Sunday, November 29, 2009

The bees are back!

So, a couple of days ago, my son came in the house having a fit. "The bees are BACK!" And, of course, he was right. It really bothers me to have to spray these things, because I really do need them in the garden. I didn't have half the pollination from last year during the summer, because we had to spray this hive. But, we really did have to spray it because we had honey dripping off the front of the house, as I have previously blogged about. And I just had this feeling the bee "guys" were going to show up during the baby shower I was throwing for my sister. Sure enough, the doorbell rang and that is exactly what happened. Oh well. SIGH. So, now we have a constant shower of dead bees on the front porch as we wait for the hive to die. So sad.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Awesome Quote

I just found this awesome quote at this site for the Herb Companion Magazine:

I am trying to use my herbs a little more & there is a giant herb book I really would like over at Barnes & Noble for my birthday. (hint hint...)

But I just love this...

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Preserving & Etc.

So, do you ever wonder what to do with all those jalepenos, or other peppers that your plant just keeps on producing and you can't eat quick enough? My mother-in-law makes jalepeno jello, which you can do. I just really only have one recipe that I use that for, & I'm pretty sure I haven't made that in oh, about 5 years. So, last week, I was looking through my trusty Ball Blue Book and came across this recipe:

Hot Peppers

1 1/2 pounds banana peppers

1 pound jalepeno peppers

1/4 pound serrano peppers

6 cups vinegar

2 cups water

3 cloves garlic

Leave peppers whole or cut into 1 inch pieces. Mix peppers together. Combine vinegar, water, & garlic in a large saucepot. Bring mixtu to a boil; reduce heat & simmer 5 minutes. Discard garlic. Pack peppers into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Ladle hot pickling liquid over peppers, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield: about 5 pints.

Note: When cutting or seeding hot peppers, wear rubber glovs to prevent hands from being burned.

I definately do not have that many peppers, so what I did was fill one jar crammed full of whole peppers (mostly because I didn't feel like cutting them up). I then put 2 cups white wine vinegar (not distilled) with 1 cup of water & 2 cloves garlic, minced into a pot and continued to do the recipe that way. I didn't even process the jar after I was done, and the heat sealed it on it's own. Also, as I make flavored vinegas all the time, I figured the vinegar would preserve it without having to actually can it. Guess what? Today I opened that jar of jalepenos and it looked & smelled just like the jar's you buy at the store. YAY! The jalepenos even changed color to look like the ones you buy in the jar. So, I was happy!

Also, for those of you who have trouple with your bell peppers looking as big as the ones at the grocery store, I have been doing some research on this topic. This year, my peppers have had a few problems. Mostly, I think, because I have a fungus in the soil that they are growing in, so the leaves look wilted. I have buried banana peels under each plant, because apparently this is good for them as it provides magnesium as the peel breaks down (which it does rather quickly, despite the fact that it is very thick). I have also read to do this for rose bushes. I have also given them a good dose of epsom salts for nitrogen, which has helped them a little bit. Anyway, to make a long story short, the other day, I was picking up my vegetable basket from boutiful baskets and I had done the organic one (yes, even though I have a garden, I do get other veggies, mostly for the fruit right now). There were lots of bell peppers. They were smaller ones, just like the ones in my garden. So, apparently, it doesn't matter. So, don't fret about your peppers. I was pretty happy when I saw that!

I let the dove out of the chicken coop this am. The dog simply couldn't stand that there was a dove in there and was trying to dig into the coop. Ridiculous! I had my husband go out there and look at the coop and he couldn't figure out how these birds are getting in either! It's a mystery!

Lots of long beans came off today! I really love those. If anyone would like some seeds for these, I have been saving and drying a few in my window. You really only need a few beans for a meal. And they are really tasty sauteed with a little jalepeno. Even my husband likes them, which is saying something!

[caption id="attachment_197" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Bay leaves, long beans, peppers, & radishes"][/caption]

Pictured above are the leaves from the laurel bay that I am drying. Apparently, when you cook with them, you are supposed to tear the leaf a little to release the flavor. Who knew? All these years, I have been putting them into my spaghetti sauce recipe and didn't realize I was supposed to be doing that.

Yesterday, I went to lunch with my delightful friend, Roma, who is so incredibly talented, if I do say so. And, afterward, I dropped by the fun boutique, Rustic Hutch, which is located on Gilbert & Baseline, in Gilbert. I found some really awesome candles there. I have been burning one this morning & love the smell.

[caption id="attachment_199" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="McCall's Country Canning Candles"][/caption]

I bought 2 of them. The one above is for Christmas, & is really lovely. The one I have been burning this morning, is "Raspberry Lemon Tea" & I do believe I love it!

Simple Invite

My lovely sister is having a baby and I was lucky enough to be able to give her a shower. These are the simple, yet elegant, invites we sent out. Some of them had a little rose at the top instead of a ribbon bow. Joanne's ran out of the roses and I decided that the bows looked pretty as well.
How to: Print up the invite on your computer onto cardstock. Trim down to 5 in. sq. I used a Stampin' Up Big Shot with a square scallop die to cut the invite into the shape. You can cute 2-3 invites at a time & the good thing about this particular die is that it is clear so you can see to center the invites words. After all were cut, I then ran it back through the Big Shot using the embossing plate with the large polka-dots. Then using adhesive, fixed it onto some cardstock and adhered the rose or bow to the top. EASY!

Crocheting in Style

So, a few days ago, my daughter Haylee & I began our winter crochet projects. We have been doing this for the past couple of years, along with my new sister-in-law, Bekah, who last year became obsessed with crocheting also. I purchased this book at Barnes & Noble, mainly because I liked the hats & it seemed pretty easy. I finished a really cute magenta flapper style hat and added a crocheted flower, which I tied on to it, a week ago. I didn't take a picture of it before I gave it away for a birthday present to a friend. Drat! But, let me just say, it was CUTE!

I am almost finished with this hat shown below, & am probably going to give it to my neighbor down the street as she is going to New York in a few weeks and told me she didn't have any. I really do like it. In fact, after I am finished, I might just make me one.
Haylee is working on a multi-colored aviator style hat & it is going to be cute, as well. So, Diane, this is for you. Good luck!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Here we are...

[caption id="attachment_190" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Sparkler radish planted October 5-6th."][/caption]

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.

[caption id="attachment_191" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Overall view of garden"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_193" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Celery seedlings"][/caption]

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".


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Most of the planting is finished!

YAY! It has taken a little over 2 weeks of toil and back pain, but the cleanup & planting is finally done. I am planning on taking some pictures in the am. It was a beautiful day today, but is now pretty windy!
One of the new varieties of long beans that I decided to try (for the first time, I might add) was definately a keeper. that is saying something, for sure, because my husband is extremely picky about his vegetables. So, if he says it's good, and eats it without me begging him too, it is! I will post more on that tomorrow, with pictures.
Boy, the summer was brutal on the garden. Around the end of August & into September, with temperatures soaring into the 110's & hotter, I just cannot go outside. So, the garden suffers. And if something can make it in that kind of heat, it truly deserves praise. However, to be honest, the garden was truly a mess. And it has taken most of the last 2 weeks to get it into shape.
The asparagus needed cutting back to the ground and mulching. That took a while.
I used up a lot of my compost in preparing the beds for planting so had to add some manure to the compost bin yesterday. That was a smelly job.
My hands have been so dry and felt chalky so I have been smearing "Burt's Bees hand salve" all over them every night. It helps.
These are some of the things that are growing:
carrots-3 varieties
several varieties of lettuce
various herbs
asian peas
long beans
snap beans
bell peppers
jalepeno pepper
anaheim pepper
and more eggplant - that plant will not die!
sweet peas
celery (I don't know if this will grow...we will see)

I came home from disneyland all energized to garden, as their gardens there are truly inspiring. It was wonderful, because I decided to put in a little hedge in front of my roses and it looks good, but of course isn't grown in. I can hardly wait.
Talk to you tomorrow!

Friday, August 28, 2009

August in the Garden


I saw an idea somewhere where they had put dried sunflower heads on a topiary for a fall arrangement and thought it looked pretty awesome. Since I still have some small size sunflowers hanging on, I decided this would be awesome to try for fall, as I can hardly wait for it to cool off and I am pretty sure the garden feels the same, as it's supposed to be 112 degrees today.


This little melon is called "Sakata's Sweet" from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at and is listed as an asian melon & actually is known as Japanese. It's leaves are somewhat smaller than a traditional american melon, so far anyway, and as I have never grown this, but thought is looked interesting based on the description in the Baker Creek catalogue, I hope it bears fruit, because I would definately like to taste it. According to the catalogue, the author of Melons for the Passionate Grower, Dr. Amy Goldman, recommends this particular variety. I haven't read her book, but would like to browse through it the next time I am at the bookstore.

More YW Crafts

This little paper bag booklet was one made a few years ago by a friend of mine, Tiffany, and myself for the girls to have while at girls camp. If you decide to make this with the girls, I suggest having the paper bag book already put together for them and letting them add the embellishments as otherwise, it will take too much time for one night. It was basically a book they could put all their memories from girls camp into. The clip art came from and the "Day 1" were foam stamps with black craft paint onto Bazill cardstock. Although only 3 pages are shown, this little bag book had "5 Days". This project didn't cost that much, as the main part of it, were paper bags and the embellishments were basically printed off the computer.

This little thing is so cute. I found these girly type kits at the dollar store that had a mirror, brush & comb in them. However, the mirror had a handle on it, which I didn't think would work for this project, so I simply trimmed them off on my scroll saw to match the curve of the mirror. And it worked. You would never know it. Then I created the sticker on my computer and added color also on the computer in a paint program. Then I glued it onto the back of the mirror and covered with another circle (cut using a 3 inch circle punch) of clear cold laminating plastic that is sticky on one side. And completely finished. Wrapped all up with a note, and given to the girls at girl's camp this year. Super cute.

To Do List Notebook.

Because I constantly lose my "to do lists" I decided I might keep ahold of them better if they were all in a notebook together. I do keep a spiral notebook and sometimes put my lists in there, but that notebook also has other things in it; things I read in a magazine, thoughts, ideas, etc. So I made a notebook based on a stamp from Stampin' Up. However, instead of stamping each page, I photo copied it and combined them all into this nifty little notebook. Love it! This one is for my friend. You could also add a calendar into it as well, which I might end up doing. The notebook has about 100 pages, but you could add or subtract depending on how many you would like. The paper is by Cosmo Cricket, & is their "Girl Friday" line. The cardstock is Bazill.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

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.

[caption id="attachment_174" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Garden in Utah"]Garden in Utah[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_175" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Front View of House"]Front View of House[/caption]

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.

[caption id="attachment_176" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Tilled Type of Garden"]Tilled Type of Garden[/caption]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Starting to get ready...(this post should have been posted on July 18)

[caption id="attachment_166" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Tomato Hornworm"]Tomato Hornworm[/caption]

So, I remember myself saying that,thank heavens I haven't had any tomato hornworms, and lo and behold, what do I see staring right back into my face? You guessed it! The dreaded hornworm! I really could only find one, but it had made a great meal of the tomato plants so out the tomato plants have come. Unfortunatly, most of the heat had done them in.

So, out with the old, in with the new! It's time to get ready for fall. YAY! My little tomato starts had to be restarted so they are about 10 days old right now, and looking good. All but 2 have sprouted. Which is a pretty great percentage, all in all. I hope to have some nice plants for next month. We shall see. I keep rotating them in the south facing window and in the mornings I put them out on the back patio. So they seem to be doing fine,with that.

Last year, in the winter, I decided to start some plants early, because I really had the spring planting bug, and all the plants sprouted, did fine, and looked wonderful. For about a month. Then, they all started wilting and dying. I discovered that they actually need some air blowing over them, like they would if they were outside, because otherwise they get wilt. Interesting.

[caption id="attachment_167" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Melon growing up a trellis."]Melon growing up a trellis.[/caption]

The melons (canteloupe and watermelon) are really going to town right now! Love it! I discovered last year if I could just hold them through the squash bugs and the heat, that in late July early August, they would really take off. And that has held true this year again. So, my advice, when they look like they can't hack it anymore, baby them along, and they will reward your efforts with more melons! Awesome little plants. I have a variety of melons out there right now. And the melon in the picture above just got picked yesterday. Tasted wonderful, too.

[caption id="attachment_168" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Zucchini"]Zucchini[/caption]

These new little zucchini plants are doing fine. And just when I was congratulating myself on gettng all those dreaded squash bugs, what do I find infesting one of my little plants? More of them. I am telling you, these things are everywhere. I just keep picking them off and putting them in my little jar and this does seem to be a good way of killing them, but not preventing them. How about a magic wand?

I used my first compost the other day in the old tomato bed. I pulled out some new compost from the bottom and integrated it into the bed. I think that bed needs some calcium. A few of the tomatoes had blossom end rot, which I think means the soil needs some calcium. That compost had some egg shells in it, so hopefully that will help.

 According to Mary Irish, in her book, "Gardeing in the Desert Southwest, you can plant fast maturing corn right now. So, that is what went into the old tomato bed. I haven't really had much luck with corn fertilizing very well, eve though they are planted 4 across, 12 long. That should be sufficient according to all the literature I have read. I will let you know how it turns out. They are all just sprouting right now. I love to see those little plants poking themself up out of the dirt. I love to go out and count how many have come up since yesterday.

Last week I FINALLY got my automatic watering system put in. It works fabulous, except I need to adjust the length of time, I think. It's only watering about 1 inch depth, instead of 2-3. But it does save me about an hour a day. Which is great, if you ask me.

With the kids back in school, and the weather not quite as hot, I am finding myelf thinking about what I will plant in October. Time to plan...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Seed Starting Time

Believe it or not, fall is just around the corner (I say that sort of tongue-in-cheek as we are definately in the throes of the summer heatwave). At least, I am dreaming it is. And with the fall, I will be starting some new tomato plants. Some people just cut theirs back and keep them, as they really aren't annuals, although we treat them as if they were. But I always seem to do better with new plants, so that is what I am doing. I definately still have lots of new green fruit on the ones I have, so I won't be pulling them out any time soon. However, I am thinking I would like these new plants to be plenty big by September, so I am starting seeds now. I am starting seeds instead of buying plants at the nursery, because I have decided that I really do prefer the flavor of heirloom tomatoes. It is so hard to describe the difference, but take my word for it, they are so much better. And because it is hard to find heirloom tomato plants, although it can be done, I am starting mine from seed. I have purchased some of my seed from local stores and some I have ordered from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at this link: And I recently came across this wonderful pdf file at If you haven't seen Mary Jane's Farm magazine, it is definately one to check out. Love it! And they have an awesome forum. You do have to become a "farmgirl" but since I consider myself one that is living in the city, that was easy! The pdf file link is: It is full of really great pics of heirloom tomatoes. Love it too!

Listing of tomato plants started today in peat pots inside:

German Red Strawberry



Green Zebra


Big Beef


Looking forward to watching them sprout!

Monday, July 6, 2009

It's HOT!

[caption id="attachment_145" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Just picked today."]Just picked today.[/caption]

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.

[caption id="attachment_148" align="alignnone" width="200" caption="Armeninan cucumbers growing up two 4 ft. tall topiary forms."]Armeninan cucumbers growing up two 4 ft. tall topiary forms.[/caption]

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.

[caption id="attachment_150" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="A small caterpillar on the pickling cucumbers."]A small caterpillar on the pickling cucumbers.[/caption]

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.

[caption id="attachment_151" align="alignnone" width="200" caption="Asparagus ferns."]Asparagus ferns.[/caption]

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.

[caption id="attachment_152" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Overall view of entrance to garden area."]Overall view of entrance to garden area.[/caption]

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.

[caption id="attachment_154" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Zucchini starts under the shade fabric."]Zucchini starts under the shade fabric.[/caption]

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.

[caption id="attachment_155" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="New planter box on back patio."]New planter box on back patio.[/caption]

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Letter Style

This one was not chalked at all, but was left black and white, but it still looks amazing.

This is the craft we did at girls camp this year. It is a calendar holder for all those calendars the girls get from young women's that sit on the counter or fridge or get lost. It has 2 bulldog clips on the bottom to clip the calendar to and hangs by white ribbon tied in a know. We gave the girls a simple white piece of cardstock and then taught them the basics of "doodling" which they then got to do, and add color by chalking. They all turned out so different and cool!

My girls & I made little boxes and decoupaged paper on them with ribbon and then added a wooden letter to the front. It comes in handy and has been very useful.

This is a sample of the new cursive font that I recently finished. As you can see from the measuring tape, the capital letters measure about 14" tall with the lower case letters measuring between 5 to 6" tall.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

So today...

I went out into the garden and was watering and looking around. I was actually pretty much just putzing around out there with the excuse of watering, and I found a watermelon (sun, moon & stars variety)  and 2 canteloupes (hearts of gold variety)! So exciting. They are, of course, still very small, and have a long way to go, but they are there. I can't wait to watch them grow! The plants have been vining all over the place and last year by this time, I had a large watermelon. It has been kind of a strange year. I am assuming that because last year was so much warmer, the plants grew a little faster than this year. I also am trying a new variety this year..."NC Giant". (I found the seed packet at the local feed store while I was picking up some hay for my daughter's horse.) It is reputed to be known for it's record weights, with a sweet taste. It has just begun vining so it will also be a while before I see anything on it.

I am expecting a delivery of planters tomorrow for my front and back porch. I have some by my front door and about a month ago, we had a very strange kind of liquid seeping from it. We couldn't quite figure out what it was and then my landscaper who owns "Landcraft" (and they are AWESOME) and has been working on my pool/barbeque area, tasted it for me. We determined that it was honey and that night, my husband discovered a hive on the second story of our home that had begun dripping honey down through the wall and onto the front porch, coming out under the pot.


You can just see it there under the eaves. We had an exterminator come out, who said that they were "africanized", as they had attacked them while they were up there, and that they had been there a while. In which case, we would probably have honey dripping off our house for a month or so. Well, they were right. However, the honey did something to the pots at my door, and now they smell like something has rotted in them. So, needless to say, I have to get something else, and that something else, is coming tomorrow. I purchased some square concrete ones and am going to just change everything out into them. I will post pictures when they are completed. The only down side to the whole thing, is that I have noticed a dramatic difference in the amount of bees out in my garden doing their little work. It's always something, isn't it?

[caption id="attachment_139" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Blanket Flower"]Blanket Flower[/caption]

So, I found this little perrenial, Blanket Flower, at the local hardware store's nursery and remembered seeing it in my aunt and uncle's yard down in Tucson. Love it! It is such a pretty color! I have it growing right now by my fountain in my front yard, and it is doing ok, surprisingly enough, in a little pot.

I have some tentative plans to clear a little space by the paver walkway that is leading into the entrance to my garden for my zinnia seeds in the early am. Early because it is so stinking hot, otherwise! And of course, it isn't summer without the zinnas. And they grow like weeds. My mom has some that are doing great and only a couple inches high so far in her front flower beds and one has even started to bloom!

So, until tomorrow...the garden awaits.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Let's talk tomatoes!

[caption id="attachment_132" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Oodles of Tomatoes!"]Oodles of Tomatoes![/caption]

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.

Friday, April 17, 2009

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.


[caption id="attachment_113" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="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.[/caption]

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.


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!


[caption id="attachment_118" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="The peas are growing like crazy!"]The peas are growing like crazy![/caption]

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!

[caption id="attachment_119" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="The mantra of every gardener!"]The mantra of every gardener![/caption]

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.

[caption id="attachment_120" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="The new babies with the hens."]The new babies with the hens.[/caption]

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!

[caption id="attachment_125" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="The birdies have found the bird house!"]The birdies have found the bird house![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_126" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="The potatoes are doing amazing."]The potatoes are doing amazing.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_127" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="Zucchini are starting to flower."]Zucchini are starting to flower.[/caption]

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.

Friday, April 3, 2009

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.

[caption id="attachment_104" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="A new addition to the entrance of the garden."]A new addition to the entrance of the garden.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_105" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="Tomatoes"]Tomatoes[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_106" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="Pepper plant"]Pepper plant[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_107" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="The iron tripod trellis from Hummingbird House."]The iron tripod trellis from Hummingbird House.[/caption]