Have you ever paused to think about the events of the previous month?
|My daughter, Rachele, graduated from her Navy Seabee School and was able to come home for 2 weeks after being gone for 5 months.|
|The newest addition to our family, Penny is continuing to learn what is okay to chew and what is NOT okay to chew on.|
|Freezing mint into ice cubes.|
|Making natural air fresheners.|
|Starting lettuce seeds indoors using recycled plastic containers.|
Many of the events this month, were celebrations…
|My friend and I gave a baby shower to the youth pastor and his wife at our church. I made the cupcakes and she made the cookies.|
|My nephews, Dean & Danny, turned 3-years-old and the party was held at our house.|
I made some new discoveries while doing landscape consults…
|I love this Adenium that a client of mine had. This plant is native to Africa, but she obtained this plant from a nursery in Tucson. I think I may have to get one for my patio.|
|I was asked to consult on the landscape of a fellow blogger, Diana Elizabeth, who is a fabulous photographer by the way. I loved this unusual combination of Mexican Honeysuckle, Pink ‘Katie’ Ruellia and Liriope along her front walk.|
|After spending some quality time at home with her dad, fixing her 1970 VW Bug, my daughter left for combat school in Mississippi. Soon she will be permanently stationed in Southern California.|
|While my son, Kai, playing football in the backyard isn’t an unusual event – it was extra special this month because he has finally recovered from his hip surgery in early June and has ditched his wheelchair and walker.|
|I made my first television appearance, showcasing fuss-free plants for fall. I was nervous, but in the end, I enjoyed it.|
|Last Saturday, I was asked by Wendy, the ‘Cupcake Queen’ if ‘AZ Plant Lady’ would make an appearance at our local cupcake shop. So, I showed up with my husband and granddaughter in tow and we all enjoyed the delicious sampling of Gigi’s delicious cupcakes.|
|The month of September ended with a visit to our local nursery to buy some vegetable transplants for my edible gardens. My granddaughter, Lily wasn’t too excited about the vegetables. Instead, she wanted to stop and smell every flower she saw 🙂|
Well, that is September in a nutshell. This month promises to be a busy month in the garden. Did you know that October is the best time of year to add most ornamental trees and shrubs to your garden?
So, get up and go outside where the weather is finally cooling down and start planting.
About this time of the year, I am busy helping my vegetable gardens transition into summer.
That means pulling any remaining leaf lettuce. Yes, it hurts to know that I now have to buy lettuce until next fall when I can grow it again.
Even though not all of my lettuce had bolted, none of it was edible. Once the temperatures get up to 90 degrees, the lettuce turns bitter.
|I love my crocs!|
All three of these items played a part in how I spent my Saturday. As I mentioned in previous posts, I spent Saturday over at Double S Farms which was one of the stops featured in the second annual Tour de Coops, which is a tour of chicken coops along with some vegetable gardens.
Okay, for the first item on my list – blue booties. As you drove up to Double S Farms, you were greeted by the following sign…..
All visitors had to put on blue booties and clean their hands before entering. This was because it is easy to accidentally carry diseases from one farm to the other.
As you can see, there were quite a few booties ready for visitors to put on.
There were so many visitors that day. Well over 100 people came throughout the day. Most were considering raising chickens and asked my sister, Chicken Farmer, many questions.
Some visitors already had chickens but were interested in seeing how others raised theirs. I was so impressed about how much my sister knew about raising chickens in such a short amount of time. It was just this past February that her chicks arrived in the mail.
**The pine cones were left there by some little visitors.
I don’t think that the chickens were too excited about all of the extra attention though.
Flo took longer than usual to lay her egg because people kept looking in at her.
The other chickens came up to visit us on the patio where we were sitting.
Lucy was looking around for some crumbs to eat while Effie was interested in the camera on the table…..
Both Lucy and Effie are ‘Easter-Eggers’ which means that they lay light blue eggs. Flo lays brown eggs. Effie was not looking her best that day because she was molting.
As the day went on, the second item in my list came into play – Hot Wheels. While my sister and brother-in-law were kept busy answering questions about raising chickens, I had fun playing with my nephews.
Little Farmer absolutely LOVES playing with his Hot Wheels cars. He carries some of them around in a plastic toolbox. He was kind enough to lend me some so that I could play with both him and Littlest Farmer…..
**By the way….a great Christmas gift for the little boy on your list would be an inexpensive plastic toolbox with some Hot Wheels inside 🙂
**Note to self…..do not leave your knitting out around a darling two-old…..they like to pull out your knitting needles 😉
I had a great time playing with the boys but I did have the chance to answer some questions about the vegetable garden….
The garden is covered in bird netting to help keep the chickens out – they love vegetables. The garden is full of all different types of lettuce right now.
**Notice Little Farmer is holding a piece of wood he found on the ground? Why is it that boys love to find bits of wood and carry them around? It doesn’t really matter what the reason is, I was just wondering 🙂
Among the lettuce and young broccoli plants were Marigolds which drew quite a bit of attention from the visitors. I explained that the flowers were not planted for looks, but actually help to keep harmful insects away from the vegetables.
So far, we were all having a great day, except for Soda….
She was not allowed outside to visit. I’m sure she would have loved to and was thinking that she could persuade some of the visitors to throw her a ball.
Some smaller people came over to visit the chickens as well along with their parents…..
My mother, Pastor Farmer, had fun showing these boys the chickens inside of the coop. The boys were dying to collect some eggs and so she sent them each home with an egg.
The boys also spent a little time playing with my nephews…..
You know what? There is just something so cute about a little boy in a cowboy hat and blue booties.
Some of the neighbors were also interested in what was going on….
The chickens were a bit shy at times being the center of attention, choosing to hide behind the Texas Sage shrubs…..
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a great time with my in-laws, my brother and sister-in-law and my two new nephews. All in all, we had 18 people at our house.
I may have mentioned before that I am a planner. Whenever possible love to prepare ahead of time, so I had all the tables set the day before Thanksgiving.
One of the many things that I love about living in the desert southwest, is the ability to grow vegetables 12 months of the year. Now I have mentioned before that I grew vegetables during college as part of required classwork out in a field owned by the school. I have instructed clients how to grow vegetables and have planted vegetable gardens for others. But I had never grown vegetables in my own garden. I had not experienced the excitement and wonder of checking the garden each day to see my plants growing bit by bit, see the flowers form and leaves grow and culminate in vegetables ready for harvesting. I did not know how much better vegetables taste when they are from your own garden.
And so, I had not experienced any of this…..sad isn’t it?
Well, early last spring we decided to plant a vegetable garden. The kids were so excited, but I must admit that I was even more so. My husband, always supportive of my gardening endeavors, was not quite as excited as I was, but was more then willing to do a lot of the grunt work.
Happy 9th Birthday Gracie!
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I am what many people would call a “planner”. I absolutely love to plan things ahead of time…..trips, schedules, and my garden. As the month of August begins to wane, it is time to start planning my fall vegetable garden.
As a child, I would enjoy sitting down with my dad’s newest Burpee catalog, looking at the newest vegetable and flower seed offerings. Now times have changed and instead of looking through a paper catalog, I was looking at a ‘virtual’ online catalog of numerous seed company sites. One that I especially like is Botanical Interests. They offer high-quality flower and vegetable seed at reasonable prices. Even if you do not purchase seeds from them, they offer extremely helpful growing tips for each type of seed that they sell. I have seen them for sale at some local nurseries and they are also available online as well.
Nasturtium is a powerhouse in the vegetable garden. They repel damaging insects such as aphids, whiteflies as well as some beetles. Another benefit is that insects that eat scale are also attracted by nasturtiums. *A lesser-known benefit is that both the flowers and leaves of nasturtium are edible. The leaves taste great with mixed salad greens and the flowers make a pretty garnish.
Marigolds are well known for their ability to repel damaging insects in the garden such as aphids, whiteflies, crickets and grasshoppers. French Marigolds (Tagetes patula), also help to repel nematodes in the soil. The bright flowers of all Marigolds attract butterflies and other pollinators.
Here are a few other great companion plants you may consider growing in and around your vegetable garden….
Alyssum (attracts pollinators, beneficial insects)
Basil (attracts pollinators, repels damaging insects)
Chives (repels damaging insects)
Coriander (attracts pollinators, repels damaging insects, attracts beneficial insects)
Lavender (attracts butterflies & bees, repels damaging insects)
Petunias (repels aphids)
Rosemary (flowers attract pollinators, repels damaging insects)
Thyme (attracts beneficial insects while repelling damaging insects)
I plan on preparing the soil in my raised vegetable garden by adding a mixture of compost and aged steer manure. *If you are like me and do not compost (I really should), or have cows in your backyard (I really don’t want any), you can buy both at your local big box store or local nursery. I apply compost and manure twice a year – in in late summer and late winter.
Other types of manure that are recommended for vegetable gardens are chicken and horse. Just make sure that they are aged and not fresh – fresh manure will burn your plants.
Nothing says “I love you” quite like a man who shovels manure for his wife’s vegetable garden.
I am so blessed 🙂
**Many professional and amateur vegetable gardeners have their own special garden soil recipe and they all have great results using different ratios and types of compost, manure and other amendments. What this really means to the backyard gardener is that there is no one ‘right’ recipe. Rather, there are many. The one overriding ingredient is compost. Even if compost is all you use for your garden soil, you will grow great vegetables.
I tend to go organic when I work in my vegetable garden in terms of fertilizer, but I have been known to apply a slow-release synthetic fertilizer in the past. If you decide to use a slow-release synthetic fertilizer, the labeling will tell you how long the fertilizer should last once applied. However, in our warm climate, it will not last that long….cut the length of time in half to determine how long it will really last.
Big box stores are now carrying a wide variety of organic fertilizers. I saw an organic fertilizer blend there just the other day that combined both bone meal, blood meal, micro-organisms as well as myccorhizae, which would work just great in my garden. *Mycorrhizae is a fungus that forms an extremely beneficial symbiotic relationship with plants via their roots.
And so, this weekend will find me adding my semi-annual application of compost/manure and organic fertilizer to my vegetable garden and allowing it to rest for a week or so before planting my seeds, which will actually help the soil.
I can almost taste my fresh grown vegetables…..
For more information about vegetable gardening including what and when to plant, you can check out this link.