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, November 19, 2012

Winter slumber

It has a been a while since we last posted and I think we just needed to take some time off from the daily rigors of the summer/fall months.  The snow is on the ground now, and our attention turns to relaxing, making decisions of what we will plant next year and sourcing suppliers.  I found a couple of new suppliers for dahlia tubers in Canada.  Ferncliff Gardens is based out on the west coast and they have a very large selection of dahlias along with peonies, irises and a few other perennials.  I put an order in yesterday and am looking forward to new bloom colours next summer.  Focusing on a couple of colours that I can't get from my wholesaler, purple and orange and variations of them.  The seed catalogues will start arriving this month and our orders will be placed with them by January.

We have been doing a lot of walking the last couple of weeks enjoying the warm weather, checking out the various animal tracks in the snow.  We seem to be playing host to a couple of vegetarian coyotes.  They tend to visit our compost bins almost daily checking out the array of vegetable scraps that we are composting and enjoying something or other.  Maybe there are mice living in the piles.  We have a group of Pine Grosbeaks in the yard eating the lilac seeds, crabapple fruit and the sunflower seeds.  

The Tomato Jam we made this summer, is being eaten as a condiment in place of ketchup and I know we will not go back to plain old ketchup again.  Another item we don't have to depend on buying from the grocery store, which is made with wholesome ingredients we grow.  I had the opportunity this fall to pick the Sea Buckthorn berries before we received a hard frost and made a batch of Sea Buckthorn Jelly, which turned out very well.  They are such a beautiful orange colour and very healthy.

Including a few photos of the gardens taken by our daughter Mandy.

Love Grass


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fall cleanup

The following photos were taken by Natalie during the garden tours we had in August.  Natalie also published these photos along with a few more in the Wakaw Recorder (the local newspaper) with an article she wrote about the garden tours at Mistik Acres.

Hen & Chick Poppy

Checking out the Sea Holly patch and the honey bees 
which love the Sea Holly flowers.

We are enjoying the wonderful warm weather we have been experiencing, spending all of our time outdoors cleaning up the gardens.  The plants have been dug out and are now drying and waiting to be shredded with our chipper/shredder.  The only soil ready to be planted, is the area we are planting the garlic.  If you are planting garlic this fall it may be best to wait just a bit longer before you plant, as the temperatures should be cooler so the garlic does not decide to sprout in the warm soil.   I planted some new perennials and moved a few others, but our soil is very dry right now and we will have to water all the perennials before freeze up, if we do not get any rain.

We hired a local businessman to break up the old cement foundations and haul them away.  He completed the removal of one foundation and there is one more beside the house, along with old cement sidewalks.  I have been waiting a long time to see the disappearance of this cement, so now I am doing the happy dance. 
Last week we enjoyed a weasel visiting the farm.  It was very inquisitive and would come right up to us if we did not move too quickly.  They are very efficient at keeping the rodent population down, but unfortunately we have not seen it for a week now, so hopefully it will return to the yard.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Asiatic Lilies

The following lily bulbs will be available at the market this weekend.




Raspberry on Whip



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Time flies.

I cannot believe it already has almost been three weeks since we last posted.  I always like to post every week, but it has been a few wild weeks around here.  Basically we have been cutting flowers every second day and then delivering them to the city the following day and then at the end of the week we would prepare for market and it would start all over again on Sunday.  There also were a couple of weddings thrown in the mix, but as of Sunday we have now become flowerless (if that is even a word).  We had a frost kill pretty much all of the flowers.  There are a few things that were not affected, but for the most part we can start cleaning up the gardens.  Pat was doing the happy dance Monday morning.  I always have mixed emotions about this time of year, but it has been an incredibly busy summer for us that I, as well, am relieved it has come to an end (in some ways).  I am going to miss the dahlias as they were extra beautiful this year and we were reminded of how nice they were all the time by our customers at the market and our florist customers.

Dahlias, Cosmos and Sweet Peas

The wedding flowers we created this summer were well received and hope to do more of this next summer.  We had a successful crop of corn, along with the celery, both of which enjoy lots of moisture, which was in abundance.  We were able to harvest all the tomatoes, corn, peppers, cucumbers and herbs before the frost hit.   Excellent crops for all the above.  The peppers, jalapeno and cayenne, are full of heat this year and we have started to make salsa and tomato sauce.  As I write this I am munching on roasted cherry tomatoes that have been in the oven for a few hours this evening.  They are like candy, chewy and sweet.  Planning on making a batch of tomato jam, will keep you posted as to how it turns out.  The garlic crop was bountiful, the cloves are large, crisp and very strong flavour.  A little goes a long way.

This week I am going to dig a few varieties of Asiatic lily bulbs to sell at the Saskatoon Farmers Market and will make a few bundles of dried flowers.  Pat made the first batch of horseradish for market sales this past weekend and we sold all but one jar.  He will make more this week and will have the root available to purchase for this weekend.  There will be a few varieties of dried herbs, garlic, fresh celery, green onions, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes and hopefully fresh cilantro.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Gourd blossoms

We are at the time of year again where the growing season is winding down, days getting shorter and nights getting cooler.   The tomatoes have produced a lot of fruit this year and they are really starting to ripen.  Our little furry friends (chipmunks, gophers and squirrels) are enjoying the ripening fruit, so we pick the tomatoes before they are fully ripe.
I came across a couple of tips for managing your tomatoes at this time of year when the nights are getting cooler.  
Pick the leaves off around the tomatoes so the sunshine can reach the fruit and they will ripen quicker.
There aren't enough warm growing days ahead to ripen newly emerging fruit, so stop the growth of tomato plants by pinching out all growing tips.  This will force energy into enlarging and ripening the fruit.

Wedding bouquets

Our Cayenne peppers and Jalapeno peppers have produced plenty of peppers and they are hot, hot, hot.  It has been a good year for celery production with all the rain.  They are crisp, juicy, sweet and strong celery flavored, unlike the grocery store celery.  The garlic is being harvested today and the onions will be dug in the next few days.

The flower harvesting has been fantastic.  We cut approximately two hundred stems of dahlias three times a week and every stem is sold.  The zinnias are also cut three times a week and are in high demand.  The sunflowers are just starting to show colour and the brown and red sunflowers are proving to be quite popular with the florists.  We have Amaranthus, Sea Holly, Ageratum, Celosias, Cosmos, Broomcorn, Millet, Wheat, Grasses, Rudbeckia, Poppy Pods, Scabiosa, Crocosmia's and many others.

We have had a wwoofer staying at the farm for the last three weeks helping us out and learning a few things about flower, vegetable and herb growing.  Wwoof stands for World Wide Organization on Organic Farms and connects people whom are interested in learning about organic farming with farms whom practice organic farming.  The extra hands have been much appreciated and she has helped out with many tasks associated with the growing and harvesting of the vegetables and flowers as well as creating flower bouquets.    Thanks so much for all your help, it has been a pleasure spending time with you.

This weekend is customer appreciation days at the Saskatoon Farmers market.  To show our appreciation we are providing a discount on all of our plants.  The perennials are 50% off the marked price and the succulents and planters are 25% off the marked price. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Days are getting shorter.

It has been a flurry of activity the last couple of weeks.  We are cutting the flowers three times per week, delivering to flower shops twice a week and cutting for the market once per week.  We are also providing flowers for private requests, dinner parties, weddings etc.  I believe our flowers are playing a small part in brightening peoples lives in the area, be it through the flowers we sell at the Saskatoon Farmers market or arrangements created at the local florists we supply. 

Did you know...... The mere presence of flowers in a home can change a person's mood.  Behavioral research conducted at Harvard University shows that people are measurably less stressed and anxious when flowers are nearby.  So flowers are not only attractive, but healthy too.

This week we are getting the gardens back into shape, weeding, deadheading, pruning etc.  Lots of work as I think every weed seed in the ground has germinated this year.  The rains have been less frequent now and the mulch is keeping the soil damp.  We fertilized the dahlias again this week with the new organic fertilizer we are trying this year.  We are noticing a difference, so we may invest in this product again next year.  The home gardener can purchase their products at Early's Farm & Garden.  The name of the company is Orgunique or Bio Fert.  I believe the products sold to large operations are under the Bio Fert name and the home gardener products are sold with the Orgunique business name.  The website is www.orgunique.com.  They are based in British Columbia and they have a wide range of organic fertilizers and soil amendments.

We are hosting our first Flower Garden Tours this Sunday.  The times of the tours are 10:00am and 2:00pm Sunday Aug 19th.  We have always toured our family and friends around, but this is the first time we invited the general public.  Looking forward to sharing our gardens with other gardeners.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Garden Tours

Everyone is welcome to participate in Flower Garden Tours at Mistik Acres on Sunday August 19.  We will have two times available, 10:00am and again at 2:00pm.  It takes approximately 2 hours to walk through all the gardens, stopping to discuss various plants and picture taking.  We are located 60 kilometers North East of Saskatoon.  Directions from Saskatoon - take highway 41 to Alvena, turn right (east) onto grid 777.  Travel four kilometers on the grid and you will see our house from the grid road.  Watch for balloons.  Weather permitting.
Hope you can join us!

Friday, July 27, 2012


The raspberry patch is in full colour right now with berries at all different stages of ripening.  We really enjoy fresh raspberries, but our most enjoyable is chocolate and raspberries.  I want to share a recipe with you that we make every year at raspberry harvest.  I tore it out of a magazine more than ten years ago and still have the tattered page.
Chocolate-Raspberry Streusel Bars
1/2 cup butter softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 ounces of semi sweet/bittersweet chocolate melted
1 & 3/4 cups all purpose flour
With electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar (I use less sugar).  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Add melted chocolate (I use fair trade chocolate) and mix until well blended.  Stir in flour.  Pat evenly into an ungreased 13 x 9 inch baking pan.  Bake at 325F for 15 minutes.

1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup raspberry jam or fresh/frozen raspberries
Mix together flour and sugar (I use less sugar).  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Spread jam over base.  (I use 1-2 cups of fresh or frozen raspberries with a little sugar, that have been cooked with cornstarch to thicken.)  Sprinkle with topping.  Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
I prefer using fresh or frozen raspberries instead of jam in this recipe.  Enjoy!

This year's growing conditions have been unlike anything we have ever experienced.  The hot humid conditions have challenged a lot of plants and yet some plants are thriving.  Our tomatoes are not producing much fruit at all.  We have had a few cherry tomatoes ripen but usually those particular plants are loaded with fruit, but not this year.  The pepper plants are not producing and in some cases the blossoms are rotting off.  Everything seems to be later in maturity.  The Dahlias are usually full of blooms by the end of July, but their production has probably been cut in half.  The sweet peas are not as productive and some of my Godetia plants are dying along with a few other things.  Have been noticing a few annual flowering plants infected with Asters Yellow disease already, where in past years it showed up later in August.  The Yarrow is spectacular and the Monkshoods are striking.  The delphiniums were fabulous with huge flower spikes and the Globe Thistles are a beautiful shimmering blue.  The colours of all the flowers are very vibrant, but in most cases the bloom count is down.

Pink corn

Today we will be harvesting onions, potatoes, beets, and raspberries for the market.  The flowers available this week will be lilies, gladiolas, globe thistle, delphinium, sweet peas, rudbeckia, and lots more.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Things are doing pretty good on the farm despite the very wet conditions.  We are having to monitor disease caused by the rain and hot/humid air.  So far it has not been too serious.  The annual flowers are all starting to show blooms and the perennials are on track.  The monkshood's are growing non stop and some of them are about six feet tall with the flower spikes.  The lilies have started to bloom and I love to go out to the field and take in the kaleidoscope of colour.  I have been enjoying watching the new annuals we planted, Cerinthe - Pride of Gibraltar, Icelandic Poppies, Celosia's of different shapes and colours, which are doing very well this year, Love Grass Ruby Silk (will post pictures later in the season),  Drumstick flower, and Dianthus - neon purple and cherry.  Watch for their debuts at the Farmers Market.  Some cuts will be in bouquets this weekend.   One of our Passion Flower Vines that is in the greenhouse has developed flower buds.  This particular plant is destined for a new home this weekend.
The birds have been leaving their nests and a lot of species leave the yard when the babies are grown up.  The Bluebirds have left, which in past years they raised a second brood.  The Tree Swallows are gone, sometimes making an appearance in the evening.  We now rely on the Dragonflies to help out with mosquito control, which they seem to be doing a great job.  We have not had any bats take up residence in our bat houses we installed this Spring, and we have not seen any glimpses of them.  
Today we will be busy harvesting vegetables, raspberries (first picking) and lots of fresh cut flowers.

Bells of Ireland

Karl Foerster Grass


I came across this article written by the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and they asked that we share it with everyone.  There is lots of really good information in the article.

Be Pesticide Free-Pesticides and Human Health
Have you heard? Pesticides aren’t needed for a beautiful lawn!
What is a Pesticide?
A pesticide is a chemical or microbiological substance that is designed to kill pests. Pesticides are by definition are toxic because they poison the pest. Pesticides include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and rodenticides.  Common examples are RoundUp, Killex, Weed and Feed, and 2,4-D.  Lawn pesticides do not prevent pest problems, they only try to control them once they are present.

Pesticides are all around us. They can be found in our soil, air, food, and even mother’s breast milk.   If a pesticide is being applied to a lawn, it can be detected 15 metres away. Anyone living in an urban area in Saskatchewan breathes air with measurable quantities of 15-19 herbicides in late spring. Pesticides are also found in water. Drinking water in six Saskatchewan communities was tested and found to be contaminated with an average of seven pesticides.

Human Health
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has identified acute health effects in humans including nausea, eye, skin, respiratory and throat irritation, muscle spasms, and even death. Repeated exposure to pesticides has been linked to neurological problems, brain and lung cancer, immune suppression (which creates environmental hypersensitivity), leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, kidney damage, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and reproductive disorders, including endocrine disruption, low sperm count, and sterility. Children are most at risk as they typically play in grass and dirt, and put toys and hands in their mouths, activities that significantly increase their exposure to pesticides.

How to Protect You and Your Family
·Do not use pesticides on your lawn and garden.
·Pesticides are toxic. Be aware when they are being sprayed in your neighborhood.
·Keep kids and their toys indoors when pesticides are being applied and afterward, clean exposed surfaces.
·        Do not spray your pets (flea powder).
·        Use pesticide-free insect repellent like citronella.
·        Buy local organic food.
·        Wash all produce with a mild detergent.
·        Work with local school boards, daycares and sporting complexes to go pesticide-free.
·        Avoid pressure-treated wood.

To learn more about alternatives to using pesticides, please visit:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hot, Hot, Hot!

Wow what a fabulous week it has been.  We are just amazed at the low wind speeds accompanying the hot weather this week.  I do not recall having this many days in a row with no wind and yes, wouldn't it be nice if we had wind with these temperatures.  Yes, yes I know, I will stop this nonsense blubber and enjoy the warm weather.  Just think of winter, when it's hot and humid and we may appreciate it a lot more, I keep telling myself.  This week we are busy weeding and then laying the mulch in the gardens.  We have one more garden to do and it is the biggest, so a lot of work ahead.  Due to the warm temperatures we have been rising early and working till noon and then staying out of the heat till after supper.
Some of the plants are growing so much this week.  There is a lot of moisture in the soil, so in combination with the mulch the soil stays cool and their is no evaporation of the moisture.
There are so many flowers that are starting to bloom.  We will have lots of different things this weekend at the Saskatoon Farmers Market.  There will be Dahlias, Echinops, Rudbckia, Heliopsis, Lilies, Sweet Peas, Sweet William, Cosmos, Love Grass, Delphinium and many more.  We will have ready made bouquets but we will also have an assortment of flowers for people to create their own bouquets.  We have a lot of customers whom really enjoy putting together various flowers for their vases at home.  Vegetables will include new potatoes, green onions, beet leaves and fresh herbs, dill, mint and cilantro.

Hens & Chicks blooming

The rock garden is so beautiful this year with lots and lots of the Hens and Chicks blooming.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Monarch Butterfly

The picture below is a Monarch Butterfly caterpillar that has grown up in the last couple of weeks.  I am sure it is probably almost ready to enter into the chrysalis stage.  We have a lot of these little guys on our Milkweed plants.  Sure hope they will survive to make the trip to Mexico or the States this fall.

This week has passed by very quickly once again, with a lot of our tasks uncompleted due to the rainfall we had this week.  With the predicted temperatures for the upcoming week it sure will be nice for the plants to have all the moisture that will be available to them.  We have continued with the mulching of the gardens and have started making our weekly trips into Saskatoon with flowers for the florists.
The Delphiniums and Sweet Peas are starting to show their flowers and the lilies should be starting this week.  I do not think the lilies will last long this year as hot temperatures really speeds up their bloom time.  The Peonies are almost finished blooming now and we have a  large number stored in our cooler for the upcoming weeks.
We harvested garlic scapes today and sauteed them up for supper.  Wow they were awesome.  Pat cut a lot for the market this week along with fresh herbs and green onions.  Flower bouquets of Peonies, Delphiniums, Sweet Williams are in the cooler waiting for tomorrows market.  The Peonies and Delphiniums will be available by the stem as well.
A lot of the young birds have left the nest and are flying around the yard.  They seem to be taking care of the mosquito's for us, as I think they should be a lot worse, with all the water standing in our valley.  Have a great week, and enjoy the wonderful temperatures predicted.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The week of wild weather.

We had another storm roll through here this week which brought lots of wind, about an inch of rain, and left us without power for about 40 hours.  No tornado activity in our area, which we are thankful for.  We pulled out the generator and kept our fridge, freezer and cooler running.  The gardens all fared very well and everything looks very green.

The flowers of this biennial attract parasitic wasps which help us control thrips and aphids.

The Monarch butterfly eggs have hatched already and they are busy munching the milkweed plants.  I do not have too many plants and they show growth later in the spring, so there are not a lot of leaves for these little fellas to eat.  Hopefully the plants will start growing with the moisture and warm weather ahead. 

Progress in the garden.


The peonies are now being cut so we will have lots of stems at the market on Saturday along with Sweet William, Bellflower, Yarrow and more.  We will also be offering green onions and fresh herbs.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

We experienced our first storm last week with strong winds and heavy rain.  We had almost two inches of rain in about half an hour.  The plants all seemed to take it in stride, except for the cucumbers.  Some of them  could not tolerate the soggy cold soil, so we planted a few more seeds.
Our lilac bushes are so beautiful this year and this morning they were all a buzz with honey bees, bumble bees and butterflies.  We have observed several Monarch butterflies and I started checking the milkweed plants and sure enough, there are eggs laid all over the various milkweeds we grow.  The male Tiger Swallowtail is back now enjoying the lilac blossoms.  Will try and keep our eyes peeled for the female.  The females look totally different than the males.

Since the soil is very wet we have stayed out of the gardens until today.  Started weeding and mulching and I transplanted in the rock garden and in front of the house.  Should be able to proceed with planting into one or two other gardens tomorrow.  Have a good two days of transplanting to do yet.  Checked out the raspberry patch today and I have never seen so many large bumblebees in one place.  There had to have been in excess of a hundred bees all busy pollinating the raspberry flowers.  Thanks to them we should have another bumper crop of fruit.
The Bluebird family is in the yard.  The young ones have fledged the nest and we think that one or two Tree Swallow families is also out and about now.  While weeding today I was watching a Yellow Canary land on a peony stem close to the bud and eating the insects on the buds.  Our natural pesticides.
Speaking of peonies they are looking so grand right now, starting to show colour in the buds.  Will have some stems cut for the market this Saturday along with several other flower bouquets, onions and plants.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Transplanting into the gardens.

Last week we transplanted approximately half of the plants into the gardens.  One of the gardens is now planted with Dahlia's, Ageratum, Zinnia's and some of the heirloom tomato plants, seeds which were so graciously offered to us by a friend in Alvena.  Looking forward to observing them over the summer and tasting the fruit, which will be various colours and sizes.  One variety dates back to 1889, called Matt's Wild.  The seed company describes it as possibly an originator of the modern tomato which can grow up to 10-12' producing small tomato's, like eating raspberries.
Decorative corn planted as windbreak.

Valley garden

The valley garden is my favourite garden because the birds hang out in the trees adjacent to the garden.  We are serenaded with their songs while we tend to the plants and this is where we see a lot of the antics of the birds.  We planted the Beefstake, Brandy Wine, and Early Girl tomato's in this garden along with Crocosmia, Craspedia (Drumstick flower), Dianthus (annual neon purple and cherry), Dahlias, Scabiosa, Orlaya, and Icelandic Poppies.  We also seeded corn, zinnias, sunflowers and amaranthus.  Once the soil dries somewhat we will finish the transplanting in this garden with Gomphrena's and whatever else we can stuff in. We received an inch and a half in this weekends two day rain, so the transplants will settle in nicely. 

Shooting Star, one of my favourite perennials.

Delphiniums in the valley garden.

The valley garden is home to all of the perennials, Peonies, Monskhood, Heliposis, Sweet William, Red Feather, Delphiniums, Yarrow, Veronica, Mums, Echinops, Campunala Freya,  plus many more.  A wide variety of plants, with a lot of birds taking care of the insects for us.  This year we are laying onion peels around the Delphiniums to deter aphids.  This Spring there were a couple of Delphiniums that were hosting the aphids so I cut those plants down and put them in a pail of water to drown the aphids.  We have had a few more on other plants but I keep picking off the foliage and placing it in the water, and maybe along with the onion peels it may be keeping them under control.  Would love to hear feedback if you are going to try this in your Delphinium garden.
The birds are busy tending to their eggs and feeding the young ones.  The Raven family have fledged the nest and are visiting the yard area.  The young ones are very vocal, so they always catch your attention whenever they are around.  They are very interesting to observe.
This weekend at the Saskatoon farmers Market we will have fresh green onions available along with the selection of plants and cut flowers.  The purple Allium's were very popular this past Saturday in the flower bouquets.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Saskatoon Farmers Market

Unusual items available at the market this weekend at our booth.

Funky plant containers.

Herb Planter.

We also have fresh flower bouquets available made with Freesia, Lilacs and Trollius.

Times are very busy right now as we have started transplanting into the gardens, gambling on the long range forecast, predicting the lows to be well above freezing.  Usually we only start at the first week of June so a few days ahead this year.  The soil is nice and moist and the flower and vegetable seeds are all starting to germinate.  We have been feasting on fresh radishes and onions and tonight we had our first lettuce salad from our garden.  
No Robin antics to post about this week as they are busy building their nest in the trees.  Sure hope it works out well for them.  I came across a Sparrow nest on the ground in our rock garden, under a perennial leaf, with two eggs in it.  We have identified a Cat Bird in the yard, which has a very lovely song.  It was here last summer as well but we did not get many good looks at it, as they seem to stay in the trees when we are out and about.  The song always intrigued us and we thought it was the Baltimore Oriole, but this week the Catbird was perched in a tree singing away, where it was visible to us.  So out came the bird book right away.  Later in the day we saw & heard the Oriole, and their song is different.  Similar but different.
We enjoyed an early morning view of a mother moose and her baby wandering around the front of our property this week.  Such impressive creatures.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Robin Antics


We believe we have Mr./Mrs. Stubborn Robin back this year.  If you recall the posts from last Spring about the Robin whom was determined to build his/her nest on the top of our back tire on the truck.  Eventually we had to park the truck in the garage so it would find a new site for nest building.  Anyway this year it decided to build it's nest on top of the propane tank of the barbecue.  One day last week Pat barbecued, and the next morning a nest was built right on top of the propane tank.  We dismantled the nest, but felt sorry for the bird when it came back to the location with nest building material in his mouth, and no nest to be found.  It hopped on the barbecue looking around, and then on the ground and then back on the barbecue and so on.  Within a few days it decided that the eavestrough right over our front door would be a good location.  Again we cleaned out the nest building material.  As of today, it has not attempted another location close to humans, but there's always tomorrow.

This week we are receiving a good soaking of rain, which also allows us a breather to do other chores around the area.  We planted some of the new perennials for cutting on Monday, so they will settle in nice with the rain.  We have been having busy days at the Farmer's Market.  We have ten varieties of tomato plants along with three types of green peppers and several hot peppers.  The vegetable plants include celery, summer squash, winter squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins.   Several new annual plants, including Cerinthe (Pride of Gibralta), Fireworks Grass, Passion Flower vine, Castor Beans (red and green), Rudbeckia, Sweet Peas, ten different colours of Dahlias.  Lots of new perennials and the old favorites, culinary herbs, Hydrangea, Oso Easy Rose bush, and three types of shrubs.  Lots of selection, but never enough room on our market tables.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Flower Fields & Plant Sale

Relatives of ours were in California in April and they visited a flower farm at Carlsbad.  Wanted to share some of the photos they took.

The yard is full of birds again this month.  The American Goldfinch's are back and we spotted a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak while we were in the pasture last week.  The Eastern Bluebird has not been seen again, so it probably moved on, but we have been listening to the Northern Oriole sing this week.  The Mountain Bluebirds claimed a new nest box in the pasture and Pat has added two more nest boxes for the Tree Swallows and is going to add two more today so we will be up to forty four birdhouses.  
The potatoes, radish and onions that were planted last week have poked out of the ground.  Have been busy tending to the plants in the greenhouse and digging perennials for the plant sale.  This year we thought we would host a Plant Sale at the farm.  It is on Friday May 18th from 10:00am to 8:00pm.  We are located 4 kms east of Alvena on grid 777.  There will be signs to guide you our way.  We will have on display bee, bird and bat houses, and the hypertufa planters.  The plants will include, shrubs, roses, perennials, annuals, vegetables, herbs and succulents.
We will be at the Saskatoon Farmers Market on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.  Have a great long weekend and happy planting.

Monday, May 7, 2012

May Happenings

May is really a wonderful month.  Everything in nature is so busy.  The trees, shrubs and perennials are all signaled to start growing with the warm weather.  The birds are busy building nests and finding mates.  The sky is very active in our yard right now, with all the different birds flying about.  It so nice to have some company in the yard.
The greenhouses are really filling up, so we are starting to adjust some of the annuals to the higher light levels outdoors.  Every day we allow them to bask in the full sun for a little longer.  Soon they will be tolerant of the sun for the entire day and at the end of May we will start planting them in the ground.  We have halted seeding for now as we received some much appreciated moisture this past weekend, so in a few days we can continue with that schedule.
Today we are showcasing a couple of annuals we have available this year for sales at the Saskatoon Farmer's Market.  The first is a vine called Blue Passion Flower.  It is very fast growing with exotic looking flowers.  It is great for pots or beds and grows up to 12'.  Allow it to grow in full sun for best flowering.  Hardy to Zone 6.

Passiflora caerulea

Pennisetum Fireworks

Another annual we have is the Proven Winners Fireworks grass.  Grows to 24-30" tall and is variegated with reds, pinks and greens.  Likes full sun and can be grown in the landscape or in a pot.

This weekend at the Saskatoon Farmers Market we are going to have some interesting gifts for Mother's Day.  They will include our hypertufa containers potted up with succulents or herbs, decorative containers, rubber boots,  vinyl records re-purposed into plant containers, and the most fun item will be a pair of red high heels all planted up.  Stop by early to check it all out.  We will be selling the pepper and tomato plants along with celery plants, annual flowers, dahlias, shrubs, lots of new perennials and our selection of culinary herbs.   I will be posting pictures of our unusual plantings available on our facebook page this week.  Search Mistik Acres and like our page.  We will be participating in the Sunday market this weekend, but we will be outside due to a celebration all about Mom's, taking place indoors from 11:30-2:30.  Pamper yourself or your Mom with a mini manicure, massage, facial or yoga instruction.  There will be live entertainment and lots of food. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Breaking Ground

Today as I sit at the computer and write this post, Pat is on the tractor, digging up a large patch of the yard.  This is the first piece of cultivated soil that is not going to be used to grow flowers, vegetables, or fruit to be marketed.  We plan on growing fruit trees, but the fruit will be for our consumption and enjoyment.  We are going to develop a perennial flower garden in this area as well.  Finally a step in the direction of landscaping the yardsite.  It has been a long time coming and I am really looking forward to creating a perennial bed with the plants I have collected over the years.  Now to come up with a plan of sorts...which is not a strong point of mine.

This weeks bird sightings include a few Tree Swallows, not many yet, Doves, Western Wood Pewee and an Eastern Bluebird.  The bluebirds that nest around here are the Mountain Bluebirds, so the Eastern Bluebird was a bit further north, than they usually are.  Hopefully he will stick around, find a mate and nest here.  They look like the Mountain Bluebirds generally, but they have an orange colouring on their breast.
The greenhouse plantings are going as planned.  Now we are planting Cosmos, Four O' Clocks, and Zinnias.  These plants only need about four weeks growing before they are planted outside.  Zinnia's are a big crop for the fresh cut market sales.  We succession plant these seeds, so we always have plants that are just starting to produce.  We have a lot of radish and lettuce sprouted in the beds in front of the house, but as soon as the weather turns cold, they are at a standstill.  So no hurry to plant the peas or spinach until it consistently stays warm during the day. 

A couple more perennials we have available for sales at the Saskatoon Farmers Market.  Starting Saturday May 5 we will be in our permanent location inside the building, down the center isle, corner spot, close to the garage doors.  Overall there will be a lot of exciting events and promotions going on at the market this summer, fall and into the winter months.  I will keep you updated through facebook and the blog.

 Sarah Bernhardt Peony

Red Charm Peony

Both are excellent cut flowers...surprise, surprise.  We all need more flowers in our gardens to bring indoors.  Don't worry about bringing ants into the house on the flowers.  Make sure you cut the flowers before they are fully open and if you notice any ants on them, just give the flowers a good swoosh to knock the ants off.  Leave some in the garden, but always cut a few for your enjoyment in the house.
Both of these varieties grow to about three feet and prefer full sun to part sun and are hardy to Zone 3.