Welcome to Mistik Acres.

We hope you are able to form a connection with us, and the products we grow and produce on the land we live and work with.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Sounds of Spring

Since we last posted we have been very busy getting our flower growing season off to a start.  April 1st we opened the greenhouses and started moving seedlings and Dahlias out of the basement under lights to the pure sunshine.  This is the earliest date yet opening the greenhouses, since we started flower farming.  The weather was so beautiful we could not see any reason not too.  Right now we are experiencing a cold trend.  The night time temps are going down to -10C, but the heaters have been able to keep the greenhouses above zero.  An extremely positive thing because they are bursting with plants inside, and their are so many yet to be moved out.  As soon as the weather levels off again and stays regular we will start shuffling the cold hardy annuals outdoors to make room for the babies and Dahlias germinating in the basement.



There are signs of Spring everywhere.  The Sandhill Cranes are floating over the farm everyday right now.  We are on their migration route to the North and they stop in the area for a few weeks to a month before they move further north.  They are a huge bird and make this very unique sound.  You often can hear them before you see them as they tend to float about, very high above, and catching a glimpse of them when they are that high can be difficult.  There are Robins frolicking and Sparrows flitting around and a couple of Bluebirds are back checking out the birdhouses Pat has built.  Every year we have many new birds visiting and staying to raise their young.  We keep a log book of dates when the different species are sighted for the first time in Spring every year.


The Beavers are out and about in the pasture slough and the geese and ducks are joining them and hanging out.  Hopefully we will have a lot of water fowl taking up residence this summer.


It really is a wonderful time to be living in the country.  Watching the flora and fauna embracing the warmer temps and waking up never ceases to amaze us.  


The grandkids are off from school this week so we will have sleepovers at the farm, which means picnics in the pasture, skipping rocks in the sloughs, crocus hunting, getting the bikes dusted off and tuned up, and playing on the swings and in the sandbox.  


Succulent assortment we will have available this Spring at the Saskatoon Farmers Market.  More info to come. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Seed Starting

We have officially started our flower growing season this week.  Seeding has begun.  There are many flowers and vegetables that either take a long time to grow or are cold tolerant, meaning they can be transplanted outdoors before the last frost with a bit of protection after being fully hardened off.
Flowers classified as cool flowers, meaning they prefer the cooler temperatures as to the heat of mid summer, are Snapdragons, Dianthus, Icelandic Poppies, Dusty Miller, Stock, Feverfew, and Sweetpeas etc.  These can be transplanted outside before our last frost date.

Verbena Bonariensis and Daucus Carota (Chocolate Lace), like to have a cold period once they are seeded.  So those are placed in our garage where it gets below freezing.  Some seeds need to be surface sown, as light aids germination and others require complete darkness.  Other varieties require a temperature of 20C to germinate so a lot of our seeded trays are placed on a heat mat to get the temperature of the soil up to the correct temperature.  Generally they say the soil temperature is 5C degrees below the room temperature without a heat mat.


I use 128 plug tray for most of the seeding.  I use larger plugs if they are fast growing.  I fill the trays with a seed starting mix with added coir and tamp the trays so the soil settles in each plug.  Hence no air space in the soil.  Roots do not like pockets of air in the soil. 
My seeder preference is this little green device pictured above.  I am able to control the number of seeds that go into each plug with ease.  The tiny seeds are the most challenging, so much patience is required.  The soil is moist before going into the trays and once the soil is in, I water each plug again to settle the soil.  Not too much though as you do not want the soil to be dripping wet.  Then the seeds are seeded and depending on the variety they are either covered with soil or left on the surface without any cover.  I also use vermiculite when the seeds only want a light covering.  The vermiculite also holds the moisture consistently on the surface where the seed is.


Then a humidity dome is placed over the trays and they are placed on the heat mat which is in the warmest room in our house.  Most seeds will germinate within a few days, whereby some take a little longer.

Here are a couple of links to seed starting info to specific seed varieties.  Most seed packages have this info printed on them, but you may need further information on some types of flowers or vegetables.
http://tomclothier.hort.net/
http://www.johnnyseeds.com/growers-library/growing-center.html

Happy Seeding!!!!!

Monday, February 6, 2017

February Spurs the Gardener in us All

As soon as February rolls in you immediately notice the light becoming stronger and lasting longer.  This seems to trigger an internal clock in all gardeners and we all start becoming alert to the anticipation of growing again.  Mid February is our first seed starting of artichoke, celery and a few flowers, Icelandic Poppies, Snapdragons, Dusty Miller, Stock and Dianthus.  Flowers that like cool weather will tolerate the cold nights in the greenhouse.  Hardened off properly they will tolerate light frosts once they are transplanted in the garden.  We can use row covers to protect them after they are planted if the temperatures really drop in April and May.  We also plant cool season flowers early in our small hoopouse after the tulips have all been harvested.  Once the cool flowers have finished we plant row cover like oats or buckwheat to incorporate green manure for nutrients for the tulips we plant in the fall.

We have also started waking up a few varieties of Dahlias and have placed them on a heat mat covered in a peat mix.  Once they start sending up shoots we will take cuttings and root on the heat mat to increase our stock of plants for the growing season.


Babette Dahlia


Elma Elizabeth Dahlia

We have a Dahlia Tubers listing available for purchase.  Click on the highlighted/underlined link.  Shipping across Canada or other arrangements can be made.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Feels like Spring




The weather has been so beautiful lately so we have been taking a lot of walks to our pasture.  Max loves it out there and he has a companion, Daisy, for a few weeks. 


When we first moved out to this location we had many bluffs of Trembling Aspen/Poplar scattered throughout the land.  In the past six years many of these bluffs have accumulated large amounts of water that does not drain away.  Hence we have large bluffs of trees that are now dead, still standing in the water, but the trees have all drowned.  Once the water freezes thick enough we start exploring these areas, walking amongst all the dead trees observing the various changes that are taking place in the trees.  At some point in their decay different types of fungi start growing, woodpeckers peck holes in the trees looking for insects and there are some birds that excavate cavities in the dead trees and raise their young in them.  We even found a large egg in one of the cavities.  


You can see the frozen water around the base of this tree.



Beautiful fungus



The beavers have also moved into this bluff and have built two huts. The picture above is of all the trees they have taken down over the last couple of years.


The landscape is forever changing and I am sure over time when the water dries up again, the beavers will move on and new trees will grow once again.


A nest cavity perhaps or the birds may hang out in the hole when the weather is at it's worst.




Friday, May 29, 2015

Spring update!

Spring is clipping along at breakneck speed.  Not enough time in the day to get all the tasks completed.  It has been frustrating lately as we have had to hold off transplanting anything frost sensitive due to the cold front that moved into the province yesterday and is hanging around for another day or two.  But we have focused on transplanting all the snapdragons, stock, dianthus, forget me nots, annual phlox, lupines, sweet peas, icelandic poppies and campunala. 

The anemone and ranunculus corms are all starting to grow.  We soaked them and covered them with mulch this week so now will patiently wait to see those lovely blooms.

All the birds are now back to the yard as well as the bats have taken up residence in the bat houses again.  Pat had to put up more houses for the Tree Swallows again this year so we are probably up to about 60 pairs of birds on our land.  

We are really looking forward  to this growing season as we have an extra pair of hands to assist us with the production of the flowers.  We would like to welcome Sara Kuleza to the farm.  She volunteered at the farm last year and was interested in helping us out this year on a regular basis. 

I had a telephone call from Edna Manning this morning to let me know that the article she wrote for Grainews about our flower farm has been published.  The link is below to read the article.   http://www.grainews.ca/digital-edition/grainews-  She always writes great articles.  Thanks again Edna.  We sure appreciate it.





The greenhouses are stuffed due to the cold temps last night.  Everything that was being hardened off was brought indoors.





Lilies are in crates this year.


The water truck.  Have had to haul a lot of water already this Spring.


A few of the Dahlia's starting to bloom.


The Clematis's we bought and planted last fall are growing like crazy.  I think we will be cutting those this summer.


Cafe au Lait Dahlia


Ice Cube Dahlia

Both of the above Dahlias will be available at the Saskatoon Farmers Market Saturday May 30th.  These two particular varieties will be on sale at 50% off.  Regular price is $10.00 each.  If you still have room in your garden come on down and pick yourself up a few plants.  We will also have a large selection of Dahlias at regular price as well.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dahlia Plants

We have a large selection of Dahlia plants available for purchase this Spring.  Starting Saturday May 16th we will be at the Saskatoon Farmers Market with the plants in tow.  The following plants will be available till the end of May or until we are sold out.  Some varieties are limited quantities.


Cafe au Lait


Summer Night


Worton Blue Streak


Babylon Bronze


Ice Cube


Boom Boom


Darkarin


Babylon Purple


Maarten Zwaan


Sylvia


Ferncliff Tropics


Lauren Michelle


Wyns King Salmon


Camano Buzz


David Digweed


Thomas Edison


Elsie Huston


For detailed information about each variety go to our facebook page at  www.facebook.com/mistik.acres.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tidbits of Spring

I love Spring!!  Right now the Sandhill Cranes are floating overhead serenading us with their talk and beating of their wings.  Their wings produce this whooosh whoosh sound you can hear if they are flying low enough.  The afternoon they disappear and then evening they head back to their night resting grounds.  There are many Robins flitting about and singing.  Probably starting to pair up and begin nest building.  Noticed a few Tree Swallows yesterday and the Cat birds.  We sighted a male Bluebird a couple of times but have not seen a female yet.  Hope he brings a mate back to the farm as we love to see them throughout the yard all summer with their babies.  The resident rabbits are turning brown from their white winter coats.
The Delphiniums are starting to show growth along with the Angelica.  They are always the first to spring to life.  The greenhouses are filling up and soon we will have to spill into the hoophouse.  The following are a few photos of springtime at Mistik Acres.


Rudbeckia, three varieties.  
We have a fan running at all times circulating the air over the seedlings,  developing strong sturdy stems and helping prevent bugs from infesting the plants.



The Dahlias are looking great.



Scented Geranium



Max my helper



Anemone corms ready to soak



Planting the Anemone corms.  Notice the helper in the photo again.
Not much of a help.  Lays on the newly planted flowers.




We used a bottle to make the depressions for the corms.  Worked real slick.
In no time we had them planted along with the overwintered Ranunculus corms.




Hoophouse is ready for planting.




The second hoophouse under construction.  Will be ready to plant within a couple of weeks.



The crates I use to sprout the Dahlia tubers.  I like to see sprouts before I pot up the Dahlia tubers.
After danger of frost is past we transplant them into the gardens.




Coconut coir ready to be soaked.  I use this in my potting soil to help prevent my seedling soil from turning green and to add moisture holding matter to the soil.  It doubles in size once the water is added and absorbed. 




I use an old basin to mix up the soil with the coir and fertilizer prior to seeding and transplanting.




I water all the plants with warm water.  This is my heating probe I use in the greenhouse.  When the weather starts heating up the sun warms the water.




Angelica plants coming to life.  They are such an awesome plant for attracting beneficial insects to the gardens.




We have a couple of sets of Magpies nesting in the yard this year.  This is one of the nests.