Posts Tagged Garden

Planting Season

As usual per this time of year, I have been outside planting and doing general cleanup activities. Unfortunately, I am not completely finished. Mostly, because I can’t decide if my broccoli is finished producing this season and whether to pull it out or not and I still have plenty of carrots left and am not ready to pull them up yet as I still have a bunch in the fridge. My husband is rooting for the snow peas to go, as he is very tired of them in everything we have been cooking.

We have had so many rainy days along with a little colder weather than we are used to, that the asparagus have been slow to come up this year and are just now coming into their full season. I am planning to try a new recipe for an asparagus frittata that I found in the newest issue of “Hobby Farm Home”. The strawberries are tasting rather delicious. I haven’t ever planted them and had them do well, so I have been so pleasantly surprised to see that happening. I am really loving this SFG thing! Out here we have such clay soil that with the SFG you don’t have to worry about that and it is amazing what you can grow.

Speaking of that, a few posts ago I mentioned that I was trying an experiment in growing celery. Well, unbelievably, the celery is almost ready. So funny that it actually worked. It is still rather small compared to full grown celery, but I am impressed. It looks like if you plant it from seed in October, it will actually grow all winter and do well.

I have plans to spend the afternoon out finishing up some cleanup projects outside and putting up a frame for a support for the Bayberry and Blackberry plants that I finally got planted on the north side of my house.

Happy planting!

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Here we are…

Sparkler radish planted October 5-6th.

Ok. I finally took some pictures, but then had to load the new PS Elements 8.0 before I could bring them to you. Lame, I know. And that took a few more days because then my mouse was out of commission. So, finally we are back in business. Thankfully. It has been so beautiful outside that I am just loving it. Unfortunately, so are the birds. And despite the fact that they have plenty of bird seed, they are thinking that my lettuce and newly sprouted lettuces are wonderful and eating them down to the ground. At first, I thought I had some kind of worm, but then discovered the birds. Some baling wire to make some little hoops to fit over the lettuce and seedlings & a trip to the local hardware store to buy some bird netting to fit over those hoops has solved the eating problem, but not the bird issue. They are seriously everywhere. My dog is going crazy chasing them. And somehow, every morning I go out there, they are getting into the chicken coop. I just came in from there, and there were seriously 10 sparrows and a dove. The dove is still in there. It wouldn’t come out. So, I say, whatever, to it!

I planted some celery this year, and don’t know if it will make it, but it has sprouted and they are seriously the smallest little leaves I think I have ever seen. The brussel sprouts have sprouted and the peas are starting to climb. YAY! I have a couple more new little basil plants that if anyone wants, they are  free to come pick up, since I have 3 already and really don’t need anymore. Although, I did discover that my chickens love basil. I have been giving them the extras. And I started with 9 strawberry plants and am already up to 12.

Overall view of garden

Celery seedlings

I am excited to see the scarlet runner bean growing just like a bean! And by that I mean, it is a fast growing plant, so much that I can probably measure it’s growth every day! I am excited to see it in a few weeks. I do have a laurel bay that I really need to get into a pot, as it is sitting in it’s plastic nursery pot in the garden. I am pruning it into a topiary and it is pretty so far. The leaves look awesome as wreaths so that will be kind of nice to have as well as the culinary uses.

Ok. Gotta go. I have tickets to “New Moon”.

TTYL

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Other Gardens

So, recently we went on a family trip to Sandy, Utah. Of course, this is their main growing season there. We drove by some awesome gardens and so here are a few pictures. The picture below was so beautiful in person. The older couple who owned the home, had mixed in some really beautiful flowers along the border of the garden and it was truly lovely.

Garden in Utah

Garden in Utah

Front View of House

Front View of House

This other garden was strictly as open area that they had tilled. I was not surprised to see the number of gardens there that we saw, just driving around town, from small to large ones, depending on the yard size. I really do think that gardening & being “eco-friendly” has become very popular. Awesome.

Tilled Type of Garden

Tilled Type of Garden

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It’s HOT!

Just picked today.

Just picked today.

It is so HOT outside these days that in order to check out the garden, I seriously have to get up at 6am to beat the heat. We are hitting 108 degrees today, which feels more like 118 degrees to me. I simply can hardly hack it! And of course, most of the garden needs to be shaded from the brutal afternoon sun.

Armeninan cucumbers growing up two 4 ft. tall topiary forms.

Armeninan cucumbers growing up two 4 ft. tall topiary forms.

The cucumbers seem to be doing ok, though. You can just see the tip of the topiary forms.  They are producing more armenian cucumbers than we can possibly eat, and I keep giving them away to relatives and neighbors. We usually just slice them up to munch on, although my daughter likes to dip hers in the ever present ranch dressing.

A small caterpillar on the pickling cucumbers.

A small caterpillar on the pickling cucumbers.

I found a little friend on my pickling cucumbers today, and it has found itself a new home in heaven. I did see a preying mantis that was quite large on the tomatoes today also, and that one I happily left alone. I cannot get rid of my infestation of squash bugs. They have moved onto my watermelon plants and as I now have some new starts of zucchini out there, I really want them GONE! I have tried insecticidal soap and picking them off as I see them and smashing them. I also have tried to look under all the leaves to get the little brown eggs and smash those. None of this has been working well at all. I have plans for the morning, to take a jar out there and pick off all that I can find and put them in the jar and then throw it away. I can hardly stand to touch the things. I think I will wear gardening gloves for this particular chore.

Asparagus ferns.

Asparagus ferns.

The asparagus has gone really crazy lately, making new shoots, going to seed and ferning. They seem to be doing just fine, also, without any extra shading.

Overall view of entrance to garden area.

Overall view of entrance to garden area.

I love the way those new pavers look at the entrance to the garden. Landcraft did such an amazing job on them. It has made the area feel like a little secret garden. To the left of the chicken coop, although you cannot see it, is a small garden shed. We put it in a few months ago, and it has been so handy to put all the supplies in there and not have them spilling about the garden like last year. One handy thing that I read about somewhere, is to hang an inexpensive shoe organizer on the back of the door. I keep all my garden tools in it as well as drip irrigation pieces and twine, zip ties, etc. It has worked out well.

Not much is coming out of the garden right now. It is just simply too hot. I am still getting some tomatoes and that is pretty nice. It should pick up again at the end of August.

Zucchini starts under the shade fabric.

Zucchini starts under the shade fabric.

The above picture shows the pvc hoops that the shade cloth is zip tied to. I went to my local hardware store and bought some 12 inch pieces of rebar and poked them into the ground on either side of the bed and then put the pvc pipes into them onto either side to create the hoops. Cheap and easy. In the winter, I use them also, but instead of the shade cloth, I put 4 mil plastic over them and make a kind of green house. I got the idea from Dave the Garden Guy, and it really works well.

New planter box on back patio.

New planter box on back patio.

Well, I believe that’s all for now. Keep cool!

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Let’s talk tomatoes!

Oodles of Tomatoes!

Oodles of Tomatoes!

It has been such a long time since my last post, but I have been so busy in the garden and canning, with everything else, that there hasn’t been a lot of time left for blogging! I have canned a total of 28 quarts of tomatoes so far. My family swears they hate tomatoes, and I have to constantly remind them that they LOVE salsa and spaghetti sauce and homemade soup, all of which require tomatoes. They sure have been wonderful to eat as a salad on their own and on a sandwich. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water…

June in the garden in Arizona is HOT, but today was a wonderfully overcast day and only in the 90’s. YAY! So, I did a little cleaning up and found a HUGE armenian cucumber! It was so huge I had to cut it in half to get it out from under the topiary I had them growing on. Of course, since it was about 6 inches in diameter, it was just big and pretty much hollow. So, I gave it to the chickens and they have been pecking at it all day!

Apricots are coming off like crazy right now. My in-laws have one tree that is covered. I received a bag of apricots from my sister-in-law and turned them into jam. That will be pretty tasty mixed with some honey and soy sauce and put over some pork to slow cook. Maybe I will cook that on Sunday for dinner.

Clean up in the garden today:

-pulled out the spent zucchini plants

-cleaned all the leaves out from under the eggplant

-fertilized the bell pepper plants (they needed it terribly)

-replanted cucumber (for pickles), melon & pumpkin

-harvested bush bean seeds for next year

-picked all the tomatoes off that were ripe

-harvested all the onions & few carrots that were left

-gave everything a good soak

-turned the compost pile

I can hardly wait for my new planters to arrive next week so I can put some zinnia seeds in them. It doesn’t feel like summer to me without zinnias.

I am on the hunt for some comfrey seeds because my daughter wants to grow some for her horse.  I’ve never grown it before, but if she is interested in it, we will try it…The things we do for our kids.

Until next time, happy growing.

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It’s been a while…

So it’s been a while since I last posted. So much has been happening in the garden. Everything is growing and getting larger and starting to set fruit. It’s so funny, because every day I check the eggplant for new fruit, and have seen a few but yesterday, oh my gosh, found these ginormous eggplants that I didn’t even realize were there. That’s what I love about the garden. There is always something new happening. So, guess what we are having for dinner tonite? That’s right. Eggplant.

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Notice the double eggplant on the left. It probably had a double bloom that was fertilized.

Notice the double eggplant on the left. It probably had a double bloom that was fertilized.

Anyway, there are tons of tomatoes which is good, because soon it will be getting hot. I have been so happy with these tomatoes this year. I have several varieties, and it will be interesting to see which does the best. I just recently read an article about tomatoes and it did say that if you water them too much, they become tasteless. So, I guess there is a happy medium to watering…not too much, not too little, but just right.

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The snap peas are just setting blossoms, which is just in time. The bunching onions are some that a friend of mine gave me out of her garden last year. They have done so amazing, I can’t even believe it. I just chop some off the top and use them in salsa, kind of like chives, and let them keep growing. However, some of them are starting to flower and need to be used up, even though we have been eating salsa about twice a week and are starting to small like garlic. You know you’ve had too much, when several of your kids reek like garlic when they come to kiss you goodnight, or good bye to go to school. Not good, but delicious!

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The peas are growing like crazy!

The peas are growing like crazy!

And just for fun, I love this little guy. I have him set at from front door, but I think now that Easter is over, I am going to move him into the garden for a while!

The mantra of every gardener!

The mantra of every gardener!

The baby chickens are now 6 weeks old, and it is starting to stay warmer at night, so I thought I would introduce them to the other hens. Unfortunately, it has become very apparent that 2 of them are roosters, so only one will be staying, but I feel so bad for her and don’t want that little hen to be alone with the bigger hens, that I have decided to leave the roosters with her until they get a little bigger. Or, at least until they start crowing, in which case, they will be out of here. But they seem to be doing ok.

The new babies with the hens.

The new babies with the hens.

On a side note, the chicken in the middle, went to chicken heaven yesterday. She had been eating all my eggs and was starting to pull feathers off one of the other chickens. It was a sad day yesterday. Very sad.

I have noticed some little birdies at the bird feeder that are very pretty. I don’t know what they are, but they have red all over their head and chest. Check them out!

The birdies have found the bird house!

The birdies have found the bird house!

The potatoes are doing amazing.

The potatoes are doing amazing.

Zucchini are starting to flower.

Zucchini are starting to flower.

Just a side note. It looks like finally the black eyed susan vine might be finally starting to germinate and sprout. I think it has been about 2 weeks since I planted those seeds. I’m not entirely sure that that is what it is, so we shall see. According to the literature I have read, they only last for 3 years, and they you have to replant.

I so love this time of year.

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The Garden Is Growing

This morning I noticed how much the tomatoes have grown. There are small to medium tomatoes everywhere and they look the best they have ever looked! I’m always on the lookout for horn worms. Haven’t seen any so far. Thank heaven! Last week I did a foliar spray of fish emulsion on everything. I have noticed a little difference. I think everything definately needs it again. One of my pepper plants is nitrogen depleted. I need to do something about that today. Despite that, one of the plants has 2 peppers on it, which is wonderful. I found 2 small grasshoppers today, and relocated them to heaven, since a couple of years ago I didn’t do that and learned the hard way that they LOVE cucumbers. I lost all the plants. So, needless to say, that is not going to happen again.

I did have to replant okra today as only about 50 percent of the seeds ended up germinating. I don’t have real good luck with okra. I need to do some research into that. The seeds look so much like sweet pea seeds and maybe they would do better if I would soak them overnite.

Other seeds that were planted today were: lettuce, sunflower, nasturtium, pumpkin, lemon balm, black-eyed susan vine and carrot. This was done in an effort to stagger the maturity rate of the plants, or in other words, so I can have plants continuing to mature and not all at the same time. What is the word for that? My brain just can’t remember it this am.

Loving the SFG method, though. I do have a few squares empty for some more of something in a few weeks.

Yesterday, my hubby and I made a day trip to Sedona, AZ to pick up some wonderful tiles from Sid Dickens, which has absolutely nothing to do with gardening. However, the store where we were purchasing these at, had some other wonderful items, which were gardening things. The store is called, Hummingbird House, and is located in what used to be the very first market store in Sedona. They have restored it and carry gardening items as well as other home decor things as well. I happened to pick up a wonderful green iron tripod garden trellis with a cute little bird on the top. I love it!

I also picked up a beautiful little mexican redbud in a 5 gallon size at the Ace Hardware on the edge of Sedona. I’ve been looking for one of these for several years now and excited to get it into the ground.

Sounds like I have my work cut out for me in the garden for the next week or so, especially since I noticed the weeds are enjoying the weather as much as the everything else in the garden.

A new addition to the entrance of the garden.

A new addition to the entrance of the garden.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Pepper plant

Pepper plant

The iron tripod trellis from Hummingbird House.

The iron tripod trellis from Hummingbird House.

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