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It’s one of my favorite times of year in the garden – my peach trees are heavily laden with delicious, sweet fruit ready for picking.

Many people are surprised to learn that you can grow peaches in Arizona, but they do very well. However, they do ripen earlier than in cooler climates. May is peach season here in the desert.

My peach trees sit outside my kitchen window, and I’ve been keeping my eye on them to see when they were ready to harvest.  Finally, the day arrived, and I brought out my bushel basket and got to picking.

One peach tree can provide you with most of the peaches you need. Last year, I made peach blueberry jam, which was so good, that it didn’t last long. Today, I’m planning on making regular peach jam, but I can always buy peaches from the store at another time to make other variations if I choose to.

Every May, I haul out my water bath canner, canning jars, and spend 2 hours making delicious peach jam.

Growing peaches and making jam isn’t difficult or expensive, but there are guidelines to follow. I made a video of the process, from what type of peach trees do best in the desert, how to tell if your peaches are ripe, and how to make jam.  I hope you enjoy!

//youtu.be/jEcyAzCB-W4

This past Memorial Day, my mother had the entire family (minus my daughter, Rachele, who is in the Navy) over for brunch to celebrate the beginning of summer.


As we drove up to the farm, we were greeted by the following sight…



My nephews along with my son, Kai, were selling lemonade made from the lemons from the backyard tree.


They had quite a few people buying a refreshing cup of lemonade, including my son-in-law, Jeff.


Kai and the boys were kept busy filling cups with lemonade.  In addition, they also sold homemade jam made from the peach trees.


My daughter, Brittney and Lily (my granddaughter) came over too and Lily got her first taste of lemonade.


As we entered the house, we were greeted by delicious smells of eggs, sausage, fruit and cinnamon rolls.

I couldn’t wait to finish eating so that I could go outside with my mother to see what was growing in her vegetable garden.

She was most proud of her Russian gourds.


Okay, they really aren’t Russian, but my sister-in-law brought the seeds in Russia for my mother.  You can buy the same gourd seed in the US.  

But, we like calling them Russian gourds because it sounds more fun and exotic.



Her pattypan squash is also growing well, above.  This summer squash is a lot like zucchini.  My mom plans on cutting it into small pieces and adding to salads, much like you would cucumbers.


Her sunflowers provided much appreciated shade for the garden as well as seeds for the birds.  My brother considered trying some of the seeds.


If you want to keep the birds from eating the seeds, you can place a paper grocery bag on top of the flowers.


Lots of zucchini were beginning to form.  If you are relatively new to vegetable gardening, then zucchini is a great vegetable to get started with in the summer.  They are easy to grow and there is something so satisfying when you bring a large one inside.

My 2-year old twin nephews took some time to play in the toy front end loader…


Then it was time to celebrate Kai’s birthday.  He is now 11 years old.


His favorite gift was a ‘Navy’ hat from his big sister, which we bought at the Naval base after we saw our daughter graduate.



His second-favorite gift was a huge squirt gun from his grandma.

Late May is also the time that we pick peaches from the trees.


So my mother and I headed out to pick some peaches for me to take home so that I could make peach jam.



I love making peach jam and enjoying it throughout the year.


The peaches, above, were picked from my own peach tree.  We planted it in January and I was quite surprised when it produced so many peaches.  But, I certainly wasn’t complaining 😉

Of course, I didn’t have enough peaches from my own tree, so I used those that I picked from my mother’s trees to supplement my own.


When you pick peaches, use them the same day if possible because they are so soft and bruise so easily.  I waited only one day and already had some soft spots on my peaches.

My mother taught me how to make peach jam a few summers ago.  I blogged about it back then in “A Harvest Of Peaches and Jam”

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I wanted to thank those of you who left such kind comments regarding my last post about my daughter Rachele’s graduation from Navy basic training.


Spring is my favorite time in the garden.  Is it yours?

Plants are in full bloom and my vegetable garden is filled with both cool-season and a few warm-season crops.

Today, I thought that I would take you to the ‘farm’ to see how my mother’s vegetable garden is growing.


The ‘farm’ is nicknamed “Double S Farms” by the family.  It is just down the road from our house and is a favorite place for all the family to gather.


My mother has two raised vegetable beds and she loves tending her vegetables.

One bed is dedicated to cool-season crops that will soon give way to warm-season vegetables.


She still has lettuce growing, which she uses to make delicious salads when we all gather together for dinner on Tuesday nights.


The broccoli has gone to flower, but it looks so pretty, that she keeps it in the garden.

Do you see the orange flower in the background of the photo, above?  That is a marigold, which is a great ‘companion’ plant for the vegetable garden because it helps to repel bad bugs who might eat her vegetables.


While we spend time looking at the vegetable gardens, the neighbor’s tortoise stops briefly, to see what we are doing from the other side of the fence.


The second vegetable garden was built by the family as a surprise for my mother’s birthday over a year ago.

She has started her warm-season crops in it, including tomatoes, summer squash and gourds.


Sugar snap peas (one of my favorite vegetables) hang from vines growing on a small trellis.


The newest vegetable bed is also home to…


A toad, which is helpful with insect control.

He recently moved from his previous home next to the chicken coop.  My nephew, who is a Star Wars fan, gave him a special name.


While the toad keeps bugs in control around the vegetable gardens – Francie, the resident ‘naked-neck’ chicken, patrols for bugs outside of the garden.

As you can see, spring has sprung at the family farm.  

Soon, summer will be here which heralds another favorite activity…


Picking peaches and making jam!

How about you?
What is growing in your garden this spring?

Will you grow something different this year?

I always think of the week of Memorial Day as the first ‘unofficial’ week of summer.  The weather is getting hot, the kids have their last day of school and it is also a time of harvest.

For the past few weeks, my tomato and bush bean plants have been fruitful.  
Every week, I blanch my tomatoes by putting them in boiling water for 45 seconds, which makes peeling them easier.
Then I remove the green part of the stem and then ‘squish’ the tomatoes to get rid of the seeds and excess liquid.
What remains the tomato, is the delicious part and I put it in a plastic freezer bag (making sure to get all the air out).  Then I freeze it until I am ready to use them to make sauce.
*My tomatoes aren’t flowering any longer, because of the hot weather – but the tomatoes are ripening.  By mid-May, you should put some sort of shade cloth protection for your tomatoes.
I am thrilled with how well my bush beans are producing.  I have six plants and they produce enough for us to eat for dinner once a week.  I take the extra and blanch them for 3 minutes and then place them in ice water before freezing them as well.
The end of May is also time that I start canning.
The peaches at Double S Farms (my mother & sister’s family residence) are heavy with sweet fruit.
The trees are so generous that my other sister and I have plenty to make into jam, even after my mother has made hers.
I made three batches so far and have also tried my hand at making ‘Peach Cider Vinegar’, which I will share later.
Soon, the plums at Double S Farms will ripen and then the apples, which I will can as well 🙂
Last Sunday was my son, Kai’s 10th birthday.  We had a family celebration with his grandmothers, aunts, uncles and cousins present along with his best friend.
Monday morning, Kai went on a flight in a two-seat airplane based at our local airport.
Kai was excited, but also a little nervous.
His best-friend’s father was the pilot.
Kai was strapped in and all ready to go.
Up in the air and having a great time!
After his flight, we headed to Target with along with his best friend so he could use his gift cards.
Not surprisingly, he used them all to buy more Pokemon cards….his friend also bought some too.
Kai had the best day organizing his cards and trading with his friends.
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I hope you all are having a great week!

You know what?  I don’t think that I know anyone who doesn’t like spring.  Do you?

This past week, I spent a some time capturing some of the signs of spring around me with my camera.  


I hope you enjoy them…..

The beautiful vermilion colored flowers of the Ocotillo.
Hummingbirds think they are not only beautiful, but delicious as well….

There are signs of new life all around….


Canadian Goslings with their mother.

The desert is starting to bloom as well…..


Flowering Prickly Pear Cactus

I am starting to count down the weeks until the peaches are fully ripe….



I can almost taste the peach jam that I will be making with my mother next month 🙂

Yesterday evening, my daughter and I spent time harvesting carrots from our vegetable garden.




Anyone have a recipe for carrot soup?

How about you?  
What signs of spring do you see where you live?

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Please stop by to read my latest Birds & Blooms blog
“Even Vegetables Need Friends”