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?

vegetables

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

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 ;^)

Last Friday, I went on a visit to a very special place, called “The Farm at South Mountain”.  The farm is a rural oasis just 8 minutes from downtown Phoenix.  

My younger sister and her family (residents of “The Refuge”), were in town on a visit and we all journeyed together to explore this peaceful farm. 

The Farm at South Mountain

 The 12-acre farm sits on an old riverbed and is blessed with rich soil.  A large pecan grove, organic vegetable and flower gardens, 3 award-winning restaurants, gift shop, artist studio and spa are all located on the farm.  Entry to the farm is free and guests are encouraged to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the farm.

rural oasis

As you first enter, you are greeted by the large pecan grove with numerous picnic tables, inviting you to enjoy breakfast or lunch from one of the restaurants on-site.  The pecan trees hide the sights of the skyscrapers of downtown Phoenix and make you feel like you are miles away from the city.

*Even in winter, I think pecan trees are beautiful.

rural oasis

The organic gardens greet you as you walk along the walkways.  Rows of vegetables and flowers were neatly laid out.  Roosters could be heard before you could see them nearby the vegetable gardens.

rural oasis

Organically grown vegetables, flowers and herbs surrounded us everywhere we looked.  I felt like a kid in a candy store – there was just so much to see and take pictures of.  

rural oasis

A farmer’s market is held on Saturday mornings at the farm.

rural oasis

Young tomato plants.

Anaheim Chilis

 Anaheim Chilis

rural oasis

The vegetables grown on the farm make their way to local restaurants, schools and markets.

Brocciflower, freshly harvested

Brocciflower, freshly harvested.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes 

Carrots and turnips freshly washed

Carrots and turnips freshly washed.

Green and purple lettuce washed

Green and purple lettuce washed and packaged and ready to leave for a local restaurant.

chicken coop

No need to purchase natural fertilizer, with a ready supply available from the chicken coop.

rural oasis

Huge broccoli plants.

rural oasis

Purple and Green Lettuce.

I love the contrast in the colors of the green and purple lettuce.

compost pile

How is this for a compost pile?

The Farm at South Mountain

Daisy Mom, Fruity Girl, Little Farmer and Pastor Farmer. (Residents of “The Refuge” & “Double S Farms”).

We enjoyed a wonderful morning together and ended it with a picnic lunch underneath the pecan trees.

There was so much to see and I took over 118 photos.  But, don’t worry, I won’t make you look at all of them ;^)

But, I would love to share pictures of the flowers and the herbs and succulents in my next post with all of you.  They were just beautiful.