cool again

rainy once more (YEAH!), and suddenly cool after a couple of weeks in the 80’s.  Tonight will be down near freezing.

Rhubarb doing wonderfully, harvested some today.  See one of the plants will need dividing and as it is already too late this year, am putting out word as others might want it in the ground and then it can get HUGE so they need to make a space.

The apricot has set some fruit after manually fertilizing it.  Still see nothing on the nectarine, and had done the same.  If it doesn’t set fruit will pull the tree and put something else there.  am thinking another berry – keep it well trimmed.  Or maybe some grapes


Got some carrot seed tape and just planted a short row.  Early by some standards, not by others!



Posted in carrots, container gardening, fruit, gardening, grow bags, homesteading, organic, prepping, self-reliance, Uncategorized, water | 1 Comment


started reading about this technique before we ever moved to Sedona 20 years ago, but we had no garden and wasn’t up and into grow bags and container gardening in our first house.  That was all about establishing our business – and well all that has changed and we’re in a different house with different goals, and mind set.

As the ideas of water conservation and permaculture came into being,  Ollas started becoming “mainstream”, but are expensive and there wasn’t really a lot of detailed information. 

Today I found these at our local ProBuild – hardware store extrordinaire

IMG_1005 (1280x960)Three sizes.  Well packed.  smallest is $18.99, holds 1litre water, 5” x 7”.  medium is 3 litres,  7” x 10”  $23.99.  large is 6.5 litres, is 10” x 13” $34.99 – and they are NOT cheaper on Amazon, or the company’s web site

IMG_1006 (1280x960) First time I’ve seen a reference for what size works for what size.  will presume this means once plants are established and have started getting decent root systems.  Until then, will probably have to water as usual.  This also gives me a reference if I buy other containers from other people, including talking the potter down the way into making them.

IMG_1007 (1280x960)this is an on line garden journal – keeping the info for future reference.  Pretty much anything but root veggies are good.  and since they get taken out for winter, they can be moved as I rotate my plants

IMG_1008 (1280x960)out of the packaging

IMG_1009 (1280x960)small in this 2’ diameter grow bag. This will be green beans to start with this year

IMG_1010 (1280x960)medium in this 3’ diameter grow bag, which will be peppers and eggplant

IMG_1011 (1280x960)large in this 4’ square raised bed which will be squash to start with.  Yes, that’s the 4’ net shelter to help shade, protect until they get going

Posted in Uncategorized, gardening, permaculture, urban homesteading, self-reliance, squash, homesteading, container gardening, water, preserving, prepping, fruit, grow bags | Leave a comment

enjoying the green


IMG_1001 (768x1024)Not traditional, but FRESH. Asparagus with the corned beef and potatoes today

IMG_1002 (768x1024)Keeping the garden protected against critters is becoming hard!  They ate 4 of the 6 broccoli plants in the main garden despite it being a fenced in space.  Which is why I’m going more and more to things like this cover.  This is a 4×4 foot one piece unit with zippered panels on either side.  The container its covering is also 4 x 4.  Having it drop over like this takes off 18” in height, but means I don’t have to trim the tree next to it.  Last year it was individual frost covers on and off, and all kinds of jury rigged covers through out the season that could easily blow off.  Yes, they are cheaper, but SOOOO busy, there are times when money is easier to come by than time.  And this acts as an all in one, bird and critter protection for seedlings, support if I should need to add an extra layer, and will offer shade in the heat – and will be support if I need to add another layer for that too!  Will also help keep evaporation down.

Happy St. Paddy’s day one and all!!

Posted in asparagus, container gardening, gardening, grow bags, homesteading, organic, prepping, self-reliance, solar, Uncategorized, water | 2 Comments

compost tumbler story

Know not everyone is living in a place where they can have a compost pile.  You can see how close we are to our neighbors and to keep the visitors that compost attracts to a minimum, I use compost tumblers.  Have tried other kinds of containers and the tumblers seem to work the best.


IMG_1000 (768x1024)The tumbler in the background is metal, the one in the foreground is black plastic.  The rear tumbler has a crank handle, the forward one has to be manhandled around, hence raising it on blocks.  The metal composter is a light green and came with a 5 year warranty – which is good, because I’ve already had to replace the metal panels that make up the body of the tumbler as they rusted through.  The composter is now out of warranty and the metal panels are rusting through.  Am going to clean up the tumbler and disassemble it when I next empty it and try using Flex Seal on it.  Can’t be any worse than it is now and might give it a few more years.

NOW – the metal composter is also quite a bit larger than the plastic one and what that means is it takes a LONG time to fill it up.  No grass clippings here in the desert, so it is garden waste, kitchen waste, and the occasional upended flower pot.  The lighter color does not get as hot as the black one and because it is so big, the waste takes longer to become compost than it would if it were smaller.  End result? the black one will be full before the green one is ready to empty.

AND – oh yeah, neither can be emptied directly into a wheel barrow to move about, they both have to be shoveled out.  That also adds to shortening the life of the metal panel parts.

Can’t be seen in the photo are some plastic garbage “cans” that have had holes drilled in the side.  The unfinished compost will be dumped into these containers to finish composting.

MORAL OF THE STORY – if you are going to use container composting, make sure your containers are of fairly even size so they can truly work together.  Have a third composter on order – Fed Ex has lost it – and that will allow me to keep that green monster going a little longer because while the standing stationary containers help in finishing the compost, they can’t be turned easily so the product finishes unevenly.

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garden hustle plus

Suddenly we’re having 40+ degree nights – even though our last official frost date is May 19 – and daytime temps are pushing 80!

IMG_0979 (1280x960)Its chili making time, cooking beans in the solar oven to free up the kitchen stove.  This is third day.  First day let beans heat and sit and then drained and changed the water.  Now, they are cooking in the sunshine.  VERY low temp with the shiny pot, hence day 3.

IMG_0980 (1280x960)      IMG_0981 (1280x960)  This is a new ‘pop up’ plant protector I’m trying this year.  as you can see, fit perfectly into these grow bags. top zippers off to open to air, then close up for night time protection.  Trying some EARLY zucchini here.  have never had Zucchini in the ground this early in the year!

IMG_0982 (1280x960) Dragged the peas outside as the greenhouse was getting too hot.  screening to keep out little creatures.  in two days can already see the plants responding!

IMG_0983 (1280x960) this primrose was struggling to flower starting in January, now in full glory.  The only one of several we planted.

IMG_0984 (1280x960) potatoes already!  Started these last month in the greenhouse.  This is a big grow bag and filled it with dirt yesterday the plants are so big!

IMG_0985 (1280x960) sweet potato vine starting.  There were two sweet potatoes in this grow bag, one up and growing.  The other remains to be seen . . .

IMG_0986 (1280x960) yesterday moved plants from their starter trays into six packs: two different kinds of Roma tomatoes, two different kind of regular eating tomatoes, two different sweet peppers and eggplant. The cardboard box has white sage seedlings.

IMG_0987 (1280x960)Calendula in the starter pot, more zucchini and spaghetti squash in the pots.

IMG_0988 (960x1280) apricot in bloom.  don’t know if I have enough pollinators yet so have been out there with a brush

IMG_0989 (960x1280)garlic and at the end of the row, chard.  Some from last year, plus some seedlings for this.  a little protective cover to help them deal with the transplant shock

IMG_0990 (960x1280)from the back forward: spinach, cauliflower and turnips (that is the cool end of the bed), broccoli and mesculan greens, some endive (escarole) and rapini.  The last two aren’t really doing well – poor seed sprouting through new seeds.

IMG_0991 (960x1280)Arugala – turns out we don’t really like it much

IMG_0992 (960x1280)walking onions that never got into a big bed last year

IMG_0993 (1280x960)Rhubarb

IMG_0994 (1280x960)If you look carefully, you can see both blueberry bushes starting something new

IMG_0995 (960x1280)Nectarine tree not flowering much, although lots of leaves budding.  This got “brushed” too

IMG_0996 (1280x960)more rhubarb

IMG_0997 (1280x960)Look closely and you’ll see the first asparagus which we will be having with lunch today

IMG_0998 (1280x960)comfrey coming up

IMG_0999 (1280x960)First time we’ve had crocus.  May have to look for some fall flowering saffron crocus, but I don’t use the stuff, still always nice to have the flowers

Also took the time today to set up and try my new UBER hose.  This is one of those expanding hoses, but doesn’t shrink up as much as the “as seen on TV” ones, and costs a bit more too!  But it is light weight and seems very good.  Comes with quick connect fittings so its easier to attach and put away.  Have set it up with a chlorine filter on the discharge end.  In the past, with other type hoses, the filter reduces water pressure enough that the hoses don’t expand!  Having it on the discharge end heavy, but also gives me something to hold on to and extends the breaker wand a little further making it easier to get to the asparagus bags which are on the other side of one of the in ground beds.  This hose might also work with the pump and rain tanks as it doesn’t seem to need as much pressure as the other type of expanding hoses. If it does, that would be great as it really is a lot lighter than the regular type of hose and my grow areas are really spread out into the little naturally forming spaces on the property.

Posted in asparagus comfrey, brassica rapa, chard, container gardening, fruit, gardening, garlic/onions, greenhouse, grow bags, homesteading, organic, potatoes, prepping, self-reliance, squash, tomatoes, Uncategorized, water | Leave a comment

plant before frost date

Officially, our last frost date is May 15th.  But the weather channel says we can expect our last frost date this year sometime between March 15th and April 15th.  Unfortunately, will be out of town this weekend.  will have to double down in the garden when I get back!

Posted in carrots, container gardening, gardening, greenhouse, grow bags, homesteading, prepping, self-reliance, squash, tomatoes, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

electric trike

have been looking for / at the idea of an Electric Tricycle for some time.  Living here, the days are usually mild, but traffic is getting worse.  It took quite some time yesterday to make the trip to the other side of town for a few errands and it was under 4 miles!  and a Trike will be quiet with low carbon footprint.

The market choices are increasing and I’ve been sort of waiting for a Pedego. They used to make a trike, and then they stopped and are supposed to come back to it next month. They are not cheap bikes, but there is a Pedego shop in town which would make it convenient for repair and parts. They are also not cheap.

But am now considering this worksman cycle.  made in America, but its biggest draw is the seat.  I’m a bit broad in the beam, so this would be a lot more comfortable than a bike seat! the negative is, just the basket behind the seat which would be a limitation for how much I could carry at a time.  Of course, the bike would make it so I’m more willing to go out a couple of times a week instead of just the one big run . .its also got a hefty 550lb limit.

Oh great, can’t copy and paste contents anymore!  What else can go wrong?? So I’ll type it out!

anyone have any experience with any of the electric Trikes on the market??




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