Spring is in full bloom in my garden.  I love this time of year and frequently walk around, noting what is blooming and how quickly everything is growing.

Timber Press has a great tool for helping you get ready for spring.  They have monthly tips and are offering one of their great giveaways.  

The giveaway consists of a collection of their most popular gardening books. 
I had the opportunity to read one of their recent books and I just love it! 
Those of you who know me personally, know that one thing that I don’t like are landscapes that require a lot of maintenance.  
My ‘new’ favorite gardening book is called “The NEW Low-Maintenance Garden” by Valerie Easton.
She shares many of the same gardening philosophies that I do.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:
“…..they have a minimum of lawn, little pruning or dividing to be done…Most often, plants are placed where they can grow to their own natural sizes and shapes without interference.”
“….most are neither manicured nor scruffy, but maintained at a state somewhere in between that might be called lived-in.”
 I love that description, don’t you?

Leaf lettuce and garlic grow among alyssum, nasturtiums and violas, which repel bad bugs and attract beneficial insects to my vegetable garden.
 Here is my favorite quote that I feel describes my garden perfectly:
“New low-maintenance gardens offer beauty to feed your eyes, flowers to fill your house, fruit and vegetables to fill your family and friend‘s bellies….but don’t wear you out on the way.”
The NEW Low-Maintenance Garden has great tips and guidelines to get you on your way to creating your own beautiful, low-maintenance garden.
Take a few minutes to check out the Timber Press guide to spring and enter their “Ready, Set, Grow!” giveaway. 


For those of you who are kind enough to take time to read my “ramblings”, you know that I absolutely love to grow vegetables.

So, when I heard of a brand new book called, “The Speedy Vegetable Garden”, I just knew that I had to read it.

The publishers at Timber Press, were kind enough to give me a copy of the book to review and I must say, that I have already dog-eared more then 15 pages of things that I want to try in my garden.

What I really like about the book is that its focus is on growing vegetables and harvesting them within a relatively short time frame.

For example: I love to grow carrots.  But, I often get impatient and harvest a few carrots when they are still rather small.  Well, according to “The Speedy Vegetable Garden”, very young carrots are sweet and delicious.  

So, I went out into my garden and harvested some young carrots and enjoyed their delicious sweetness in my dinner salad.  I love this idea because I can spread out the harvest of my carrots – I can enjoy some while they are about 6 weeks old and the rest later.

Another project that I am anxious to try is making sun-dried tomatoes using cherry tomatoes, which ripen much more quickly then large tomatoes.  

I also learned that very young radish leaves make great micro greens for salads.

I was also inspired to start another gardening project – growing potatoes in containers.

If these potatoes were in your kitchen, you’d probably throw them out.  But, seed potatoes are supposed to have sprouts growing 😉
The last time I grew potatoes – I was a college student and we had each been given a piece of farm land to plant vegetables.  Since french fries was among my favorite foods at the time, I made sure that I included potatoes in my vegetable plot.

This time, I bought an inexpensive container with holes on the bottom for drainage, some seed potatoes and potting soil.  I filled the pot with 4″ of potting soil, added 3 seed potatoes (they are really small potatoes), and then added 4 more inches of soil.  

I must keep them well-watered, but not soggy.  I will apply fertilizer as well.  Soon, green leaves will appear and I will cover them with more potting soil.  This cycle will repeat itself (adding more soil once leaves appear) until the soil reaches the top of my container.  In just 8 – 12 weeks, I will be harvesting my own potatoes.

I can hardly wait!

I encourage you to read “The Speedy Vegetable Garden” by authors Mark Diacona & Lia Leendertz.

Maybe your copy will become as dog-eared as mine 😉

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?

Throughout the year, I keep my eye out for gifts for friends and family.  You never know when you will find the ‘perfect’ gift or a terrific sale.

Sometimes when people ask me what I want for Christmas, I have a hard time coming up with a list because I tend to focus on what I am getting others (with 5 kids, my granddaughter, siblings, nieces, nephews, husband, mom & in-laws I have a  large list 😉

Well if you need some ideas for your own Christmas list or the gardener in your life, here some great gifts….

#1. Subscription to Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine

A subscription is the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year at an affordable price.

If you garden in the desert (or even if you don’t), this is a fabulous magazine.

You can get two years for the price of one here.

#2. Get a head start on your spring garden with a gift certificate to Burpee 

I love shopping for seeds for my spring garden.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a gift card to spend on your purchase?  Gift cards start at $25 and you can find them here.

#3 A great gardening book 

I love gardening books for ideas and inspiration as well as for reference.  Here are a some new ones that I have enjoyed this year…

I just finished reading Terrarium Craft and have been inspired by their how-to create beautiful terrariums.  I’m going to create my own terrarium using my daughter’s old goldfish bowl.  

Carrots Love Tomatoes is my favorite book that I read this year.  It is full of little known information about which plants benefit each other in the garden.  Companion planting is becoming more mainstream and I use it my own garden.

I just finished reading The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids.  If you are a parent or grandparent, this book is a must-have for you.  
You’ll be seeing some of the projects in the next year as my kids and I have some fun.

#4 Tool Basket

How useful would this Gardening Tool Basket be?  Plenty of places to put your gardening tools and room for harvested vegetables, flowers, or clippings.  
I would love this 😉

#5 Garden Dump Cart

My sister has one of these Garden Dump Carts and it is so practical.  It is so easy to load up, move and dump.  Wouldn’t it be great for a compost heap?

#6 Raised Garden Kit

Has the gardener in your life been wanting to start their own vegetable garden?  This Raised Garden Kit makes starting your own vegetable or flower garden easy.  

I hope that you have some good ideas for your favorite gardener.

OR, if you would like to give someone gift ideas for yourself, simply send them the link to this post 😉