Thursday, January 22, 2015

2015 Urban & Small Farms Conference

Are you interested in learning more about growing organically in Utah? Do you have interest in selling items locally and need help marketing your products? If so, this is the place to be! This two day event will cover topics like commercial production, irrigation options, land leasing  and agritourism. Early bird pricing is $30 dollars per day (or $50 for 2 days) if you sign up before Feb. 10th, 2015. For more information contact Salt Lake County Extension office at 385-468-4824. 

To register please visit Eventbrite @  Urban and Small Farms Conference Registration

For a draft of the program visit:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tip of the Week: Adding Organic Matter to Soil

Fall is an excellent time to incorporate organic matter into your garden soil and can often come in the form of fallen leaves, which seem to be never ending this time of year. If leaves are not easily available to you, you may want to consider coffee grounds, wood chips/sawdust, your last grass clippings and/or manure.

"Organic matter is THE best amendment for any soil type. It increases soil moisture retention, improves soil structure and decreases soil compaction." -Katie Wagner, USU Extension

Over the winter months these materials will start to break down, and come early spring, decomposition will be well under way putting you lengths ahead of others who don't start adding these materials until right before they plant!

Remember decomposition often means a depletion of nitrogen in the soil, so it's best to get this process going BEFORE you start planting those nitrogen loving garden plants. "The addition of too much organic matter in one application can throw off the ratio between carbon and nitrogen (C:N ratio) in the soil. If the C:N ratio in the soil exceeds 25:1; soil microorganisms will scour the soil in search of nitrogen. Soil microorganisms need both carbon and nitrogen to survive. Therefore, if the soil carbon content greatly exceeds the soil nitrogen content, microbes will consume soil nitrogen causing plants to become deficient in nitrogen." -- A Guide to Common Organic Gardening Questions

So get a jump start on your spring garden before the snow falls. Because.......if you build it THEY will come!

For even more tips on improving your Garden Soil click HERE

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Solving Spooky Composting Mysteries

Don't let those frightening smells or creepy pests keep you from being a successful composting queen or king! Fall is the perfect time to start up a compost pile (or add to what you already have). The chart below offers up USU Extension's simple solutions to common compost problems.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Winter Cover Crops

Have you considered growing a winter cover crop? If so, now is the time to pull those dwindling warm season annuals out of your beds and start seeding. Cover crops can be very beneficial to an organic grower in a variety of ways: they provide year-round habitat for beneficial insects, added nutrients back to the soil when incorporated in the spring (green manure) & they keep those empty beds from becoming overgrown with weeds!

"Winter cover crops will not take any space out of production and should only be used in beds that will be planted with warm season crops. Ideally they should be seeded between August and early October, depending on location. If the cover crop is planted late the seedling rate should be increased. Most crops need about 30-40 days to germinate and grow before a frost." -Marion Murray, USU Extension IPM Project Leader.

Winter Annual Cover Crops to consider

  • Hairy Vetch
  • Winter Wheat
  • Winter Rye
  • Red Clover
  • Austrian Winter Pea
  • Pacific gold Mustard
  • Forage Radish

For more information on seeding, managing and irrigating cover crops see these resources from USU Extension.

USU Fact sheet "Cover Crops for Utah Gardens"
USU Fact sheet "Using Winter Grain as a Cover Crop in the Home Garden"
2012 Utah Pests Newsletter "Winter Cover Crops for Plant & Soil Health"
USU Extension Book "A Guide to Common Organic Gardening Questions" 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tip of the Week: 5 tips on Growing Garlic in the Garden

NOW is the time to start thinking about planting garlic in your garden. Garlic is a hardy perennial that prefers full sun and fertile, well drained soils with plenty of organic matter & it's tasty!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Attracting Lacewings to your garden.

We are loving the Natural Enemy Spotlight that has been showing up in our USU seasonal "Vegetable IPM Advisory" as of late! The most recent introduction is the Lacewing.
Photo Credit: Ozan Uzel 

"Lacewings are generalist predators and are commonly found in agricultural, landscape, and garden habitats. Most species of lacewing adults are predaceous, while others feed strictly on honeydew, nectar, and pollen. Larvae prey upon a wide variety of small insects including mealybugs, psyllids, thrips, mites, whiteflies, aphids, small caterpillars, leafhoppers, and insect eggs."

Here are some tips on how to attract them to your landscape:

  • Start with using as many different native plants as you can. Try to incorporate native flowering plants in addition to the fancy varieties
  • Plan for nectar and pollen availability all summer long. Seek out plants that have long-lived blooms so that adult natural enemies always have access to food. Consider using flowers that bloom at different times of the year for continuous pollen production.
  • Natural enemies might initially be attracted to an area because of the available pollen and nectar, but will not necessarily stay. In general, predatory insects like to reproduce and generate offspring near a generous food supply of other insects. For example, lacewings like to lay their eggs on plants that are infested with aphids because it ensures the offspring will have food to eat when they hatch into larvae.
  • Avoid using broad spectrum insecticides whenever possible, because they can kill beneficial insects too.  -Bonnie Bunn, Utah State University Extension, Vegetable IPM Associate

For the the full IPM Advisory click HERE 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tip of the Week: Planning and Planting for Fall Harvest

The temperatures are high and the sweat beads up on your brow if you even think about your garden, but maybe planning for fall crops will help bring cooling thoughts!

Midsummer is the best time to start planting hardy vegetables for fall harvest. "Flavor-conscious gardeners will appreciate the exceptional quality of vegetables that ripen in the bright days and brisk nights of autumn. Vegetables that mature in the fall are typically milder and sweeter than those that mature in the heat of summer."-Dennis Worwood

Here are some of the recommended fall crops for our area:

  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Kale 
  • Radish 
  • Peas 
  • Turnip
For more information about correctly timing your seeding and transplants check out this Fact Sheet-"Planting Vegetables Midsummer for a Fall Harvest."

A gardeners work is never done, but it's always fun!