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I hope you enjoyed the grand tour of my edible garden that I created in my side yard.


Today, I would like to show what is happening in my original vegetable garden…


As you can see, there is a lot growing in this area.

Among the vegetables is a giant sunflower, pots filled with ornamental plants AND vegetables and hollyhocks that have finished flowering can be seen alongside the garden.

Off to the right side, you can see my container corn.

And yes, those are plastic patio chairs inside my vegetable garden.  (I’ll explain why later.)


This edible garden is actually made up of three parts.  My original vegetable garden was a fenced in square space.  Like many gardeners who like to grow their own food, I realized that I needed more space – so we added on an extension a couple of years ago…


The third part of my edible garden consists of vegetables growing in containers along with ornamental plants…



I currently have zucchini growing in the closest pot along with a jalapeño plant, parsley and sweet potato vines.

The middle pot is filled with a Thai pepper plant, chives, cucumber, celosia and kangaroo paw.

The third (and my most favorite container) has a bell pepper plant, cinnamon basil, green & purple sweet potato vines, dianthus and angelita daisy growing inside.


The outer vegetable garden is filled with sunflowers and bush beans.

Our family loves to eat ‘string beans’.  They are easy to grow and to freeze for later.


Here is something that you may not know about growing beans.  “They make their own nitrogen, so you don’t need to add any nitrogen fertilizer.”  

In fact, if fertilize them with a fertilizer that contains nitrogen – it can cause them to grow beautiful leaves, but not beans.  That is because there needs to be a balance between the other major nutrients – phosphorus and potassium.

If you do apply a fertilizer, make sure that contains a low amount of nitrogen.

I have lots of cucumbers growing in the original vegetable garden along with a couple of pumpkin plants.

As a child, I grew up calling cucumbers ‘gurkens’, which is what they are called in German.  I spent some time when I was young, in Germany, visiting my grandparents while my grandfather was working over there.

I love cucumbers and we eat them 3 or 4 times a week.


It can be a little hard to spot ripe cucumbers.  Most of my cucumber plants are growing up onto the trellis, but sometimes you can find cucumbers growing on the ground.  You need to move the leaves aside to see them.

I like to eat cucumbers with salad, using my grandmother’s top secret’ salad dressing recipe.

I only wish that I could grow cucumbers and leaf lettuce at the same time….


Okay, back to the patio chairs sitting in my garden.

Why on earth would I place chairs in my garden?

Well, they are an easy way to provide shade for vegetables that quickly wilt in the full sun.


And so, that is what is going on in my edible gardens this summer.

**I am excited to share with you a gardening video that I made for Troybilt as a part of my involvement with the ‘Saturday 6″.
I’ll debut it for you on Monday 🙂

During the summer months, I enjoy spending time in my garden in the evenings, just as dusk settles in.  I love the warm dry heat, without the bright sun beating down on me.  I like how the light from the setting sun brings a new dimension to the garden.

One of my ‘Desert Museum’ Palo Verde trees is a late bloomer and is still in full flower, which this bee is taking full advantage of.  I love how the sunlight shines through it’s delicate yellow petals.
My attention is drawn to another one of my favorite trees, my Palo Blanco (Acacia willardiana).  The common name, translated into English means ‘white stick’, which refers to the white trunk.  I have three of these trees and I walked over to see the delicate foliage and seed pods.
While I was standing there, my attention was captured by what was going on higher up in the tree.  There were two hummingbirds enjoying the setting sun, just as I was.
I couldn’t believe how close I was and they were aware of my presence, but I think that they were so focused on each other, they could care less about a human standing nearby.
Because of the lighting, I could not tell what color they were to identify what species they were.  I would make a guess that they were Anna’s though.  I am sure they are a mating pair.  I wonder where they have built their nest?  I will have to keep my eyes open.
I have never photographed two hummingbirds together and was so excited – I could hardly believe my luck in getting a picture of them.  On my way back through the garden, my attention was captured by the last bloom of my English Rose, Abraham Darby.  I say that it is the last bloom, because it will not produce more roses until late September, when the summer heat begins to abate.  
The bloom was quite small, but lovely just the same.  **The heat of summer causes the rose blooms to open too rapidly, before the petals have fully formed.  
Before, I went back inside, I went to see how much larger our pumpkin has grown.  We have had so much fun growing pumpkins, even though it will be ready far before October.  But, my kids wanted to try growing them early, and they are having so much fun seeing how quickly it has grown.  You can read more about our ‘escaped pumpkin’ here if you like.
Here is what our pumpkin looked like one week ago…
 
And here is what 7 days of growth looks like….
Isn’t it amazing?  We are so proud of our little ‘escaped’ pumpkin.
As I prepared to go inside, I noticed that one of our sunflowers is beginning to open.  
It’s face points east, ready to welcome the start of a new day.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

I have been enjoying the weather very much this June.  Now for those of you who do not live in the desert, this is not a ‘normal’ statement.  June is a month that is spent indoors, hibernating with the air-conditioning and looking outside at the garden.

But, we have had a cooler then normal June so far.  Saturday’s temperature was 17 degrees below normal.  I was looking forward to this day because I had planned to spend time pruning and weeding.  As I worked outside, the breeze felt cool…..again, NOT normal for this time of year.

Today, the temperatures are about normal for this time of year and I did venture outside to get some work done in my vegetable garden, but once the clock hits 10:00, I tend to go back inside.

Even though it is hot outside in June, there is a riot of color in the garden.  This is normal for this time of year.  So, many desert residents spend their time indoors, viewing the beauty of their gardens through the windows 🙂

 This is my first time growing sunflowers.
They look so pretty in my vegetable garden.

My Bougainvillea is absolutely glorious this time of year.

Pink Bower Vine lines the front entry to my house.
They thrive in the afternoon sun.
Gold Lantana also lines the walk up to my front entry.
I love their bright blooms.
Warm summer temperatures are perfect for my Texas Sage shrubs.
Their purple blooms will come and go through the fall months.
Orange Jubilee takes center stage in my side yard.  
I love the lush green foliage, but the flowers are my favorite part.
A relative of Orange Jubilee, is my Yellow Bells shrub. 
 It is covered in yellow blossoms, which brighten an otherwise boring expanse of a brick wall.
My last submission, Radiation Lantana.
Blooms appear March through November…..I am so blessed!
Please visit May Dream Gardens for more GBBD posts.  I love seeing what is blooming around the world.
On another note, life since my son’s surgery has been busier then usual.  Whereas I used to blog 6 times a week, I now feel accomplished if I write 3.  But, I don’t feel too badly about it.  I am enjoying my time with my son, who is wheelchair bound for at least 3 more weeks.
We play cards, watch movies, read books together.  He also has fun playing with his army men, Wii, his Legos and reading books on his own.  We suffered a little bit of a setback yesterday.  Kai was signed up for our church’s Vacation Bible School this week and my husband went with him to help out.  Unfortunately, there was too much physical activity that Kai could not participate in and he was often left on the sidelines.  He hip was also bothering him with the extra activities that he could participate in, so we spoke to him and agreed to not continue with VBS this year.   
The great news is that Kai will start physical therapy in 3 weeks, which means that he can start putting weight on his leg 🙂  Right now though, we are busy keeping him happy when all he can do is sit and lie down.
I am so thankful for the comments that I continue to receive.  I apologize that I have not had the time to respond as much as I would like too.  But, I am trying my best to carve out a little time each day to visit all of you and leave a little note 🙂

Well, I have to admit, that in the past, I did not truly understand the allure of vegetable gardening.  Sure, I had to grow my own plot of vegetables in college for my horticulture class – but that was for a grade.  I also dutifully helped people create their own gardens, but I never had one for myself.  

That was then, and this is now….I am completely hooked on vegetable gardening!  Each morning, I go out to see how my plants are doing and the kids hurry home for school and check to see if there have been any changes.  Their favorite thing to do is to find the newly ripened cherry tomatoes to eat – they never make it to our salads.

It has been six weeks since we planted our seeds directly in the ground and you can read about it in my earlier post, “A Vegetable Garden – Completed” if you like.

I just love this view outside of my family room window.  I can see the tops of my corn just over the fence and my flowering Palo Verde in the background.  The Palo Verde flowers are providing a nice layer of mulch for my garden.
At first, it seemed like it was taking a long time for my small plants to begin growing.  I celebrated each time a tiny seedling germinated, but it seemed to take a while for them to really get going.  But, that is probably because I was watching them so closely every day, which reminds me of the saying “A watched pot never boils.” 
That is where pictures help to provide a healthy dose of reality for me.  Below, is a picture I took of our little garden, just two weeks after planting from seed….
*The transplants in the seed trays were for an upcoming service project and I also gave some to my mother for her garden.
Now, I know that I did not organize my plantings very well and probably have done quite a few things wrong, but that is what is fun about gardening.  You can learn so much just by doing.  For example, you should have three rows of corn in order for them to pollinate each other.  Since I do not have that much corn, I will have the kids help with the pollination, so they can learn even more about how things grow.
Below is a picture taken two weeks ago of my tomato plant in the right back corner and there is such a difference.
 
You can see above my tomato plant has grown quite a bit in just four weeks and I have pumpkin growing in the foreground ( I realize that we sowed the pumpkin seedlings too early and will probably have pumpkins this summer, but the kids were so excited to grow some right now).
Now, come see the garden at just six weeks after sowing the seeds.  I must admit, that I am a little bit proud of our garden 🙂
 
The corn is now taller then the fence and I can see the corn flower starting to emerge.  
Our single tomato plant is growing so beautifully and produces quite a few tomatoes for us.  I will be planting a lot more tomato plants next time – maybe give each of the kids their own plant.
Our climate is ideal for growing watermelon and I cannot wait to see the flowers start to appear on our watermelon plants.
 
The  flowers are starting to appear on our cucumber plants.
I love the large leaves of the pumpkin plant.
My tiny oregano plant is starting to look more like a little plant then just a couple of leaves.  *This is a macro-view and the plant is actually still quite small.
You can tell that I have already started to use some of my basil 🙂
My sunflowers are starting to grow tall.
And I can see that flowers are almost ready to appear….
Some years, it seems that we go straight from winter into summer and skip over spring.  But this year, we have had a lovely spring, but now that temperatures are climbing into the 90’s, I have covered some of the garden in shade cloth (the corn are too tall and do not require shade).  This helps to protect the leaves and vegetables from becoming sunburned.  

My daughter, Ruthie, is so proud of our little garden and made me a sign for the garden for Mother’s Day.  She cut it out of wood (with her dad’s help) and painted it for me.

Thank you so much for letting me show you how our garden is growing.   

I will post another update soon, probably as soon as I see some flowers.

Have a great day!
There is so much beauty as you look closely as the flower of the sun begins to unfurl it’s petals.
 
A Sunflower slowly begins to unfurl it’s petals, eager to face the sun.
 
Now completely open, the Sunflower embraces the desert sun.
These two beautiful photos were taken by my nephew, Mr. Green Jeans, who is the resident vegetable grower at “The Refuge”.
*For those of you who have not had a chance yet, please visit my 100th blog post and sign up for the giveaway, which ends on Friday (tomorrow).