Saturday, February 2, 2013

So the Valley of the Sun, Arizona, had a cold front. For 6 or 7 consecutive nights, we hit 32 or less, especially out here in the 'outlying area', we call west of Goodyear. It meant freeze and frost protection. Blankets. Right now, in my garden, I am picking and eating beets, 2 types of kale, swiss chard, pak choi, and napa cabbage. I also have asparagus and green onions, but not ready to eat yet. The only thing it appears I lost was a lone yellow pear tomato plant that truly was a stray. It froze right away, regardless of protection. The rest of what is there looks happy and healthy to be there!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Home grown Kale, roasted!

At the top is the roasted kale. At the bottom is the prepared, raw kale.

It was 23 degrees in Goodyear, AZ at 8:30 am today. Last night, before I covered everything I could with blankets and sheets to keep my garden from freezing, I harvested a lot of Kale. A lot! I had both curly kale and lacinato kale. I picked a few pounds of it of it. It filled my kitchen sink, which is a custom large and deep sink. This morning, I cleaned it really well, cut it into manageable pieces, tossed it with olive oil and salt, and roasted it. Just imagine a potato chip...only better!

Saturday, December 15, 2012


3 years ago, I had to have the artichoke plant at Lowe's Garden Center. It cost me $15.00 and I hoped it would grow in Arizona. I planted it and it grew. The artichokes grow to be about the size of my fist...small (but the ones you buy in the grocery stores are patented and you cannot buy those!). But my first plant gave us between 60 and 80 artichokes the first year! And many of them went to waste or to seed. The plant eventually 'died'. The next fall, I had HUNDREDS of seedlings I thought were squash. They turned out to be artichoke seedlings. I transplanted a few and they grew. I left the others to fend for themselves in a yard area that was not getting watered anymore. The original plant began growing again! So again, we had artichokes, this time from several different plants. So I dug them up after they were done. I was done with artichokes. They take up a lot of room and I just don't think for as small as they are, they are so worth all the work. But here came some more!
There are 3 of them in this photo. They get watered because of the raised garden they are growing next to. So here we go again.

And then, the garden area that does not get watered anymore?
Artichoke plants are pretty drought resistant. They do grow well in Arizona. And after your harvests, the ones you do not pick do flower and make very pretty flowers!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sprouted Swiss Chard and Kale

An update on the newest raised garden. Red Swiss Chard in the front, Kale in the middle and White Swiss Chard in the back. Looking GREAT!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sprouts...December 1, 2012

Last Saturday, I put White Swiss Chard, Red Swiss Chard and Kale seeds in cups of water to 'pre-soak' for 24 hours. On Sunday, I put them in the ground. And each day I watched and watered. I was beginning to wonder two things...1) Did I drown the seeds? I don't know if you can drown seeds, but I was a little concerned, and 2) Is the orange plastic fencing I put over them to keep the birds from getting the seeds keeping them from sprouting someway? (Too little light, maybe reflecting the heat off, keeping the ground beneath is too cool.) So today, I watered and saw nothing. I moved on to another part of the yard to water some existing plants. Then I came back for a closer inspection:

This is the Kale. I planted tons of it. I put only one seed every 1-2 inches. About 6 rows each about 3 feet long. It's funny how such a simple thing can be so amazing and fun!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Protecting seeds from the birds...

Have you ever seen this stuff as a road barricade material? It's used to keep people from falling in holes or going the wrong way? I saw this wad of used plastic fencing on a street corner after a parade. I watched it for a week. It was there for the garbage men to pick up, I was sure. So one day, I pulled up to it, got out of my car, shoved in the back of my SUV and off I went. I spend a lot of money on seeds and organic soils. This is Good Garden Junk. Useful for something, I thought.

Today, I got my newest planter box filled with soil and was ready to plant. Seeds were soaked and ready. Last time I planted, the birds ate all but about 20 seeds. I must have planted over 200 seeds and this is all I got:
White and Red Swiss Chard

So, today I planted green onions and some beets and swiss chard in the existing planter box:
and I covered the seeded area with the orange fencing, hoping to keep the birds out. And then I went on to the new planter box. I planted White Swiss Chard, Kale and Red Swiss Chard, and the orange fencing is triple layered. If something does not grow there, then nothing will!

In two weeks I will plant more beets. We love fresh beets. This will keep the crops coming!

And keep watching, because the chickens are coming!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sweet Potatoes, Part 2

So, I posted in August about planting the sweet potato slips, and now it is just about time to harvest. Last weekend I dug around to see what I could find, and I did find a sweet potato that was about 6 inches long, about 1 inch in diameter. From what I have read, once it gets cold and the leaves begin to die, then you harvest. They need to fatten up some first! I don't think they will be ready for Thanksgiving. I will post pictures when it is time to harvest!