Have just ordered 25 asparagus plants, 3rd year roots for fall planting.  As I’m a container gardener, that means 25 pots of soil.  Bought from Andys Asparagus Acres.  Actually, pretty expensive, but most other places aren’t offering 3rd year roots and I’ve no patience to wait years for a harvest!  These folks seem to have good comments all around, sure hope so.  Also, we’ve slowly been moving up the temperature zone. 7a when we moved here, and now 8a by some guides!  8b seems to be the max allowed for growing asaparagus.  we tend to end up with a Ph of 7 in our soil naturally, basic is good for asparagus.  have to struggle to get it down for the more acidic veggies.  Had to order more grow bags too, as I don’t have enough for 25 plants. comfrey compost seems highly recommended, fortunately, have that and will be expanding my comfrey next year too.  Oh well, mornings a wasting, better get out there and get to work on getting what pots and soil I’ve got out there as everything is on its way!

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Leaving on the edge

Is the name of this pattern on Ravelry.  I’m suddenly enamored of leaves.  The original pattern calls for 5 pattern repeats and sewing the edges.  Its not that cold in my area of AZ, don’t want something tight around my neck, nor do I want to have to drag it off and on over my head.  Bulky yarn, mostly wool with acrylic and nylon

knitting 3knitting 2



These are all variations on a theme, pattern by Petra Breakstone.  I’ve done three as neck pieces, and two as wreaths.  All the green ones will be holiday presents.

knitting 1

All the leaf designs are variations of a Barbara Walker design

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garden update

am letting the garden wind down as we are on a road trip next month. meanwhile

garden1anyone know what’s wrong with this zucchini?

garden2today’s tomatoes and green beans

garden3transplanted some of the chard back into the garden and doing well. will chop and freeze.  rhubarb bouncing back

garden4Plum tomatoes; cut them, seed them, roast them. then they peel easily and freeze

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starting up and winding down

Spent the time making 24 little red velcro pots to start (6 each) lettuce, chard, spinach and broccoli.

Then, as the first planting of bush beans is done, and as I’m not going to be planting anything in its place this fall, I just buried the plants rather than pull them and put them into the composter.

Now have to find some appropriate pots/grow bags for my rhubarb for next year.  Since they seem to grow stalks as long as the containers are wide, I’m looking for width as well as depth.

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more experimenting

I’m a fan of grow bags, and I struggle with transplanting seedlings at any time. So when I saw these little pots, had to give them a try.  Right now, I use old plastic 6 packs and they get old and tired, are often difficult to get the seedlings out without damaging the seedling itself, and then all that plastic has to be stored.  These little pots come 6 to a package, store flat, are washable and re-usable (supposedly) and you just undo the sides when it is time to plant the seedling.  They are made in Mexico with American made materials.  The initial impression is of good quality.  This weekend will get seeds planted for the fall; lettuce, chard, broccoli, etc using these pots.  Then we’ll see what shape they are in for the spring plantings!


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saving seeds

In the several years that I’ve been gardening here in the high desert of AZ have seen our zone classification shift from 7A to 7B to 8A.  But zone classifications doesn’t really tell the whole story.  We are at 4500 feet and in the southern portion of the U.S..  that increases our UV intensity, decreases our humidity (which means a higher rate of transpiration – hence my high incidence of blossom end rot), and gives us huge temperature fluctuations, as much as 40+ degrees over the course of a 24 hour cycle.

All I have is a backyard garden. While the small area is left naturalized as much as possible, I take advantage of naturally occurring spaces to create micro climates and small grow areas using grow bags and containers.  During the course of the growing year I try to get as much from the garden into our daily meals as possible.  I also try to grow enough of certain veggies to satisfy our needs for the year.  Since there are only 2 of us,  it doesn’t mean a lot, just enough.

This year, for the first time, I’m not the only one in my neighborhood with a backyard garden, although I’m still the only preserver/canner.

Because of the nature of my garden I grow several different types of squash in proximity, so I don’t usually save seeds.  But for things like my heirloom beans and tomatoes, I do.

This year, I tried some commercial packaged bean seeds.  I grow bush beans to gives us lots of early yields, pole beans for later crop.  Bush beans are planted several weeks apart, and this year it was commercial, commercial, and saved seed.  Bottom line, saved seed gave me better yield in both quality and quantity as well as stronger growth and better germination.  My seed has become the best for MY climate, all the nuances, not just the broad spectrum growing area.

I’m also growing an heirloom indeterminate roma tomato, that in the future will be my primary cooking tomato.  Again, saved seed from a store bought plant 5 years ago.  Aside from the blossom end rot, it is a meaty, tomato of decent size and great flavor.

Zucchini seeds can sometimes be saved if the plants flower and fruit early enough, before the other squash does.  and due to the lack of bees, I can sometimes get out and manually pollinate a squash flower and then block it off from further pollination to ensure no cross breeding.

Posted in bees, canning, container gardening, gardening, grow bags, homesteading, legumes, organic, prepping, preserving, self-reliance, tomatoes, Uncategorized | 1 Comment



garden1 In celebrating the harvest, I’m also reviewing how does my garden grow.  This little basket was this morning’s harvest.  Last year at this time I’d be using one 5 times the size and struggling to keep it all inside the basket limits.  There would already be 2 gallon bags of frozen zucchini in the freezer and we’d be tired of eating it.  At least one gallon bag of green beans, as well as at least 2 meals a week.

Instead, the zucchini in the freezer is all bought, as are the beans.  it takes days to harvest enough for one meal.  Zucchini aren’t getting much bigger than what you see in this picture.

Still, a lot to be learned this year.

First is about blossom end rot.  Has always been a problem, but this year, the tomatoes in the main garden are not experiencing it.  The garden is well covered with a shade cloth, from the west there is a new 6’ tall fence, and on the east a wind break.  The soil is not going through the serious dry/wet cycle of the past.  Meanwhile, in the east garden, where the tomatoes are still experiencing that condition, blossom end rot is rampant.

Mulch is also being used this year, never before.  and that is making a difference also.  So mulch will continue to be used in the future to again even out water, keep roots cool, and cause let stress to the plants.

On the other hand, flower gardens have never been better

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