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As you know, I enjoy growing my own vegetables.  Many people ask me what the secret is to a healthy vegetable garden.


Well, what if I told you that the secret ingredient is a natural fertilizer that improves your soil, is plentiful and very cheap.


Would you want to try it in your garden?  Chances are that you are already familiar with this secret ingredient and farmers have been using it for centuries.


What is it?


MANURE


Manure along with compost are the backbone of my soil in my vegetable gardens.

I blogged about using manure when creating my newest vegetable garden early last year.

I recently wrote an article “The Poop Scoop: Enrich Your Soil With Good Old Manure” for Houzz.com

I hope you enjoy it!

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The most recent update on our daughter, Rachele, who is in basic training for the Navy is that she has to pass her last running test in order to graduate.

She is quite nervous about passing because she still hasn’t recovered from her twisted ankle and also has shin splints.  

I would appreciate your prayers that she will be able to pass 🙂


I don’t know about you, but I really value regional gardening information.


Whether you live and garden in the Southwest (like me), or the Northeast, Midwest, Great Lakes, the Rockies, the deep South, etc. – gardening tips tailored to your area are vital to your success in the garden.

Flagstaff, Arizona

Where else can you go to learn when to plant your vegetable garden or prune back your shrubs?  

When to you start planting your containers with flowering annuals?  

What type of plants do well in your area and what ones don’t?

For example: I can’t tell you how often I am asked how to grow gardenias in the desert.  

I tell them that although you can grow them here – it is very hard.  They struggle with our alkaline soils and dry heat.

Arabic Jasmine
I tell them that if they love fragrant flowers and dark green foliage like the gardenia’s – then how about trying Arabic jasmine, which does well here, instead?

For me, the plant that I would most love to grow in my garden is hydrangeas…

Not from my garden.  I did enjoy seeing these hydrangeas growing in C.S. Lewis’ garden in Oxford, England.
But, I know better then to even try planting them in my garden, (even though I sometimes see them for sale at our local big box store’s nursery now and then).

They will not grow here in the desert Southwest.

In March, my vegetable garden is ready to be planted with warm-season vegetables such as corn, cucumbers and bush beans, while my winter vegetables are still ripening.

Cauliflower, green onions, nasturtiums and hollyhocks.
But, in cooler climates – gardeners are still busy starting their seeds indoors.

So, what can a gardener do to get the right advice for their garden?

Jerome, Arizona
Check out a gardening guide for their region.  

I enjoy reading the regional gardening guides from Sunset magazine as well as Phoenix Home & Garden magazine.

Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden, I designed next to a golf course.
I have been privileged to write regional, monthly gardening guides for a national big box store, in newsletters, for magazines and for blogs for years – representing the Southwest.

The tips that I give in my regional gardening guides have been accumulated from my career as a horticulturist and include lessons learned from both successes and failures. 

*Believe it or not, I’ve also written regional gardening guides for the Rockies, the Great Lakes region, Florida and California – which I enjoy because I get to ‘stretch’ my gardening knowledge by going outside of my local gardening region.

Some of you know that I write the gardening content for the Birds & Blooms magazine’s blog.

Well, I am excited to share with you my latest writing project. 

I am now the regional gardening writer for the Southwest for Houzz.com

Houzz is a great site that focused on helping people improve their homes and gardens with inspiration and advice.  They also have great gardening content including plant profiles, how-to projects as well as regional gardening guides.

I hope you’ll visit from time to time and hopefully come away with new information on how to make your garden even better.

However, regardless of whether you live in the Southwest (like me) or all the way up in Alaska….
find a regional gardening guide for your area.  Local magazines, newspapers are a good start as well as online gardening help like Houzz.com