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.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The challenges of 2011.

We have been experiencing some great growing conditions and some not so great issues this growing season.  The pea harvest has been fantastic, along with the Saskatoon berries, raspberries and onions.  Disappointed in the bean production, not as plentiful as in past years.  The tomatoes look good so far, but we are experiencing problems with early blight.  It looks like we may lose our entire crop of  Zinnias, due to the blight.  The sunflower leaves are showing signs of it as well, but I think all should be fine with the flowers.  The sweet peas are growing with great vigor along with the Dahlia's. We also have a larger population of aphids this year than any other year previous and a much smaller population of lady bugs.  In fact, I have not seen a lady bug for a least three weeks now.
We will be attending the Saskatoon Farmer's market this weekend with our vegetables, flowers and plants.  The special of the week is a succulent called Large Red Carpet Stonecrop (Crassula radicans) priced at 3.00, regular 5.00 in a 3" pot.  This is a succulent plant similar to the jade family.  Likes the summer sunshine but needs to be brought indoors in the fall before frost.

Large Red Carpet Stonecrop

 The vegetables available this week are, potatoes, beets, green onions, & carrots along with raspberries.  The flowers are plentiful and vibrant.  Sweet peas, lilies, monskhood, calendula, cosmos, sea holly, dahlia, zinnia's and more.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vegetable harvest is underway.

This past week has been the start of harvesting the peas and beans and freezing them for future consumption.  We planted both vegetables in succession, approximately two to three weeks apart.  The second planting of both vegetables are catching up to the first planting, so may have to increase the time frame between plantings next year.  We are also picking and freezing Saskatoon berries every few days.  There are plenty of wild shrubs in our yard and there is enough berries this year for us and the birds.At this time we have picked about six gallons and there are plenty more to ripen.  The raspberries are starting to ripen and we will have them available at the Saskatoon Farmers Market on Saturday.
Hen & Chick blooming.
In recent days the Tree Swallows have left the yard, sure hope they return to consume the mosquito population.  The Bluebirds are feeding their second batch of babies.  The Barn Swallows are feeding their young, as well as the Wrens and Western Wood PeeWee.  We came across a nest of Yellow Warblers while we were picking Saskatoon's.   The babies had a few feathers but their eyes were not open yet, so still very young.  We looked in the nest a week later and the young had all left the nest.  The Robins are still hanging around the yard, feeding on the ground.  I think they may be tending to eggs or babies.
At this time the Barn Swallows are chirping loudly and quite upset.  Very unusual to hear them when it's dark.  So we took a look and an Owl was in the yard, which is what was upsetting them.

There will be plenty of fresh vegetables at the market this week, including leeks.  We tried a recipe for supper this evening with beets called, Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese.  My oh my, that is a tasty combination.  
The flower selection this week will include Sweet Peas, Lilies, a few sunflowers and a whole lot more. 
Fata Morgana Dahlia.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Timely rains.

The volunteer Rudbeckia patch in the rock garden.

We have been so fortunate this past week, with the rain we have been receiving.  Earlier this week we received a half inch and today we received an inch and three quarters.  We were in Saskatoon this morning delivering flowers and it was raining pretty heavy along the route into town, but had not started at the farm yet.  When we got home the rain gauge showed  1 & 3/4 inch.  Looks like it came down pretty heavy as some of the delphinium's were laying on their sides.
We were in the pea patch with our grandchildren this week and the peas are starting to plump up.  Jeremy our youngest, 2yrs old, really enjoyed them.  His reaction after tasting the peas was "mmmmmm juicy".  Kristan was keeping herself busy catching the frogs and playing with them.  She entertains herself for hours with the frogs.
We harvested a few gallons of Saskatoon berries from our shrubs along the tree line by our house yesterday.  We will continue the harvest as they ripen.  This is the first year we have been able to pick from these shrubs as usually they are not real plentiful.  Besides, the birds have always eaten them all, but this year there is enough to share amongst all of us.
A couple of posts ago I had a picture of a perennial that I could not identify,.  Last Saturday at the market one of our customers identified it as Giant Scabiosa.  I really like the flowers for cutting, as the stems are wiry and tall and a beautiful lemon yellow.
We are anticipating a busy week next week with the lily harvest.  If the weather warms up they will all start blooming.  The picture to the left is a lily called Raspberry on Whip.  There are more and more flowers available for cutting and more and more vegetables ready to harvest.  This week at the market we will have new potatoes, beets and beet greens, onions, garlic scapes and the fresh herbs.  The fresh flower table will include lilies, delphiniums, dahlias, and the small and large bouquets.  The hypertufa planters will be on display and the perennial selection is plentiful.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Garden progress.

This week was spent weeding and mulching the flower and vegetable gardens.  We have three of the gardens completed and the fourth one is half done.  We are using barley straw as a mulch on the annual flowers and vegetables and flax straw on the perennials and shrubs.  We plant plots of vegetables beside plots of flowers to try to eliminate the monoculture and all the disease and insect problems that are associated with it.  We also plant the same vegetables or flowers in several gardens, for instance, the onions are planted in all four gardens in small plots.   As you can see the plants are almost lost in the mulch, but they are growing with the heat and moisture we have been experiencing.  By next week at this time a lot of the flower plants will have doubled in size.
 Sweet Pea's starting to bloom!

Dahlias mulched and caged with tomato cages.

Zinnia patch mulched.

Tomatoes and annual flowers planted together.

This year we have three female hummingbirds and one male at the farm.  Pat is kept busy refilling the nectar feeders.  We have identified a Catbird nesting in our lilacs and the Bohemian Waxwings are often seen eating the Saskatoon berries along with the Robins.  There are three young bluebirds feeding on the insects in the yard and plenty of frogs again this year.
This week at the Farmer's Market we will have new potatoes, beets and beet greens, onions, garlic scapes, fresh dill and mint.
The flower selection this week will include the peonies, delphiniums and bouquets of false sunflower, crocosmias, dahlias, sweet williams, etc.  The perennial table will be abundant again this week along with a few Jalapeno and sweet green pepper plants.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer in full swing.

Another week has passed and the gardens are really starting to grow with the warm weather we have had these lase few days along with the abundant moisture.  Everything is now transplanted and some of the beds are weeded and mulched.  Lots of weeding and mulching yet to complete.

The delphiniums are looking grand and starting to open.

The Peony harvest is now complete and they are all wrapped up and stored in the cooler.  They are given a fresh cut and placed in warm water for sales at the market and to the florists.  As you can see below there are plenty of blooms that are still on the plants.  Had to stop harvesting due to lack of cooler space.  Right now the peony patch looks spectacular.  The bees and other pollen loving insects are enjoying the flowers left on the plants.

The picture below is a plant that is self seeding itself in our rock garden.  I am not sure what it is.  It seems to act as a biennial.  I bought this plant a few years ago and it had no identification.  The flower is yellow and my guess is a cornflower or scabiosa.  If anyone knows what this is please e-mail me to help me identify it.  I love the plant.  Right now they are about 4.5' tall and will start blooming soon. Will post more pictures of them in full bloom.

Below are a couple of pictures of the rock garden, my favorite place.  The hens & chicks, sedums and thyme are all doing very well.

This week there are more and more baby birds starting to take flight.  The ravens are flying about with their young ones.  The Robins are on their own now, searching for food and flying around the yard.  The Tree Swallows are increasing in numbers.  They tend to flock together and fly around in bunches.  What a sight that is, with twenty to thirty birds in a bunch exploring the yard, and catching insects.  The baby Bluebirds are out and about now as well.  They have this very soft sound they make and generally the adults don't make this sound that much, but the young bluebirds are chatting all the time.  Sometimes we spend more time watching the birds than we do mulching and weeding.
Happy Canada Day everyone.  Safe travels this weekend.