A Vegetable Garden in the Middle of an Unexpected Place…

Green Jeans
Green Jeans

For those of you who have not met him yet, I would like to introduce you to my nephew, Green Jeans.  He is the resident vegetable gardener at “The Refuge”, which is where my sister and her family live.

Planting vegetable garden

There is always something growing in his garden. 

Planting vegetable garden

Sweet Peas rush to climb up the trellis….

Planting vegetable garden

 Cauliflower heads begin to form….

Planting vegetable garden

 Anaheim Peppers are getting ready to heat up….

Planting vegetable garden

There is also simple beauty in the leaves of vegetables, don’t you think?


My sister, Daisy Mom and her daughter, Fruity Girl, enjoy the harvest from their vegetable garden.  Especially the tomatoes….


Now many of you may be wondering where this “Unexpected Place” is…

Well, this vegetable garden sits in the middle of the sandy California desert.  

People who do not live in the desert are frequently amazed that anything can grow there.  But, the California desert is actually a huge source of commercially grown vegetables, such as lettuce, onions, carrots, broccoli, corn and spinach totaling over 1 billion dollars a year.

vegetable garden

I am getting very excited about visiting my sister and the other residents of “The Refuge” soon.  Mr. Green Jeans is planning for his spring planting of the vegetable garden.  I can hardly wait to see what they have planted.

We are considering planting a vegetable garden this year in our garden and need to get started in the next week or two.  I am thinking of making it a fun project to do with my kids over their spring break in the next week or two.  Of course, I will be posting all about it…

So, for those of you who have been thinking of planting a vegetable garden, why don’t you?  We can do this together….in the virtual sense ;^)

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
19 replies
  1. Darla
    Darla says:

    So much fun..you should do a veggie garden, your children will love it!! We have all sorts of veggies sprouting in containers and we planted the large veggie garden this past weekend..praying we actually harvest some this year!!

  2. Carol
    Carol says:

    Your sister looks so much like you Noelle. There is nothing like fresh picked veggies… fencing is the key for me this year… last year the ___ rabbits ate so much of my garden! I have to figure out what they do not like! Your photos are so bright and lovely!

  3. Kiki
    Kiki says:

    Wonderful post..and beautiful pictures..those tomatoes look super beautiful..and I love peppers! Nice to meet Green jeans..! It is so awesome growing your own veg …and so rewarding! Lovely post Noelle! Yay!

  4. Edith Hope
    Edith Hope says:

    Dear Noelle, What an enterprising person your nephew is and how encouraging it is to see young people taking an interest in gardening at an early age.

    And no, I did not for one minute imagine that the desert could be so productive.

  5. Di
    Di says:

    Bless his heart! how proud you all must be of him and I can only imagine his excitement and reward in planting seeds and watching them grow. What a great idea this family affair, and happy to see you may do it with your children. I wish our grandchildren lived closer. Helping grandma in the garden would have its reward. 😉

  6. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    Yes i know them all, and i wonder why each time i slide the arrow it reverted to the old post of the family, it took me 3x to come back in the newest post. Never mind, i am really inspired by very diligent family having fun in the garden. You made it look like gardening is so easy and simple that everything is more of fun, and the vegies look all healthy. I wonder if it really is fun in that area, because here is really hard work, because of the humidity, sun, and dry hard soil. I think i am envious of your environs.

  7. camissonia
    camissonia says:

    Nothing beats home grown. I had to chuckle though when I saw your last picture of the raised bed surrounded by chicken wire. In my never-ending battle with the bunnies and squirrels (yes, they're pesky, but still adorable), I had to fortify my own veggie garden like an impenetrable medieval fortress, with yards upon yards of similar fencing material.

  8. Kathleen Scott
    Kathleen Scott says:

    Love your pictures. Your sister and nephew are radiant.

    I'd love a vegetable garden but fear my laziness, not to mention the deer and squirrels and potential drought.

    Think I'll settle for putting eggplant and tomatoes in a flower bed.

  9. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    I'll plant a veggie garden with you Noelle! Actually I tried and failed dismally last summer but I'm game to give it another whirl this year. I'm hoping the weather will cooperate more….
    Beautiful garden your sister has. Glad I saw the sweet peas too because I want to get some started!

  10. Flowers
    Flowers says:

    Nice blog. The feeling of harvesting your crop, picking your first fruits, feeding the chicks, and learning from nature is truly a heart warming experience.

  11. Ume
    Ume says:

    Your nephew is cool.and what a nice T-shirt! I like growing Vegetable,too.I'm going to try Watermelon this year. I wanted to be a farmer before landscaper.

  12. Catherine@AGardenerinProgress
    Catherine@AGardenerinProgress says:

    How neat that he's the one taking care of the vegetable garden. It does seem like it must take extra care and watering to grow them in the desert. We have just planted some of our vegetable seeds, so hopefully we'll at least have tomatoes and peas this year.

  13. gippslandgardener
    gippslandgardener says:

    Noelle, I'd love to join you in creating a vege patch, but I'm going to have to wait until my loooong list of jobs for the rest of the garden is more up to date! So it's still just a couple of veges in pots for me.
    But I will be watching with great interest and learning as you develop and post about yours 🙂

  14. noel
    noel says:

    aloha noelle,

    your right, i need to start cleaning out some of the ornamental beds and put in more veggies….no excuse this time 🙂

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