Burpee eco-friendly Organic Seed Starting Mix: I could tell from the beginning that the Miracle Gro did seem to hold water better than the Burpee when I transplanted on April 6: I planted out the tomatoes: These have been inside for a total of about 7 days over the past 21 days while we…

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Starting the straw bales

Well, it’s a week later than planned thanks to Sydney’s Zoom birthday and Caleb’s Zoom wedding, but today I started to season the straw bales. It should take about two weeks for them to be ready for planting. I didn’t bother to try and water them in — I’ll rely on the rain that’s coming this afternoon to do it for me: I can’t remember if I said this earlier, but Jared set up the straw bales under the shade structure we built last year so we can use it to support plants using the Florida weave. That’ll save me some money in tomato cages since the weave only requires sturdy posts and some twine. I’m going to put tomatoes…

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Lovely Asparagus!

We have been so busy with the wedding the last few days that I have done very little on the garden. It’s a good excuse, but I’m ready to get back to work starting tomorrow. Today started out cold with temperatures down in the thirties, but it has been sunny outside all day and the weather warmed up to the mid sixties by afternoon. I was worried the asparagus might be out of control, but the cold weather kept it growing slowly. I guess today’s total asparagus haul was about 2 lbs! I grilled several stalks to go with with my supper of leftover German food from the wedding. It was delicious beyond all reason. Salt, pepper, and lemon juice.…

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The Allure of Church at Home

Having Church at home for the last few weeks has made me realize that I could live like this indefinitely. Even though I’m what is called outgoing or extroverted, I’ve loved loved LOVED being at home to do church with my family. 10 minutes of sacrament and some gospel talk seems like plenty. It makes me wonder why we have so much fluff at Church, and honestly, I’ve wondered if I’ll even bother going back after this. The bishop called about a thing relative to my calling (potentially putting some music together that people can include in their at-home Easter worship), and I told him I was struggling to want to go back. He laughed. I don’t think he realized…

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Sprouting Scarlet Runner Beans in a plastic bag

I planted some scarlet runner beans that I got from my friend, Susan, far too late last year. They came up very quickly, but they just didn’t grow enough to really put on for me. I got only three or four pods from the 10 seeds I planted. This year I decided to try again, since I’ve read that runner beans might come back from their underground runners each year in my zone. I’d like to have some permacropped vegetables in my garden if I can get them started. So I bought some scarlet runner beans off Amazon and I decided to sprout them inside the house so I could check the germination rate. On Sunday evening, I put 10…

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Comparing Burpee Organic Seed Starting Mix vs Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix for transplanted tomato seedlings

While I was pulling weeds in between my Simple kettlebell sets this morning, I found a big six plug seed starting tray underneath the one of the holly bushes. Yay! I decided to try transplanting the Cherokee Purple tomato seedlings into it and test out the two types of planting medium I have for kicks and giggles. The Miracle Gro is definitely damper than the Burpee mix. I guess that moisture control really works. I didn’t have my grow light set up immediately when the first seeds sprouted, and so the tomatoes in the first flat were a little leggy — some almost 4 inches tall! Planting them deeply will correct this, however, and the long stems will make for…

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