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I must confess that the heat of July keeps me indoors most of the time.

In fact, I try to make my trips out to my garden under 15 minutes or less.  I just don’t like to sweat.

But, I do have two things that I have to share with you.

The first one is – my pumpkin seeds have all sprouted and are growing!

July Vegetable Garden

July Vegetable Garden

All four came up.

I didn’t plant them inside of my vegetable garden, because of how large they get. I learned my lesson a few years ago.  You can read my post about it if you like –  “What Is Wrong With This Picture”

July Vegetable Garden

July Vegetable Garden

I also put some chicken wire around the planting site to keep my dogs from digging up my newly planted seeds.

For water, I put a single drip emitter in the center, which is connected to the drip system of my nearby vegetable garden.

My pumpkins should be ready in October.  Right now, that seems so far away – but it will be here before we know it!

A few weeks ago, I posted about what was happening in my summer vegetable garden “Snapshot of a Summer Week in the Garden”

In it, I mentioned trying drying my herbs by spreading them out onto cookie sheets instead of hanging them up.

Well guess what?

July Vegetable Garden

It worked beautifully!

I placed my herbs onto paper towels and then covered them with additional paper towels to keep the dust off.

I stored them in our garage and when I checked on them a week later – they were nice and dry.

This was much easier then hanging them, so this will probably be my “go-to” method from now on.

*I can only speak to my experience of drying herbs this way in a desert climate.  I’m not sure how well it would work in more humid climates.

But, you never know until you try 🙂

A couple of weeks ago, we all traveled up to the quaint town of Prescott, AZ.  One of the best things that I like about going there is that they have some very good antique shops.

To be honest, I hadn’t planned on buying anything.  I was just going to browse – but you probably know how that goes….

Two different items caught my eye and I thought that they would be perfect for my garden.

antique from quaint town of Prescott, AZ

Okay, maybe it isn’t obvious what I am going to do with these two antique pieces.

antique from quaint town of Prescott, AZ

 My plan is to use the old watering can as a planter in my vegetable garden.  I plan to add annual flowers that will spill out the top.

All I need to do is to add some holes for drainage on the bottom and put a drip emitter on top for water. 

antique from quaint town of Prescott, AZ

I really like this wire basket.  According to the the seller, it is a wire basket that held wine bottles.

Well, I don’t drink much wine, so I think I will use it in my vegetable garden later this year.

Don’t you think it would make a great trellis for sugar snap peas?

I will simply place the basket in my vegetable garden and plant the seeds around it.  Once they sprout, they will have a great place to grow upward.  Later, when the plants are finished for the season, I will simply take the basket out.

How about you?

Have you discovered any antiques or items that you can use in your garden?

Please share them with me 🙂

An Old, Antique Watering Can Re-Purposed

Okay.  It’s really happened to me.  

I had heard about what can happen when you grow your own vegetables from other gardeners, but I didn’t think too much about it until….

It happened to me!


So, what happened you may ask?

I discovered the danger of growing a vegetable garden.

own vegetables

Oh, I know it looks quite innocent in the picture above.

But, there is a real danger lurking there.

What is the danger?

Well you see, I have discovered the wonderful benefits of growing my own vegetables.  I love their delicious, fresh taste.  I enjoy saving money and passing by the produce section at the grocery store.

So what is my problem?

Although I can grow vegetables all year long, unfortunately I cannot grow the same vegetables 12 months out of the year.

I still look back to that late spring day when I harvested my first planting of garlic from my garden.

garlic

We harvested quite a bit.

garlic

We let it cure for a couple of weeks, then cut off the leafy tops and stored all that garlic in a cool, dry place out of the sun.

Now, I love garlic and use it a lot for cooking.  All I had to do when I needed some garlic was grab one from the bowl I was storing them in on a dark shelf.

But, the other day when I went in there, there was no more garlic.

Now, I have to buy it at the grocery store again.

I never used to mind buying garlic from the store.

But now, I sure do!

own vegetables

The same thing happens when I have to start buying lettuce from the store in summer after enjoying my own homegrown lettuce the rest of the year.

own vegetables

And it goes on and on with corn, broccoli, cucumbers, green onions, carrots and tomatoes.

So, now do you see the danger of growing your own vegetables?

You get spoiled!

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I would like to thank you all for your kind comments regarding my recent “grandmotherhood”.

I am relishing the time I get to spend with Lily Mae.  I could just sit and hold her for hours 🙂  

Nursery Visit and Temptations…

I always look forward to Tuesday evenings.  

Why, you may ask?

Well, every Tuesday we all get into the car and make the 5 minute drive over to Double S Farms, which is where my mother, my sister and her family live.  

In addition to hanging out with everyone, including my very cute nephews, Finley and Oliver, we also get to enjoy a delicious dinner that my mother prepares.  I just love not having to cook dinner one night a week 🙂

While we were there, I decided to take a look at my mother’s vegetable garden.  

The last time I saw it a few weeks ago, it looked like this….

Did you know that unused vegetable gardens are a great place to play with trucks and tractors?

Well, the trucks have now left the garden and it is now newly planted with transplants from our local nursery.

Petunia Plants

Leaf lettuce, dill, cauliflower, basil and other vegetables are already growing.

Interspersed in between the rows of vegetables are two flowering plants that my nephews picked out for the garden…

Petunia Plants
Petunia Plants

Petunia Plants

Finley and Oliver’s petunia plants make great companion plants for vegetables – especially leaf lettuce  broccoli, potatoes and squash.

Did you know that petunias repel aphids and beetles?

As the sky began to darken, we made our way inside to see the newest additions to the Double S Farms family….

They have four new chicks that are growing very rapidly and are almost ready to be moved into their new coop outside.

My sister, Chicken Farmer, likes people to hold them often so that they learn to be friendly with people.

Naked Neck' chicken,

I don’t mind holding them….they are awfully cute.  Especially, the ‘Naked Neck’ chicken, Francie.

Buff Orpington

My son, Kai, got to hold the friendliest chick, Lottie, who is a ‘Buff Orpington’.

Well, the chicks were getting tired, so the kids decided to hang out with grandma and see some fun Halloween games on her computer…

Evening on the Farm....

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I hope your week is going well so far.  As I am writing this, we are experiencing wind, thunder, lightning and delightfully cool temperatures.

Which reminds me that I need to buy a pumpkin…..

**You can read more about my sister’s new chicks here.

I didn’t set out to find a ‘secret’ gardening tool for my vegetable garden.  But, I often find myself finding other uses for tools that I often use for other things.

This ‘secret’ tool is one that I purchased to help me with my sewing, years ago.  I have had it for over 10 years and keep it in my hall closet.


So what is this ‘secret’ tool?

It is my yardstick….

Gardening Tool

Gardening Tool

My yardstick, which I no longer use for sewing by the way, is the perfect tool for not only measuring, but it also creates small furrows for seedlings.

Gardening Tool

Gardening Tool

I am sure that the creator of the yardstick never imagined people using it for creating furrows, do you?

Gardening Tool

It also makes spacing very easy for planting vegetable seeds and cloves of garlic.

I must admit that I am not the only one that finds my yardstick useful….

Gardening Tool

Years ago, my daughter, Gracie, found out that my yardstick also made a great ‘walking’ stick when she was 2 years old.

Later, she shared the benefits of the yardstick with her new little brother, Kai, shortly after we adopted him….

Kai's second day

This is Kai’s second day at home after we returned from China from adopting him.  You can see that his feet are turned inwards.  He had surgery later, which repaired his feet.

She didn’t feel like sharing her yardstick, but she gave Kai a wooden spoon to play with.

So do you have a yardstick?

What do you use yours for?

Game Night, Indoor Gardening, and Recommended Garden Products

I just love spring….and not just because everything is turning green and beginning to bloom in my garden.

I love this time of year because I have both winter and summer vegetables growing in my garden.  I have harvested some of my winter vegetables already including my broccoli and lettuce.  But, my spinach, garlic and carrots are still going strong.

I love how the leafy greens of my carrots look like ferns…

Winter and Summer Vegetables

Winter and Summer Vegetables

My dog likes them too…

My dog

I must confess that my spinach has grown huge.  I had been really good about picking it when the leaves were small and using them in salads, but life kind of got away from me and so did the spinach leaves 😉

Winter and Summer Vegetables

I cannot wait to pick my garlic in May.  It takes a long time to grow, (I planted it in September), but it will totally be worth it.  I just need to wait for the green tops to start turning brown and then I can harvest them.

Winter and Summer Vegetables

In early March, I planted my spring and summer vegetables.  I went for less variety this year and concentrated on what we love to eat the most.

San Marzano tomatoes

My San Marzano tomatoes are growing quickly and is flowering.  I cannot wait to use the tomatoes for cooking.

Marigold

My young cucumber plants are enjoying the protection that their friend, ‘Marigold’ provides.

fresh corn

I just love fresh corn, straight from the garden.  In our area, we are fortunate to be able to not only plant a corn crop in the spring, but we can also plant corn in late summer for a fall harvest.

This year, I have planted 3 separate areas of corn and each area was planted 2 weeks apart from each other.  That way, not all of my corn will be ready at once and I can extend my corn harvest.

Young corn seedlings.

Young corn seedlings.

While not a vegetable, Sunflowers are always present in my vegetable garden.  I cannot wait for them to bloom…

my vegetable garden

I love to venture out into my vegetable garden to see how rapidly everything is growing.

The weather has been so nice and my garden has really responded.

Our spring weather has been rather crazy going from extremes.  Last week we broke a record when we hit 100 degrees in Phoenix, which was 20 degrees above normal.

Tomorrow, we are expecting a storm that will bring temperatures down to 22 degrees below normal for this time of year.

So far, my garden doesn’t seem to be affected by the extremes.

So, how about you?  How is your garden growing?

Have you experienced any crazy, spring weather?

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Please check out my latest Birds & Blooms blog

“Raising Butterflies Part 3”.   

I must admit that I have really enjoyed sharing with you my favorite things…..

Not because I think you are all waiting with baited breath to hear more about what I like, but because when I think of my favorite things, it makes me happy.

My last favorite thing that I would like to share with you is a rather newer interest for me…..

Grow Vegetables

I just love my new vegetable garden!

Now I have grown vegetables in the past.  I had my first vegetable garden in my parent’s backyard and remember growing carrots and broccoli.  But then I turned into a teenager and my budding interest in gardening was forgotten so that I could concentrate on more important things such as clothes, friends and boys 😉

In college, I had to grow vegetables for one of my horticulture classes and I worked hard on my school garden because I wanted to get an ‘A’ in the class.

As a professional, I have worked with clients, teaching them how to grow vegetables and I have also created vegetable gardens for service organizations.

But, I did not really get into vegetables until last year.  It makes me sad to think of how many years I wasted, not experiencing the joy of growing my own vegetables.

But, it is never too late to get started.  So, we selected an area in our back garden that received at least 6 hours of sunlight and then made the trip to our local big box store to get the necessary materials.

necessary materials

The kids were very excited too.

Because vegetables like fertile soil (who doesn’t), we bought bagged compost, aged steer manure, blood meal, bone meal and slow-release fertilizer.

Add some vegetable seeds for our summer garden and we were ready.

Now all we needed was the muscle…..

necessary materials

I’ve said it before and I will say it again….

Nothing says “love” more then a man who will shovel manure for you 😉

He even built the raised bed and fence for our garden.

Why did we need a fence, you may ask?

Tobey and Missy

There are two reasons, named Tobey and Missy.

In our first summer vegetable garden, we grew basil, cucumbers, sunflowers, sweet corn, tomatoes and watermelon.

sweet corn

We even grew a pumpkin!

Grow Vegetables

You know how people tell you that nothing beats the taste of vegetables that you grow yourself?  

They are totally right!  Our vegetables were delicious.  I just wished that we had more.

Soon, summer was waning and it was time to plant our winter garden.  So, we added some more bagged compost, a little slow-release fertilizer and we were ready to go…..

Grow Vegetables

Lettuce, broccoli, spinach, bunching onions, carrots and garlic were planted along with companion plants such as Marigolds and Nasturtiums to help repel damaging insects.

It has been so nice to be able to pick my own lettuce instead of buying bagged salad at the grocery store.

new vegetable garden

We have eaten through the broccoli, lettuce and spinach.  Soon we will be able to harvest our carrots and garlic.

Soon, it will be time to plant my summer garden this March.  I plan to stick with cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, basil and sunflowers.  Growing watermelon and pumpkins was fun, but the vines took up a lot of room.

new vegetable garden

What about you?  Do you have a vegetable garden?  If so, what do you like to plant?

If you do not have a vegetable garden, why don’t you plant one?  You can dig one in your back garden or build a raised vegetable garden (they are available in kits as well).

If you do not have much space, how much planting vegetables in a container?  You really can!

Even Vegetables Need Friends…..

little seedlings

Isn’t there something just so wonderful when you see little seedlings start to sprout?  It makes me feel like it is springtime even though it is still the middle of winter when I see the tiny green leaves begin to break out from the soil.  The broccoli sprouted in less then a week.

Many types of vegetables and fruit grow very well in the desert.  Lettuce is the top agricultural product that is grown in Arizona.  Other crops include melons, broccoli, citrus, cauliflower, onions and carrots, wheat and corn.

little seedlings

Growing vegetables is a very popular past-time for many backyard gardeners.  You can find more information on what vegetables grow in the Arizona desert and when to plant them at The Arizona Master Gardener Vegetable Guide .

Now, some of you may (or may not) be wondering what I have to confess now.  I’ve already confessed to not having my favorite flower in my garden, you can read my earlier post here if you like.  What else could there be?

For those of you who have kindly followed my blog for a while, you may be wondering if these seedlings are mine – you may have noticed that I have not shown any pictures of my vegetable garden in the past.  Well, there is a good reason for that….I don’t have one.   Now, I honestly love vegetable gardens and have planted them for others and raised my own as a child.  I’ve also had to grow my own plot of vegetables at college when I was earning my horticulture degree – I had to learn how to do it well because I was being graded 😉

That being said, my true love in the garden are ornamental plants and I only have so much space to fit them all in and still have room for any new plants that I fall in love with.  

little seedlings

I have the wonderful fortune to live only 5 minutes away from Double S Farms, which is the residence of my mother, youngest sister and her family.  They have a wonderful vegetable garden and the seedlings belong to them.  

Since it is important to me to provide information about all types of desert gardening, I will be posting about Double S Farm’s vegetable garden in the future….and Little Farmers #1 & 2 🙂

I’m sure most of you know how much fun it can be to garden with your kids.  I remember my dad building each of us a raised planter where we could grow vegetables and flowers.  Today, my kids and I went to the store to buy flowers for their new garden.  You will NEVER guess what they are planting their flowers in…

Easy Garden

Our first stop was our local nursery.  Each was allowed to pick out two six-packs of flowers.  The kids decided to each pick a different type of flower and then shared them.  My youngest daughter, Gracie, selected geraniums and blue petunias.

Easy Garden

Ruthie went the fragrant route and selected stock, (beautiful and fragrant despite its ordinary name) and white alyssum.

Easy Garden

Dianthus and snapdragons were Kai’s choice.

Easy Garden

We finished making our selections and then got ready to go home and start planting.  The only question the kids had was – where were they going to plant their flowers?

Easy Garden

How about their old kiddie pool?  You know – the ones that cost about $10 that your kids play in during the summer.  However, once summer is over, most people either throw out their pool or store it somewhere out of the way.  

Well, now you can use it as a planter for either flowers or shallow-rooted vegetables or herbs.

The process is easy, and your kids will have fun assisting you.

First, move the pool where you want the garden to be as it will be too heavy once you fill it with soil.  Then make multiple holes on the bottom for drainage.  Then fill with a mixture of potting mix.  Sprinkle some slow-release fertilizer and now begin planting!

Easy Garden

Gracie planted her first plant, a peach-colored geranium.

Easy Garden
Easy Garden

My teenage daughter, Rachele, was overseeing our progress while texting on her phone.

flowers

We finished!  The kids are so excited to see their flowers grow.  The garden will be a riot of different colors and has no sense of design, which is as it should be for a children’s flower garden.

flowers

This will be our ‘before’ picture.  We planted alyssum, dianthus, geraniums, petunias, snapdragons, and stock.

If you would like to try this at home and want the garden to become a more permanent part of the landscape, you can add a brick border or plant shrubs and perennials around the outside of the pool.