Well, I have to admit, that in the past, I did not truly understand the allure of vegetable gardening.  Sure, I had to grow my own plot of vegetables in college for my horticulture class – but that was for a grade.  I also dutifully helped people create their own gardens, but I never had one for myself.  

That was then, and this is now….I am completely hooked on vegetable gardening!  Each morning, I go out to see how my plants are doing and the kids hurry home for school and check to see if there have been any changes.  Their favorite thing to do is to find the newly ripened cherry tomatoes to eat – they never make it to our salads.

It has been six weeks since we planted our seeds directly in the ground and you can read about it in my earlier post, “A Vegetable Garden – Completed” if you like.

I just love this view outside of my family room window.  I can see the tops of my corn just over the fence and my flowering Palo Verde in the background.  The Palo Verde flowers are providing a nice layer of mulch for my garden.
At first, it seemed like it was taking a long time for my small plants to begin growing.  I celebrated each time a tiny seedling germinated, but it seemed to take a while for them to really get going.  But, that is probably because I was watching them so closely every day, which reminds me of the saying “A watched pot never boils.” 
That is where pictures help to provide a healthy dose of reality for me.  Below, is a picture I took of our little garden, just two weeks after planting from seed….
*The transplants in the seed trays were for an upcoming service project and I also gave some to my mother for her garden.
Now, I know that I did not organize my plantings very well and probably have done quite a few things wrong, but that is what is fun about gardening.  You can learn so much just by doing.  For example, you should have three rows of corn in order for them to pollinate each other.  Since I do not have that much corn, I will have the kids help with the pollination, so they can learn even more about how things grow.
Below is a picture taken two weeks ago of my tomato plant in the right back corner and there is such a difference.
You can see above my tomato plant has grown quite a bit in just four weeks and I have pumpkin growing in the foreground ( I realize that we sowed the pumpkin seedlings too early and will probably have pumpkins this summer, but the kids were so excited to grow some right now).
Now, come see the garden at just six weeks after sowing the seeds.  I must admit, that I am a little bit proud of our garden 🙂
The corn is now taller then the fence and I can see the corn flower starting to emerge.  
Our single tomato plant is growing so beautifully and produces quite a few tomatoes for us.  I will be planting a lot more tomato plants next time – maybe give each of the kids their own plant.
Our climate is ideal for growing watermelon and I cannot wait to see the flowers start to appear on our watermelon plants.
The  flowers are starting to appear on our cucumber plants.
I love the large leaves of the pumpkin plant.
My tiny oregano plant is starting to look more like a little plant then just a couple of leaves.  *This is a macro-view and the plant is actually still quite small.
You can tell that I have already started to use some of my basil 🙂
My sunflowers are starting to grow tall.
And I can see that flowers are almost ready to appear….
Some years, it seems that we go straight from winter into summer and skip over spring.  But this year, we have had a lovely spring, but now that temperatures are climbing into the 90’s, I have covered some of the garden in shade cloth (the corn are too tall and do not require shade).  This helps to protect the leaves and vegetables from becoming sunburned.  

My daughter, Ruthie, is so proud of our little garden and made me a sign for the garden for Mother’s Day.  She cut it out of wood (with her dad’s help) and painted it for me.

Thank you so much for letting me show you how our garden is growing.   

I will post another update soon, probably as soon as I see some flowers.

Have a great day!
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, 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."

24 replies
  1. Becca's Dirt
    Becca's Dirt says:

    You mentioned sunburned plants. It's funny Tootsie mentioned that this morning too and I had never heard of this before. Wierd.

    Your gardens are looking great. I can see how things are growing. Neat that the kids love to eat the cherry tomatos. Bet they never cared for them before.

  2. VW
    VW says:

    Looks very good, Noelle. My children are helping me be more excited about veggie gardening. Our frost-free date is May 15, so we haven't actually planted anything this year. But soon!

  3. FlowerLady
    FlowerLady says:

    What a sweet post about your family garden. It is really neat seeing the progress in a few weeks time. I love the sign Ruthie made for the garden.

    Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

  4. Antique ART Garden
    Antique ART Garden says:

    I want that sign Ruthie made !! You are one of the few gardeners I see that doesn't have their veggie-patches screened and gated off from squirrels and birds . How do you keep them from not eating your garden ? do tell, Gina

  5. Meredith
    Meredith says:

    This post made me smile so much, Noelle! I love it when someone else succumbs to the veggie gardening passion. You've done a fine job, and learning by doing is the very best way. I'm thrilled for you — and for your children. 🙂

    I wish Ruthie would make me a sign, too; it's so charming and pretty.

  6. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    Lovely plants. I love growing my fresh herbs and vegetables, its so satisfying, not to mention the joy of going outside to pick your own herbs and salad greens “minutes fresh”. Plus of course you know what you grow is free of all those awful pesticides and chemicals.
    I grew up with my parents having a big kitchen garden, and they used to give me my own bed to grow my veggies (partly to avoid me wreaking havoc on thier plants!). I remember on some weekdays my mom would go out with a basket in the garden, and that’s how that day’s dinner was formulated-based on what she harvested. We never bought juices in packs or bottles, we had passion fruit vines as well as citrus trees for fresh juice every day.

  7. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    I thought I'd also share some of the varieties I have found that grow well in my hot, dry clime-tonmatoes-cherries including sweet million, the best producing full size is costoluto fiorentino, sweet peppers-doe hill golden bell ( just about the best tasting bell pepper I ever had) from http://www.southernexposure.com plus the italian and greek peppers. Thai basil plants last a couple years, as opposed to a season. Of the greens, arugula and mustards grow like weeds,and can be picked young for salads or larger for cooking. Microgreens also do well. Aji dulce peppers are of course another great warm weather choice.

  8. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    Noelle, your garden is looking terrific. I can't believe how tall the corn is and that you'll be harvesting tomatoes soon. I planted peas in March (after St. Patrick's Day) and they are sitting there ~ way too cold for anything to grow. I wish we could grow watermelon ~ it's one of our favorite summer fruits but our growing season is WAY too short. You're so lucky.
    Getting hooked on vegetable gardening is a good addiction!

  9. Rosie@leavesnbloom
    Rosie@leavesnbloom says:

    I'm kinda getting hooked on the veggie trend too Noelle. I think its great that your kids are so involved in the growing of them too and now in the pollination of the sweetcorn. I never knew that about sweetcorn needing 3 drills. Sweetcorn really only does well here in polytunnels but the taste straight from being cut is ever so sweet isn't it – worth all the effort growing it at home I think.

    I was sowing seeds in my little veggie garden last night and I was wondering how yours was coming along – now I can see!

  10. Curbstone Valley Farm
    Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    Your veggie garden is looking great! This is how it starts…I bet next year you'll have at least half a dozen tomato plants…and probably more basil too. I love the sign that Ruthie made!

  11. Darla
    Darla says:

    I remember the rough start you had to your veggie garden. How is your daughter? I did not see a brace on your son's are, guessing he is fine! Love the heart sign!!!

  12. Ami
    Ami says:

    Noelle: Vegi garen is something I have not really put the hands on yet in my garden. I am thinking I may want to have one for this fall 🙂 Yours really looks so healthy. I am sure kids are really having fun. Picking tomato to eat from own plants is a real fun!

  13. Meredehuit
    Meredehuit says:

    It does my heart good to see vegetables growing! I've bought my plants and am ready to put them in the ground as soon as the weather looks good. Love looking at yours!

  14. James Missier
    James Missier says:

    You have tempted me to start my own vegetable garden.
    Ohh!! How I wish I got more space.

    Thanks for sharing your lovely vegetable garden, the handmade heart is very touching. Give the impression that so much love & care is planted together & im sure the harvest will be excellent.

  15. pamsenglishgarden
    pamsenglishgarden says:

    Noelle, You have a right to be proud of your vegetable garden … it is lovely! Your daughter's sign is very special. I started planting this month (the cool-weather crops) and will be planting everything else in a couple of weeks. I got quite excited when I saw your pics … can't wait! Pam

  16. gippslandgardener
    gippslandgardener says:

    Wow – taking those photos a couple of weeks apart really does show how quickly your veges are progressing Noelle! I can relate (on a smaller scale) to checking on seedlings every day and thinking they are moving so slow!
    Everything in that garden looks so full of life – I'm sure the kids do too living off those yummy fresh tomatoes!

  17. Kate
    Kate says:

    I think this is one of our years to skip over spring and jump straight into summer. Feels like March, it's still so chilly. Anyhoo… It took me awhile to develop an interest in veggies, as well, but now I think they're loads of fun. I like your idea of the little picket fence. Very charming. 🙂

  18. sweet bay
    sweet bay says:

    Your vegetable garden looks great, and so charming with the fence and sign and Palo Verdo tree arching over it. I'd love that view from my family room window too!

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