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.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mulch galore.

This week we had fourteen round bales delivered to the farm.  Two flax straw bales and the rest are barley straw bales.  The bales are a couple of years old and not suitable for too many uses, but they are perfect for us.  We were able to use a straw shredder, so the day they were delivered we shredded all 14 bales.  The pictures below are the piles of straw awaiting to be spread as mulch throughout the gardens this year.  The flax straw will be used on the perennials and shrubs, as it takes a long time to break down and the barley straw will be used on the annual crops.

Our grandchildren playing in the piles of straw.

This week we are still busy planting, preparing the soil for planting, mulching and weeding.  We have not received any rain this Spring, so the surface moisture of the soil is lacking , but there is moisture a few inches into the soil.  Anything we seed we have to keep moist till it germinates, and then we cut back on the watering so the roots go down to where the moisture exists. 
The birds are all settling into making their nests and some have started to lay their eggs.  Have been enjoying the song of the Northern Oriole lately.  They are a bit shy and don't show their faces too much, but maybe this year they will be a little more comfortable with us.  The barn swallows just arrived back today and both of the hummingbirds are back and chasing each other away from the nectar feeders.
We also noticed this Spring that there are a lot more bumblebees (the large yellow and black bees) in the yard.  A new plant called the Red Feathers is blooming right now and the bees are all over it.  The hummingbirds have also been visiting the flowers.
The special we are offering this week is an Allium I have had for a long time.  It grows 18-24" tall, forms clumps, blooms in late June to early July (light pink) and thrives in full sun.  It is one of those perennials that has been around for a long time.  It will be available this week for $5.00 in a gallon size pot at the Saskatoon Farmers Market.  

Bees and butterflies love this plant (allium).

Another new item we have this year is a Little Lamb Hydrangea.  Hardy to zone 3, grows to 100cm x 100cm (6-8' tall & 5-6' wide), prefers full sun and has white flowers which bloom from July to September.  It is great for smaller gardens and the flowers come in delicate white masses and can be depended upon year after year in our northern gardens with reliable flower colour regardless of the soil ph.  It also does well as a cutflower, fresh or dried.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spring at the farm.

Time seems to be passing by quicker every day it gets warmer.  Before you know it it is nightfall again and another beautiful day has passed.  There have been a lot of beautiful days lately and we are taking full advantage.  Seeding is in full swing and many of the crops of vegetables and flowers has been planted.  Some of the vegetables are into their 2nd and 3rd plantings.  We will wait until the last week in May and first week in June to start transplanting the frost tender plants.
To continue on with the Robin story from the previous post, we finally had to park the car in the garage to encourage the Robins to find another host for it's nest.  So then they decided the water truck would be a good choice, so now they have to move with the truck as it gets driven and parked in different locations.  More and more birds that we have not seen before are stopping on their way to somewhere else.  We seen the Orioles this week and Mr. Hummingbird arrived back this week.  No sign of Ms Hummingbird yet.
We are going to have the largest selection of perennials we have ever had at the market this Saturday.  We will also have many annuals and vegetables, such as celery and zucchini and squash along with Tomatoes and Peppers.
This week we are offering a couple of specials.  The Dahlias are available for $7.00 and the Sweet Peas are $2.00.
Happy planting.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dahlia selection for 2011.

We listed below the different Dahlia's we have available this year.  They are all great for cutting for beautiful bouquets.  Pot them up on your deck or plant them in your flower or vegetable garden.  

Naomi is my absolute favorite dahlia of all the dahlia's we grow.  It is in the Karma series which was developed for the cut industry.  It has deep red flowers on very tall, sturdy stems.  Long vase life and grows to about 48" tall.  A real show stopper.

Fuschsiana is in the Karma series, so an excellent cut flower with a long vase life.  It is a fuchsia pink with gold highlights.  Flowers are about 5" in diameter and grows to 36".

Bob Bini
Another variety in the Karma series.  Flame red with yellow bursting from the centre and the flower size is about 6" with a long vase life.  Height is about 35-40" tall.

Salmon orange with a soft yellow heart.  Included in the Karma series, with cactus shaped petals which are about 5" in diameter.  Excellent cut flower and grows to 36".

Yin Yang
Reddish purple flowers with small white tips.  Included in the Karma series, good cut flower, flower diameter 6".  Long vase life.  Height 36".

Thomas A. Edison
Rich velvet purple with flowers 6-8" in diameter.  This dahlia is in the Decorative series and grows to about 40". Good cut flower.

Purple-blue flowers of about 6" diameter.  Very floriferous.  Belongs to the Karma series and grows to about 32".

Fata Morgana
Belongs to the Bronze Leaf series, with orange flowers and bronze foliage.  Grows to 35".  

Another in the Karma series with extremely dark red flowers, 6" in diameter.  A real show stopper.  Excellent cut flowers and height of 38".

The plants have all been growing since March so will start producing flowers in July until freezing temperatures return.  When planting dig a hole twice as big as the root system and amend with compost/manure and bone meal.  Water once a week if it does not rain.  We fertilize the dahlias when they are actively flowering with a fish fertilizer and seaweed.  When we plant our dahlias, we put a tomato cage over the plant and as the plant grows the cage is covered by the foliage.  Be sure to cut your flowers often as they will continue to produce more and more flowers the more you cut them.  The cut flowers will last about 5-7 days in a vase.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bird extravaganza!

Lots of opportunities to bird watch around here lately.  We biked down to a small slough situated on both sides of our grid road and watched a pair of  Horned Grebe's and a pair of Common Goldeneye's along with lots of Red Winged Blackbirds.  The Grebe and Goldeneye are new to the slough this year.  While we were hanging out at the slough we spotted a couple of groups of  Trumpeter Swan's flying over.  Earlier today we saw a Blue Heron fly over our yard.  Every year it takes the same flight path over our yard, to wherever it is going, in the morning and then back at night.  We also saw a large grouping of the Sandhill Cranes again, but we will probably not see them too much longer as they head a little farther north for the summer and then we see them again in the fall on their way south.  They do not hang around too long in the fall in our area like they do in the Spring.
While our grandchildren were out for a couple of days last week we came across a duck nesting close to our house in a bushy area.  It had built it's nest on the ground right beside a path we take down into our valley.  When we walked by, she flew out and we counted about six eggs that we could see from the path.  Unfortunately a few days later we wanted to see if she was still sitting on the eggs and she was no where around and there were broken shells on the ground.  Another critter had a nice meal.  We were looking forward to watching them grow up in the valley slough.
Now onto the Tree Swallows.  They are back in large numbers.  We think all the baby birds came back along with their parents.  We counted about 17 pairs so far.  Of course not enough bird houses again this year, so off Pat went to build five more houses tonight.  They fight with the Bluebirds and Sparrows if there aren't enough boxes for them all.  We sure hope the mosquito problem will be managed by the Swallows this year.  We have also noticed the Robin population is growing.  Today we were watching a Robin building a nest on top of our back car tire.  By the time we noticed what it was doing, it had quite a lot of nesting material on top of the tire.  So we had to move the car to get it to find another spot to build it's nest.  After we had the car moved we watched the Robin come back with another mouthful of nesting material, and it was wandering around in the area the car was previously parked in, not sure what went on with it's nest.  Then later on this morning we had a visitor and he parked his vehicle in the same spot as we had the car parked in previously.  By the time he was ready to leave, which only was about a half hour, the Robin had started building it's nest on the back tire of his vehicle.  Priceless.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Mother's day.

Things are really starting to pick up around here.  All the perennials are starting to send out shoots, the birds are busy going about their mating rituals.  The weather is warming nicely and we had a little bit of rain last night and this morning.  We had a few spots in some of the gardens where the soil had warmed considerably, so we planted radish, onions, potatoes, beets, kohlrabi and lettuce.  The rain will aid them along in germination as long as it warms back up again tomorrow.
The greenhouses are bursting.  The tomatoes and peppers were transplanted a few days ago and we will start on the flowers next week.  The perennials have been moved outdoors to the cold frames to make room for the tomatoes.  They are all adjusting to the sunshine and cooler evening temperatures.
We are back to the Saskatoon Farmer's Market this weekend, Sat May 7th in our permanent location for the summer season.  This weekend we will have a very large selection of Hypertufa planters potted with succulents for Mother's Day gift giving.  We will also be offering our Pick a Pot, Pick a Plant, whereby you pick out an empty hypertufa of your choice, in size and shape and the plants you would like to plant in the planter and we pot them up for you while you shop at the market.  This way you can create something unique to your specific needs.
We will also have a large selection of perennials available.  Some of the plants we will have are a Rhubarb plant called Canada Red, a new variety of Daylily - Lavender Blue Baby, Echium amoenum - Red Feathers, Iris Germanica - Avalon Sunset, Brunnera Mac. - Jack Frost, Campunala Glom Freya, Asclepias Tuberosa - Butterfly flower, Ligularia Przewalski and Sedum Caut. Lidacense.
We will feature two of the new perennials in this post, the Echium and the Iris.
Iris Germanica Avalon Sunset is a bearded iris with bright eye catching vibrant orange flowers with tangerine beards.  They have strong stems, and bloom mid-late season.  Prefer full sun, good for cutflowers and attract hummingbirds.  Plants prefer slightly alkaline soil.  Hardy to zone 3-9.  

Fully open.

They are almost completely open in the greenhouse.

The other perennial  is Echium amoenum - Red Feathers.  Red Feather forms very low growing mounds of narrow dark green foliage, feathery flowering spikes arising in spring with a multitude of russet-red florets.  They bloom for long periods of time and if deadheaded will rebloom and can be cut for vases.  Very drought tolerant once established and grows well in poorer soils.  Prefers full sun with a well draining soil, excellent addition to the rock garden.  Hardy to zone 3-9.
Starting to show colour on the flower spikes.