My Edible Garden

I've been gardening for most of my life and have been a devoted fan of organic gardening the whole time. It just makes so much more sense to work in harmony with Mother Nature than to fight her. Besides which it is better for the planet and better for our bodies. Here you can see what I'm planting and harvesting, with gardening hints and resources thrown in for good measure.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Harvest Monday

Yellow Marble Tomatoes, Radish
Well this has been a bit of a crazy week with my work and getting ready for my first art showing (more on that over on Artists Way, my art blog) I did do a little harvesting, but the lettuce growth has really slowed down. I've already made a note to plant a lot more salad fixings this fall!

And of course our lovely Harvest Monday blog hop is sponsored by Daphne over at Daphne's Dandelions, stop over and visit with gardeners from around the world!

Besides the usual salad greens I did harvest a few more little Yellow Marble Tomatoes. I am still amazed by this plant still going strong! There was one little red radish ready to pull and a golden turnip. (I'll have to check up on the actual variety name).

golden turnip
Overall things are looking great in the greenhouse. The peas are going strong, the violets are blooming and I saw a blossom on one of the strawberry plants. Of course there are no bees out yet to pollinate, so it will be a bit before we actually get any fruit set. I'll try and get out there this week and get some photos for you.

Over the weekend I was at the opening reception for my show on Sat. Then Sunday morning had about 3 truck loads of hot horse manure delivered. Later in the day I picked up a couple of waterlily roots of unknown color from a lady giving them away. I potted one up and took it to my mom for her pond. Now I have to get my tub fixed up and put the other one in there.  I also have a lot of other work to do around the yard.

And of course it's time to get paperwork sorted out and in order, to get ready for filing my taxes. That means cleaning off the desk along with lots of housework back log. And Yikes! It's Monday and time to go back to work already!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Plant Hardiness Zone Map

New Plant Hardiness Zone Map from the USDA
The USDA has just released the new plant hardiness zone map. The new map is based on average minimum winter temperatures from 1976-2005.

The nice thing about the new map is that there is an interactive map feature available if you have a good internet connection. There are static maps available for view if you are still on a dial up connection.

The drawback to these maps is that they are based on average official temperatures. Right away I can see a problem with it. The new map shows me as being in zone 9a with winter temps of 20-25 degrees. The problem is that there are any number of winters in the past twenty years when the temperature has been as low as 15 degrees. And just 6 miles away Globe shows up as being zone 8b with average temps of 15-20 degrees.

Of course the map is just meant to be a guideline, you have to use your own common sense and knowledge of your own yard and micro climate. So I think I'll adopt the colder rating of 8b as I feel it more accurately reflects what is happening in my own yard.

Monday, January 23, 2012


January salad
Well I've been missing in action due to a very nasty computer virus and just getting back online. My thanks to those of you who came by and commented on my last post; hopefully I'll get around to everyone this week.  This is also why I didn't get a Seedy Saturday post done!

Harvest Monday is a blog hop sponsored by Daphne over at Daphne's Dandelions. Stop over and visit with gardeners around the world as they share what they are harvesting from their gardens.

Lettuce production has slowed down a bit with the cold temps and low light. This fall I will plant more square footage to make sure I have enough come January. In the meantime things in the greenhouse are getting big enough to begin picking and there are still a couple of little tomatoes on the Yellow Marble plant. In the meantime it's time to start new plants from seed in the house. I'm thinking about taking some cuttings from the Yellow Marble, as a couple of branches still have green leaves on them.

The days are getting a bit longer and have been pretty warm this past week. I'm hoping for a mild but rainy spring and summer!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Harvest Monday & Seedy Saturday Winner

Welcome to Harvest Monday, hosted by Daphne at Daphne's Dandelions! Check it out and see what gardeners around the world are harvesting, some of them are pretty amazing.

This week, besides the usual mix of lettuces, I harvested a few other goodies, like this pretty little baby pak choi.

Easter Egg Radishes
There were some little Easter Egg Radishes. These were a bit hotter than the ones I pulled before, I think maybe they are a bit too warm in the greenhouse with the crazy springlike weather we've been having.

Baby carrots; there are beets hiding underneath them.

I pulled the last of the beets and carrots that were planted in August. They haven't grown much lately so I figured a fresh start would be good. They were in half of a small bed, so I loosened up the soil and added some compost and fertilizer to it so it will be ready to plant.

Yellow Marble Tomato in January!

I got a few more yellow marble tomatoes from the plant in the greenhouse. It's been warmer lately so it is doing well. We'll see what happens if we get another deep freeze.

Dwarf Grey Sugar Peas grow in tubs in the greenhouse

The Dwarf Grey Sugar Peas are beginning to vine in their tubs in the greenhouse, they should start blooming soon.

greenhouse growing bed

In the raised bed in the green house there are some strawberry plants, an odd onion, some little marvel peas and way down at the end, some cilantra and sorrel sprouting up.

And now I know at least one person is anxiously awaiting......Seedy Saturday's Free Seed Giveaway goes to Jennie M.! congrats Jennie!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Seedy Saturday

Rust colored sunflower
Welcome to Seedy Saturday! This weeks FREE seed giveaway is for some small seeded decorative sunflowers.

In 2009 I planted several packets of mixed colors of decorative sunflowers and they were in all shades of red, rust, orange and yellow. The plants were quite variable also, some just 3 feet tall, up to about 6 feet. Some plants had just one or two larger flowerheads while others branched out a lot and had a dozen smaller ones.

The bed they were growing in was not in the best shape, so they would probably have been bigger and had more flowers in better soil. The flowers attracted a lot of bees and butterflies and the seeds attracted a lot of finches and other small seed eating birds. My idea for growing them was as chicken feed, but the dogs got the chickens before I tried them out to see if the chickens liked them.

Since sunflowers are very much outbreeders there is no telling what you will get when you plant these, they will be a big surprise. I hope that the winner will send me pictures of them when they bloom!

To be in the drawing for these free seeds, simply comment on this post! For the fine print rules, read this post.

In other news the weather has been warm, sunny and dry and I'm having to water the outdoor gardens a bit. And the rats that have taken up residence under the house, in the walls and attic are stirring. One nibbled some pea shoots in the greenhouse. However, I set a trap and got that one. Getting ready to reset the trap as I know there are a lot more of them. Thinking maybe I need to buy some more traps. One might not be enough.

I got a windfall of two boxes of aging produce out of which I canned 21 pints of applesauce and some half pints of salsa. Just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. I'll be doing a how-to article for making the applesauce.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Harvest Monday

Baby Lettuce, viola blossoms, mustard, kale, chickweed, yellow marble tomatoes
Happy New Year! Welcome to Harvest Monday, a blog hop hosted by Daphne at Daphne's Dandelions. Stop by her page and visit with gardeners around the world!

This is my wrap up for 2011. Still harvesting baby lettuces, with bits of kale, chickweed, red mustard, arugula and spinach. The violas and violets are still blooming and amazingly enough the yellow marble tomato plant is still ripening fruit.This was my last harvest of 2011. For 2012 I will be ramping up production in all areas. Next fall should see more greens and root crops as well as cauliflower and broccoli in the fall and early winter. As soon as the weather is warmer there will be beans, squash, tomatoes and corn. Considering that I didn't really plant much until September, I think the garden has done very well.

Total poundage harvest in 2011, 24 pounds, worth about $87 at the grocery store. This was harvested from just 86 square feet of garden space. The garden is of course bigger than  that and there is a lot more planted right now, broccoli, cauliflower and peas, especially, but they are not ready to pick yet. This year I will also be trying to keep track of expenses. At the moment I have plenty of seeds from past years and only really needed to order a few larger tomatoes for processing, some sweet corn and cucumbers. I have really restrained myself when it came to ordering seeds! About the only other thing I will be ordering will be seed potatoes as I intend to grow a large amount of potatoes this year.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Neon Eggplant in my garden, 2009
Happy New Year, one and all! I've enjoyed a lovely sunny day here in Arizona, though I'm sure it won't last. I actually had to water some of the garden beds today because they were getting too dry.

I'm looking forward to a wonderful new year and our all too short spring growing season. I've got my grow lights and heat mat set up, though I probably won't start a huge number of plants until after March 1. I will be gone a few days then to teach at a painting convention. 

In the meantime I am doing what is really  more germination testing. I have a lot of really old seeds so have planted some in the hopes of getting at least one plant to save new seeds from. I also bought some fresh tomato seed because apparently I never saved any from a couple of years ago. Be sure that will not happen again!

A fun project I'm looking forward to is growing some seedlings from this Neon eggplant. Neon is a hybrid and really is a shocking pink color, the photo doesn't really do it justice. I saved some seeds from this so I expect to get all different kinds of eggplants from it in several colors. There probably won't be any this particular color, but that's ok. What I'm really after are prolific plants that have fruit with thin, tender skins and not much or any bitterness.

Be sure to check for Harvest Monday and Seedy Saturday will be back next week!