Category Archives for "Grow Things"

Desert Garden Prep for Fall Growing Season

Gorgeous sky this morning! Cooler temps are definitely on their way and I’m ready.

I’ve already planted some beans, pumpkins, winter squash, and cucumbers. The sweet potato beds are just about ready to harvest and then I can clear out those beds to make room for more fall growing season crops.

Kitty Macchiato is glad to see us spending more time outside again. She likes to watch the busy work, and sometimes get her paws ? right in there. She’s also a bit tired of waiting out the heat of the day on the couch…

Coffee, one of my favorite gardening books, and seeds. That’s how I started my Monday. Now to keep these seeds moist through the heat of these last days of summer.

Container Gardening in Arizona May Update

These flowers finally got a new home! I’ve had these for well over a year and they’ve been in the same pot this entire time. Well, Jonathan picked out this pot for me the other day when he went shopping without me. It’s perfect! The colors compliment each other nicely. And he knows how much I like purple! I was shocked how root bound these poor plants were, and yet they continued to bloom and grow. Except for those blue ones on the left, they were having a hard time. I bet they’ll be happy again with room for their feet.

My garden starts are growing like crazy! I have to water 3 and even 4 times a day but so far I’ve only fried ☀️ a handful of starts. ? We are still working away at building our raised garden bed along with shade solutions. My starts are getting impatient though so I ordered some 6 inch pots and have been transplanting a few each evening after sundown.

I have all of these sitting under the awning of our camper to protect them from the mid day sunshine. They get sun in the morning and again right around dinner time. The sun around here has surprising intensity even at those times but so far, the plants are handling it fine. I make sure to do all of my transplanting in the evening so that they can acclimate to their new home overnight before dealing with another hot day.

I went around and took some updated photos of several of my plants so I’ll share those here too. I’m slowly learning how much sun and shade and water each plant likes and adjusting accordingly. These plants seem a bit fussy to me and require lots of mothering! ??‍??


New Pots to Make New Homes for Growing Plants

My Oregano desperately needed a new pot. It kept wilting down in the ever increasing heat so I trimmed it way back

Now I could really see that it also needed a bigger pot so I decided to grab one when we went to visit the Yuma Nursery, something I’d been looking forward to for over a week. Jonathan went there without me one day and told me all about it so I wanted to go too. We were just waiting for a day that worked for both of us.

I like it when Jonathan goes to the store with me because I have a really hard time making the decision to purchase something. I may know I like it/want it/need it, but I have a hard time swallowing those price tags! When he’s there to say it’s okay, I feel better about my purchases.

Anyway, the day came and we went to the nursery supply store. It was so fun! Plants, trees, shrubs, tropicals…everything you could dream of. They had every plant I’ve seen in neighbors yards that I took note I’d like to have in my yard. If I bought them all, it would cost a fortune. ? It’s okay, we can build up to it slowly, one plant at a time.

On this trip, I was on a mission to buy pots. I’ve found lots of wonderful terra cotta pots at the 99 Cent Only store, but I wanted simple nursery style pots for transplanting all my starts. Here is some of the cuteness I brought home from the 99 cent store.

While the nursery had all the plants one could dream of, they were only selling decorative pots. Glazed or plain terra cotta. I knew I could use these too, but like I said, I have a really hard time with those price tags. Jonathan reminded me of the cost of materials it took for him to build me these planters (pictured below) and then I felt better about it.

And so we went back and forth between the teal glaze, the dark green, the white….the round, the square, the bowl…and three different sizes. One BIG pot or two smaller pots. ??‍♀️?. Again, I was glad he was there to give his input. ?

We came home with this gorgeous teal marble glazed terra cotta pot for my Oregano and he still thinks he needs a bigger home. I think I’ll just plant him in the ground once we finish building the raised bed.

And we came home with this cool orange glazed terra cotta pot which is going to match a trellis Jonathan is building for the patio so this will look super fun! I hmm and haa over what to plant in this guy and Jonathan insisted he bought the pot for my beautiful and thriving Basil plant. What can I say, it LOVES the heat! Who knew!? Not this Pacific Northwest garden girl, that’s for sure!!

I didn’t think my basil needed transplanting so I hesitated. I went to investigate, checked the bottom of my white pot which currently house my Basil to check for roots sticking out the bottom and there they were! So Jonathan won. Basil into the orange pot it was. And he looks great in there!!

And then lastly, how cute are these succulent containers? ? I moved my succulent babies that my neighbor friend gave me in February over to these little containers. And that completes my garden fun report!


Transplanting a Meyer Lemon Tree to a Bigger Home

While we were in Oregon this year, I adopted one of the Meyer Lemon Trees that my mother in law started from seed. She’s always had more of a green thumb than me, especially with potted plants and house plants. I figured I should be able to grow this lemon tree successfully, especially since we were headed back to Arizona, you know, a citrus trees natural habitat!

About a month into caring for my little tree, the challenges began. I read some articles to try and understand a healthy amount of watering and fertilization. Of course being in a dry climate, my tree needs to be cared for slightly differently than what my mother in law is doing for her trees.

Once the bottom leaves started to turn a pale yellow, we came to a mutual agreement that it was time for a bigger pot for my Meyer Lemon Tree. And so transplanting day came! I used a Miracle Grow potting mix and watered it well. Now to see if the leaves will improve soon! I also moved the Meyer Lemon Tree to a spot with more shade and less direct sunlight. It will only see the morning sun now, up until about noon, but still has plenty of daylight.

It’s been inspected by Kitty Macchiato so I’m hoping for the best!


Growing Sunflowers in a Sunny Desert Climate

This past fall, my friend Jill gave me some sunflower seeds she saved from her garden. As she filled the little bags with seeds I stopped her and said, “That’s more then I could even dream of planting.” At this point I had no idea when or where I would be able to plant them.

Once we were back in Yuma, Arizona, I realized there would be time to grow my sunflowers before we would be relocating again. I decided to plant them right out our door in front of a brick wall I’ve always thought was rather ugly. Having a wall of sunflowers there will be beautiful!

To prepare the soil, I raked over the area to pick up the dead palm tree branches and other debris. For the past 3 years, I’ve been dumping my old potting soil in this back corner so it was somewhat like a compost pile I guess. I raked this over the area I intended to plant as well. Then I grabbed what was left of my bag of Amend, probably about 3/4 of the bag, and poured that over the area as well. Next I gently dug over the area to loosen everything up and mix the potting soil and amend into the sand. Not much, but better than nothing I figure! All I know is that water drains right through the sand, so I’m hoping the added soil and amend will help to retain moisture between waterings.

9 day later I was feeling a bit anxious about my little seeds. Did I plant them too deep? Did I let them dry out too much? Did the birds get to them after all? I imagine my neighbors thought I was crazy as I knelt over my little square of dirt examining and searching desperately for sprouts.

FINALLY, on day 11 they started to emerge from the soil. Being a teaching day for me, I gave them a good dose of water and then spent the rest of the day in my studio teaching until after dark. After dinner, I grabbed a flashlight and went outside to count my sprouts. LOL! Now I know the neighbors think I must be a crazy women. There were 13 sprouts the first night, 21 the next morning. Then it was 31, 42, 51, and at most recent count there were 60. I’m content now and will wait until I’m sure all have sprouted before I count again! HAHA.


Grow Citrus Fruit From Seed

As I sat on my door step enjoy the last Tangelo from my fruit basket I bite into a seed. I stood up and headed for the trash can with that seed and then stopped myself realizing I’m currently living in prime citrus growing country! Wondering if it really is as easy as planting a citrus seed to grow a new tree, I decided to look it up after I finished my snack and saved all of the seeds I found in my last Tangelo.

My research determined that you can indeed grow citrus from seed, but there are a couple extra steps that make the process faster and easier. I’ll share those in a minute. But even more interesting to me was the fact that you probably won’t end up with the same type of fruit as you started with! Citrus apparently cross pollinates very easily, so you never know what you will end up with when growing a citrus tree from a seed. It might be delicious fruit, and it might not be tasty at all! The exception to this is the Meyer Lemon Tree, which is why these are often grown from seed.

Well, what the heck! I’m always up for a gardening experiment anyway. I’ll enjoy a new plant project even if I don’t end up with Tangelos 5 years from now. If I can even keep the thing alive that long! LOL. Gardening takes practice and I’ve never tried to grow a fruit tree before my Lemon Tree that my mother in law started.

First thing to do is float your citrus seeds of choice in a container of water. Supposedly they are only good seeds if they sink to the bottom. 4 out of 5 of my seeds floated on top, indicating they would not be good seeds but, they are all I have to work with so I decided to include them in my experiment.

Next, I grabbed some finger nail clippers and snipped just the pointed end off of my citrus seeds. Then I pried the outer hard shell off of the seeds, leaving only the skin around the seed.

I separated the citrus seeds on a paper towel and marked the one that sunk to the bottom of my container of water as “good” and the other 4 citrus seeds as “maybe”. Gotta give them a chance, right!?

Then, simple as that, I dampened the paper towel of citrus seeds with water, slipped it into a ziplock bag, labeled it as Tangelo seeds, and slipped it into a dark corner of my drawer in my kitchen. Now to see if I get sprouts!

January Garden Project; Growing Ginger Root

I guess the garden bug bites early down here in the desert! Last week, I officially gave up on growing houseplants in the camper. Too much moving them around, the cat steps on them, shoot we were even throwing the covers back on top of them! Not enough counter space for them either so I’m just making peace with it. No more houseplants in this house. Not too big of deal when you think about the fact that our living room is really the back porch anyway and we spend most of our time outside.

Okay, so without my houseplants project, I wanted to try something else with plants. I’ve been told for a while that it is easy to grow your own ginger root! I love to cook with ginger so I’m giving this a try! As I did a bit of reading, there were two different methods advised, so I decided to try both. One method has you get the starts going in a damp paper towel, the other has you just go right to the potting soil and be mighty patient (8 weeks they said!) for the sprouts to show up.

I had a nice piece of ginger sitting on my counter for a while now and it had some nice eyes on it, so I cut it into 4 pieces just as I would if I were preparing potatoes for planting.

Next, I prepared my empty houseplant pot for its new tenants. ?LOL! I also grabbed a paper towel for the other two pieces. I’ll have to let you know which method does better as the weeks go by!

I like to put a few rocks in the bottom of my pots to keep the soil from plugging up the drainage holes. So far it seems to work well for me so I keep doing it! Then I added some potting soil and laid my chunks of ginger on top, trying to position the eye buds so they can grow towards the light.

Then to bury them with about an inch of soil, and soak thoroughly with water. I set this out on the patio by my other containers so I can keep an eye on it and keep it wet. From what I understand, I will be waiting several weeks before I see anything pushing up to the surface.

As for the paper towel method, I simply set a couple chunks of my ginger on the paper towel and wrapped them gently.

Then, I soaked the paper towel in water which helped the folds adhere to each other and remain folded. Then I slipped the wrapped ginger into a plastic ziplock bag to retain moisture, but did not seal it shut. I set this in the window behind my stove figuring the light will be good for it as well as the heat from the stove.

And then my final project for the day was to plant these Sunflower seeds my friend Jill shared with me from her garden. Jill is a ? violin friend from Instagram that I got to visit in person last November at her beautiful home in Hood River, Oregon.

I’ve always found these brick walls rather boring that surround every lot in the Yuma Foothills. When I open my back door, or look out the window, this wall is my view. So, I decided it was the perfect space to attempt growing a cheery wall of sunflowers! I just really hope they grow!! I prepared the space by trying to rake the sand somewhat level and then adding a bit of amend and potting soil to encourage the sand to hold moisture a little better.

As I started to plant my seeds, I noticed more and more birds excitedly gathering around. ? So I decided I best wait until sundown to do my seed planting!!


Container Gardening in the Desert

I’ve developed quite the traveling garden over the last few years. Being able to take full grown plants with me helps me establish the feeling of home faster when we set up in each location. My plants are pretty happy about all the sunshine down here in Yuma, Arizona so I snapped several pictures of them the other day and thought I’d share them with you.

This purple heart was gifted to me by our schoolie neighbors. I bought the Lavender while we were in Utah as well. The mini lemon tree came from my MIL while we were in Salem, I adopted it from about 8 that she had grown from seed. Here’s to hoping I can keep it alive!!
Love my new watering can Jonathan encouraged me to get for myself when we got down here this year.
Thyme and a cactus I started while we were here last year.
I grabbed two tomato plants and two bell peppers when we first got here. Wanted them to get an early start before the heat sets in.
Last year my peppers and tomatoes actually got too much sun, so I put them under the pergola for extra shade this time.
I’m growing some cat grass for Kitty and a bowl of lettuce and some cilantro.
These flowers blossomed right back out when they got in some sunshine!
Love using this crate Jonathan built to add dimension to my plant display on the patio.
The sign is too big for the plant but I still like it.
I just trimmed this Oregano up this morning but I’m so happy my purple flowering grass is happy again!
The Houseplant you CAN Grow

The Houseplant You CAN Grow

A while back, I was challenged to write down 3 things that would help make up my “happy place”. That cozy up corner where you can sit back and relax, enjoying everything around you. My 3 things were: animals, plants, and nature. In other words, I love to surround myself with LIFE!

Because of my love for having life all around me, I am constantly trying to raise houseplants! Now, with all the vegetables, herbs, and flowers I can grow, you would think I could grow houseplants too!! But no, the African Violets died and so did the Orchids. I also tried growing Schefflera, Kalanchoe and even Aloe Vera. The Aloe Vera did well for the most part, until we shared our tiny house with a certain little kitty cat who loved to chew on the stalks.

The Houseplant you CAN Grow

One day, my hubby came home from the store with a gorgeous houseplant I had never seen before. I admired it’s tri-colored leaves and was eager to try again to keep a house plant alive. First things first, I looked the plant up on the internet to learn everything I could about it. I didn’t even know what it was called! Oddly enough there was no name anywhere to be found on this plant. After searching for common house plants, I easily identified it as the Pothos Plant, also known as Devil’s Ivy. As I read about it, I learned that it is nearly impossible to kill, even if you forget to water it for long periods of time! Just what I needed. The Photos plant does well in low light, or direct light, rarely needs to be transplanted, and is just all around easy to care for.

The Houseplant you CAN Grow

As you can see here, mine grew quite well, in it’s original pot from the store for over two years! I decided it was time to give it a pretty new pot, fresh soil, and a major hair cut!!

My research said the plant would do better being trimmed back when it was time to transplant into new soil. So I gave this guy a major trimming!! I probably cut about 8 feet of vine length off. It was kind of hard to do it, but I know the plant will be happier for it, and will probably grow back quickly as well.

The Houseplant you CAN Grow

Of course, Kitty Inspector had to come check my work and make sure I was doing a good job!! She is always around, poking her nose in everything just like this when we are doing projects.

The Houseplant you CAN Grow

The finished look! All freshened up, cute tea cup planter, with the roots nested in new soil. I shook off as much of the old dirt as I could from the roots, and untangled the root ball a little bit. I also left one length of vine, because I just couldn’t cut them all off. It looks so happy and healthy now!

Kitty came back and inspected my final look and apparently approved, so I moved my plant back into the house to grow once again. What is you favorite house plant? Do you have any houseplant tips to share? Let me know in the comments!

The Houseplant you CAN Grow


Kitchen Herb Garden

I’ve always wanted a kitchen herb garden. Something about it just sounds a bit romantic and cozy. Not to mention being able to snip fresh herbs right from the plant and into my cooking! Remember those White Washed Terra Cotta Pots I painted the other day? Well, those became the perfect white decor addition to my home in the form of a kitchen herb garden!

Kitchen Herb Garden in White Washed Pots

My little herb garden has been in my plans for a long time, ever since I bought my terra cotta pots at Fred Meyer’s Fuchsia Saturday sale in the beginning of April. It took me a few weeks to find time to white wash my pots, and then I had to wait a couple more weeks for the Pomeroy Farm Herb Festival at their Country Life Fair.

Country Life Fair at Pomeroy Farm

The Country Life Fair takes place on the historic Pomeroy Farm each year. The Herb Festival is what keeps me going back each year but they also welcome private vendors, give hay rides, and tours of the historic buildings and garden areas. There are herbs available here that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else, my favorite being Purple Mountain Basil. Unfortunately, they didn’t have my favorite Basil plant this year so I will have to make do with the other varieties.

Starting the day off with piano festival for one of my students, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to Pomeroy Farm very early. My dad likes to attend the herb festival each year as well so I asked him to grab a few of my favorite plants for me before the early crowd bought them out. After a quick visit to the herb festival and a nice lunch with my mom, I was on my way home with these lovely little plants!

Herbs for Kitchen Garden

Kitchen Herb Garden in White Washed PotsI gather my supplies together and set up a temporary potting bench by spreading a piece of plywood over our wheelbarrow. Here is a list of everything I used to do this project.

I also made sure I filled my watering can up so I could give my newly potted plants a drink right away! Then I set the camera up so I could video the planting process for you. 🙂 Enjoy!

Every time I’m out working, Macchiato shows up to help me out and keep me company! Gardening with a cat can be interesting. I was worried that she might dig in my pots on the table but she hasn’t bothered them yet! She isn’t a kitten anymore so I’m sure that makes a difference. She used to be a real nuisance!

Gardening with CatsThe herbs and plants I ended up with were:

  • Red Robin Basil (a purple variety of basil)
  • Druett’s Variegated (the cutest plant I’ve ever seen!)
  • Tri-colored Sage (our favorite for breakfast gravy)
  • Pesto Basil (it just sounds so tasty!!)
  • Ornamental Curry (oh how I wish it was culinary)
  • Lemon Thyme (these smell amazing)
  • Dwarf Oregano (a small, creeping variety)

I tried to organize my pots so they each had a tall plant and a spreading plant. Pictured left is my Pesto Basil grouped together with my Dwarf Oregano.

Kitchen Herb Garden in White Washed PotsThey are doing really well together! I’m hoping the Pesto Basil will branch out a bit more and show off it’s pretty leaves. I can’t wait to taste this Basil in a Pesto recipe!!

Oregano is one of my favorite herbs to grow and use. It seems like every recipe calls for a bit of Oregano. I go through bushels of it when I make my home canned pasta sauce in the summer time. It also ends up in most every soup!

I did save a couple plants out for other pots, like the lettuce that I bought. Normally I would never purchase lettuce starts, but I knew I wouldn’t be growing lettuce at all this year if I left it to starting them from seeds. It just wasn’t going to happen. So I went ahead and bought some lettuce which I poked around out the sides of another hanging basket, just like I did with my Strawberries this year. I planted one of my Basil plants in the top portion of this basket.

Kitchen Herb Garden in White Washed PotsArtistically, three is a very balanced number. I planted three herbs in one of my pots; Thyme, Curry, and Sage. This curry plant smells amazing!! My husband commented on being able to smell it when I brought them home. Since I’ve been trying a lot of Paleo recipes lately, I’ve been using curry more and more in my cooking. I really wish this was a culinary plant instead of ornamental. I don’t know what the difference is, but someday I will grow some culinary curry.

We love to use sage, mostly for breakfast gravy. I’m pretty sure sage is my husband’s favorite herb! I like to grow all the different varieties, there are just some many unique sage plants. The variegated leaves are my favorite.

Even though I don’t use Thyme that often when I’m cooking, I love to grow this herb! Of course it goes in anytime my recipe calls for Italian Seasoning (which is just a combination of Oregano, Thyme, Basil, and maybe Rosemary). But the pretty little flower blossoms on this herb are on of my favorites! It is by far my favorite herb to use when I make knot gardens because of it’s bushy, but small, growing style.

Kitchen Herb Garden in White Washed PotsAnd then my favorite planter pot. I just love how this pot turned out! It’s so pretty!! Variegated leaves mixed in with a vibrant purple Basil plant.

No, this Druett’s Variegated plant is not an herb. It is a flowering plant. But I fell in love with the variety of leaves!! Some are solid green, some variegated, and some white. I thought this might change with different lighting, but it has kept it’s beautiful variety! I’m anxious to see what the blossom look like. By far my favorite of the three pots I put together.

Kitchen Herb Garden

And that concludes my kitchen herb garden project! Well worth the wait, enjoyed every minute of the process to create this lovely space in my home.

Kitchen Herb Garden in White Washed Terra Cotta Pots