hadn’t been out into the garden for a couple of days and today discovered that critters had gotten into my grow box and mowed down a bunch of my bean plants right down to the ground!  GRRRR

Then found they’d done the same to my tomatoes!  Double GRRRR

fortunately a neighbor had given me some of that green temporary fencing, and one roll was enough to go around both the box and the grow bag. Then I put a shade cloth over the beans. They don’t need protection from the sun where they are, but it will protect them from nibbling birds!

Posted in container gardening, gardening, grow bags, homesteading, legumes, organic, prepping, self-reliance, tomatoes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment




first tomato (1280x720)First tomato.  although now I’m wondering if this is indeed the “patio tomato” that I thought had sprung from live roots in the pot, or seeds from some fruit that might have fallen at some point.  and the reason I wonder is the shape. Its growing amazingly fast, but the original tomatoes were regular round and this is looking like a roma . . . time will tell

first amaryllis (1280x720)Love Amaryllis and had read about keeping them over through the year by planting the bulbs into the garden.  So about February 2013 I’d put my two amaryllis into this pot of dirt and they grew long long leaves and I

Posted in container gardening, gardening, grow bags, homesteading, legumes, organic, self-reliance, tomatoes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

trouble in paradise

This is the first water container we bought,  Its full now, but unfortunately, its warping!  Contacted the company and they asked if it was level.  The pad was, before we put this down.  I checked it again when this started and it is pretty much level still!  Am hoping I’m not going to see this on my bigger tanks!  Bad enough I had to put 350 gallons out of my 650 gallon tank because it was leaking at the bungs.  Fortunately, I had a place to put that water!  Right now, my 1000 gallon tank is nearly full!

IMG_0622 (1208x925)

IMG_0623 (1067x966)

Posted in gardening, homesteading, prepping, self-reliance, Uncategorized, water | Leave a comment

growing rhubarb

Last year had planted a store bought rhubarb in one of these low fat round containers and got fruit all summer long, BUT the stalks were never more than about 8 or 9”, most about 6”.  Figured a short squat pot gave me a short squat plant.  So this year had planted it into a tall skinny pot of the same size (about 10+ gallons).  I was getting lots of stalks, but they were even shorter!  It seemed they only grew to the edge of the container!  So back into the short wide container.  While I was at it, I split the plant.  This was yesterday.  one looking good, the other questionable.  IF they make it, next year will have to make room for the last of the 100 gallon grow bags I have and plant them both in there.  Maybe I’ll try to get a thirty or 40 gallon grow bags for them to live in.  We’ll see.  I’m running out of room in this area, and they do seem to like the shorter sun period than we have in the other areas. 

IMG_0630 (1280x960)

Posted in container gardening, fruit, gardening, grow bags, homesteading, organic, self-reliance, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Garden update

After weeks of cooler than normal temps and WAYYYYYY more rain that AZ has gotten in recorded history, have finally uncovered most of the plants in the garden

IMG_0619 (960x1280)This is the “patio tomato” that I tried to winter over in the greenhouse.  It died back and then began to grow on its own, just like any other perennial. I’ve already cut it back and thinned out some of the various arms to keep it under some level of control.  lots of flowers already and I’ve been busy with my feather in lieu of bees and other pollinators

IMG_0620 (1280x960) These are the tops of the shallots.  First time they have done this.  Find there are all kinds of different shallots; some flower, some do the little bulbils like the walking onion.  I’ve clipped back some and letting some go to see what they will do.  If they do the bulbils, will try to root additional shallots from them just like I do with the walking onions.

IMG_0621 (1280x960)To give an idea of how big the stalks are on these shallots.  Know that does not always relate to the size of the bulb.  Have never had these grow so thick!  Can’t wait to see what lies beneath!

IMG_0624 (1280x960)This is one of the 100 gallon grow bags.  There are five pepper plants, two tomato and two marigold.  Something got in here and ate the middle pepper plant.  not a smidge chewed off any of the other, the one right in the middle, so it might have been a bird.  anyway, have put a bit of fencing around it for extra protection

IMG_0625 (1280x960)The long bed in the south with summer ssquash, eggplant and marigold

IMG_0626 (1280x960)a little further down the bed, with Thai Basil, some volunteer garlic, more eggplant, squash and marigold

IMG_0627 (1280x960)and at the very end of the bed – it is over 20 feet long but only about 2 feet wide – bush beans coming up.  Amazingly, the pole beans, planted elsewhere a week earlier haven’t even shown themselves yet

IMG_0628 (1280x960)The second 100 gallon grow bag with 7 heirloom Roma Tomato plants

IMG_0629 (1280x960)This is a 4’ square grow box with beans planted about a month+ ago when we were having a warm spell.  Then it cooled and I covered the whole bed.  now the beans are looking good, as are the spring planted shallots in the other half.  Yes, I’m growing a lot of shallots, in place of onions.  Onions, even the sweet ones, get way too hot in our hot weather.

Posted in container gardening, gardening, grow bags, homesteading, legumes, organic, peppers, self-reliance, squash, tomatoes, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

more rain


new tank Woke up to rain today and upwards of an inch expected for tomorrow.  So DH hustled to get the 650 gallon tank in today and hooked up.  So far this month we’ve put over 400 gallons in our 1000 gallon tank, the 350 gallon tank is full, and now we have this hooked up.  This stretch of roof is 75 feet long and the guys who put in the gutter tipped the gutter at about the mid-point.  At the time, they were trying to sell us “wall hugging” tanks of 250 and 500 gallon, that cost more than these bigger tanks.  Glad we waited until we could get these.  Rainy-er than usual weather predicted right through the summer.  YEAH!

Posted in gardening, homesteading, prepping, self-reliance, Uncategorized, water | Leave a comment

Saving water


mayday1 This is the 1000 gallon tank we installed this year, hooked up directly to the gutter.  We missed the heaviest of last weekend’s rain, but there was still plenty over the following 24 hours from when we got it hooked up.  We quickly learned that there is much more into figuring out how much you can capture off your roof than knowing how many square feet are emptying into the tank.

First off, you see how short the pipe is? but it is steep, and it is also only 3”.  A steep pipe will let water flow quicker than a shallow pipe, so water won’t back up and flow over rather than down – but a 3” pipe won’t let as much water pass as a 4” would! So during a heavy rain, the drain pipe might not handle the water quick enough and a lot will be lost over flowing the gutters.  During a real gully washer, and we had that just before we hooked up the tank, the gutters couldn’t handle the volume of rain at all and it overflowed the gutters everywhere!

That means a 1” rain, falling in 20 minutes, won’t even begin to put water in the tank with normal gutters and collection system.

The bottom line is, off about 400 square feet of roof, over 24 hours, we collected about 50 gallons of rain. That just about makes it up to the bottom bib!  If we’re lucky, we’ll get more rain before the summer monsoons, but will not hold my breath!  We were lucky to get the rain last weekend.

but winter rains were enough to fill our 350 gallon tank, and the rain last week topped it off from where I’d taken some for watering the garden.

Now we are collecting rain water, I’m using my dechlorinating system, via the hose, for one good watering a week or so (as needed) and then shallower watering from the rain barrels.  With lots of seedlings, still having shallow roots, I’m keeping the surface moist.

Posted in container gardening, gardening, homesteading, organic, prepping, self-reliance, Uncategorized, water | Leave a comment