More on DUH

Almost immediately after writing my post DUH Moment, found an article about growing ginger and turmeric in any climate.  Now, just have to find viable rhizomes.  Have tried Ginger before; rhizomes from the grocery store were more viable than those from the health food store!  But neither really grew.

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

DUH moment

Yesterday had a DUH moment; and its not the first time for this one.  But, it gets forgotten as ego overrides common sense.

Regarding my medicinal herb garden: Since I believe in using what grows in your area gives added benefit that buying prepared or even dried herbs grown elsewhere, there are a lot of “healing” herbs that I’ve tried to grow here.  Have bought seeds, have bought plants.  Some take, some don’t.  Don’t know how many years arnica seeds have been planted to never get past the first two leaves – IF they even sprout!

On the other hand, some things have done well – like hyssop, bee balm, yarrow.  Of course grow garlic and things like oregano, rosemary, and thyme.  Some years are better for basil than others.  We have a variety of Oregon Grape that grows in abundance as a wild plant. Comfrey does well in a container – not in the ground.

Think you see where this is going; not what I want to grow, but what grows that is useful!


Posted in comfrey, container gardening, gardening, garlic/onions, herbal healing, homesteading, organic, prepping, preserving, self-reliance, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Buy American!

Have an All American 915 canner.  This is a made in Wisconsin, all aluminum – milled out of a solid block of aluminum – canner.  No gaskets.  Heavy as hell, takes forever to cool.  and there is no way, no matter how bad it gets, that this canner will explode.  okay, put explosives in it . . . the walls are thick and the lid is clamped down with 6 separate screw down clamps.  Has a pressure gauge as well as a “jiggler” set for 5 – 10 – 15 lbs.

And mine has been leaking steam through the lid.

and it seems the answer, which I still have to check out, is simple!

FIRST – a PHONE CALL from the customer service rep at the Wisconsin Foundry.  Yes, an real live American, from Wisconsin, on the phone, rather than an e-mail.  Tells you how bad things are that such a call totally makes my day!!

So it seems that Vaseline is OUT as a lubricant for these canners and Olive Oil is in.  a couple of reasons for that, and one is that the Vaseline will stick to the surface and harden giving an uneven sealing surface.  A red scotchbrite pad is the recommended cure for that.  Be sure to NOT sand down the sealing surface unevenly – then nothing will help – this is just to clean it up.  Then Olive Oil.  will have to buy a cheap bottle for just this purpose.

Not that I’ve been without a canner, but there is something about that 915 that’s special!

Posted in canning, homesteading, prepping, preserving, recipes, self-reliance, Uncategorized, water | Leave a comment

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 container gardening, fruit, gardening, grow bags, homesteading, permaculture, prepping, preserving, self-reliance, squash, Uncategorized, urban homesteading, water | 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.

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