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.

Friday, July 22, 2016


Swill Chard
Fridays during the summer are my big harvest days, getting ready for our Saturday Globe-Miami Farmer's Market.

This bed of Swiss Chard was looking a bit ratty so I harvested some for market. I cut back the rest and gave it some fresh compost. It should perk up in a week or so. The rest of the leaves will go to the chickens.

after cutting and top dressing

Rainbow Carrots

The carrots have not fared so well this year. The soil is just not in the best shape yet. Also I don't think they got enough water when it was really hot.

Rainbow Beets

The beets on the other hand have done very well! The big yellow ones weigh just over 2 pounds each!

Gold Rush Zucchin

The Gold Rush Zucchini, on the other hand are doing very well this week. The rain we had really perked them up. However, they are sprawling in the walk way and it's hard to get through the hoop house!

Large Red Cherry tomatoes

I picked almost 10 pounds of cherry tomatoes and about 20 pounds of large tomatoes. Oops. I forgot to take a picture of all the big tomatoes!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

More Erosion Control

dawn on the Pinals
Well I got up early and got started before it got real hot. I got another 1/10th of an inch of rain at my place yesterday evening. Not much but better than nothing.

I did notice that a big gully had not washed out in the bigger rain the other day, so I decided I needed to check the little ditches and check dams up on top of the hill.

I did some work on the way up. One small gully did wash a good amount of water down the other day, so I wanted to go to where it starts and do some work.

lower down

higher up

looking down



I'm making small cuts across the slope, as level as I can, to try and slow the water down a little so it can sink in, instead of running off.



small earthworks

this old road cut has caused a lot of erosion.  I am pleased that the earthworks that I did earlier this summer are holding up.

I only have to work on a couple of areas.
Add caption

On this part there are 2 slopes to work on, the old road bed and the hillside next to it.

beginning of large gully

above the large gully


If we get 2 inches in an hour, all of this is for nought. But if it comes down slower, this should help.

rough country

Further down the road cut, there is even more erosion. I really need to get up on top of that slope and do some cuts up there. But it's too dang hot right now.

a really big gully

good morning bees

more of the big gully
Working my way down the old road cut there are a couple of really big gullies. Too big for me to do much about them, especially at this level. I will have to get up on the very top of the hill and work on the head cuts, then work my way down.

Add caption
After I got back to the house and cooled off I tied up the cucumber vines. 

Then back to moms house. My farmer boy helped fill up water buckets. He likes to play with the little chicks, too.

catching chicks.

chick wrangler

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Erosion Control and More

rain gauge
I got about six tenths of an inch of rain yesterday so I didn't have to water anything today, yay!

So I spent the coolest part of the morning walking the creek rebuilding little check dams, trying to slow down the water. I know that is about as productive as re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, but it is at least something. What I really need is a little tractor so I can get up on top of the hills, where the gullies start, and dig some swales.

But for now, mostly I sit in the shade and throw rocks.

small gully before

and after

I should have taken a before picture. This is the downstream side of the culverts. Due to everything that went on last year I never got back to this project, to put down more cement and rocks where the water shoots out of the pipes. When I checked on it today I realized that in 2 rain storms I've lost almost 2 feet of creek bottom and the water was undercutting the cement that was there. I had some rock piled up nearby, which was intended for the retaining wall, instead it went into the creek bottom. Over the next couple of days I"ll try and add some small rock and gravel to fill in the gaps, then cap it with some cement.

snacks, large red cherry tomatoes

I got another 6x6' panel wired up today, 2 more and a 6x10 panel to go.

compost chicken corral coming along

Then, my son let me borrow his big magnet, so I dragged part of the driveway for nails. I picked up probably four times this much. It is hard to use over the rocks and uneven ground but you can hear the metal bits clinking onto the magnet.

lots of junk
a farmer boy

I seem to have acquired a little farmer boy, my nephew Damon. He likes to help feed the chickens and has a bucket of potatoes growing out back.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Morning on the Farm

What time is it?
I thought today I'd give you are little taste of my mornings. Of course everyday is different but this should give you an idea.

Alarm set for 4:30. I got up at 5: 15.

Good Morning Giotto
(I have no clue what the issue is with these pics. They are all right side up on my computer but coming in sideways to blogger.)

Time for tea and Facebook ;-)

Front yard garden

OK, time to get dressed and get going. Nice and cool and cloudy this morning.

The barn

That wooden box in front of the barn is 4 pallets wired together with more board screwed over the gaps. It's growing luffa, Jack Be Little pumpkins and Black Tail Mountain watermelons. I filled it with shredded paper and chicken manure over the winter. This was an experiment to try and grow vines to help shade the big tin barn without the pigs (javalina) getting into them.

scooping up fermented feed
I ferment the chickens feed because they don't waste as much of it, wild birds aren't as attracted to eating it, it is full of probiotics to promote good health, it pre-digests the feed so the birds can absorb more of the nutrition from it. I've been doing this for about 5 years now and will probably never go back to feeding plain dry food.

The bucket garden

The bucket garden looks good, tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants all growing in 5 gallon buckets.

fresh water and feed for duckies
Good morning duckies!

Good Morning Silkies  
Smokeyson and Precious

Miss Bianca
Giotto, what are you barking at? (it was a javalina in the brush)

Good Morning Chickens! A quick trip through the barn so you can see them before I dish up breakfast and check waterers.
empty feed buckets

So 3 empty feed buckets back to the store room. Mix up more feed to feed the chicks this afternoon and the grownups tomorrow.
add water and feed until...

its as thick as oatmeal

Now just set in a warm place. It will fizz and bubble when you stir it up and smell a bit strange. Not quite sour dough or working beer smell. Not quite sour milk smell. As long as it doesn't smell like mold, we're good. Some people cover the feed with water and strain it to feed. I just really didn't like it that way and this way seems to be working OK.

Giotto's breakfast

Time for Giotto's breakfast, raw hamburger and a meaty bone. Although it's been so hot he barely eats anything.

paper and cardboard to recycle

Now time to go to my house and work in the gardens. But first, load up the box of newspaper and cardboard.

And some feed sacks of manure.

feed sacks 1/3 full of manure
I don't fill the bags very full, maybe about 1/3 of the way. Just easier to handle them that way.

Now lets get going. Off to my house. I am letting it all hang out today but you will see why I don't usually do distance shots, way too much junk laying around!
Big locust tree out front

That is a big honey locust out front, at least 50 feet tall and probably 70+ years old. I just hate the 4 inch thorns on it. I"m looking for the thorn less variety to plant around back.

front steps

lets take a walk around the property

falling down sheds out back
Yes I am a pot hoarder
pallet fence potted tomatoes

creek side garden
big tomato garden
looking up to the chicken pens

The chickens are all over at Mom's house right now. There is one old duck who is hard to catch and just goes crazy when you do, so I've just left him here, don't want to stress him out too much.

red neck electric fence

The pigs (javalina) were getting into my little trees and things up by the chicken pens so I ran some electric fencing. I was in a hurry and short of money so I just used any old piece of metal, rebar, water pipe, gas pipe, angle iron, other junk laying around, that I could pound into the ground. Then I slipped a piece of PVC pipe over the metal and wound the wire around that. It works fairly well.

hoop house with pig damage

Of course they still find ways to get in. It looks like  a smallish one managed to get in the fence, pushed the chicken wire up on the hoop house and snacked on some squash leaves. Also tore up the baby sunflowers that were at the bottom of the wall. Sigh. I've planted sunflowers there 3 times now.

hot wires tangled

Ah there's the culprit. I imagine the javalina just walked right into the fence, which tangled the wires together as they aren't very tight. There's another spot on the other side.  I pushed the lower wires down a bit, but there's a lot of slope so I may have to add a wire in on that spot.

compost happens

OK, now that the fence is fixed, unload the manure and dump on the compost pile.

Unload the newspaper and go mulch a few tomato plants.
tomatoes in caliche

paper down

compost on top of paper

I put down a thick layer of junk mail, cardboard and newspaper, right over the soaker hose, with just enough compost on top to keep the wind from blowing the paper too much.

beans are coming

cucumbers are doing really well

Hello Kitties!
Lil' Bit

Our new kitty Tink is settling in well. She's a bit skittish but seems content and is getting along OK with Lil' Bit

June planted potatoes

a bed of rainbow beets
golden beet

rainbow carrots

back garden, squash running for the roof
sweet potatoes in pots

little hoop house
(I swear these pics are right side up on my computer!) Little hoop house has some tomatoes and chard, along with some little pots of things like my baby fig trees.

Spanish lavender

mmm. I think this lavender needs some mulch. My favorite mulch is compost or rotted manure.

getting mulch

ah, that's better

live oaks, cherry bushes, herbs

6x6 chain link panel

Time to tie some wire. I'm taking down an old rabbit/duck pen. Covering the 6'x6' chain link panels with chicken wire. I'll be highlighting the project on a separate page later on.

wet rag for the heat
It's getting hot, time to get a wet rag.

moving the panel on my back

The easiest way to move the panel is on my back. Wire all done.
compost & mobile coop

I'll be adding it to the enclosure around the mobile coop and compost pile.

under the squash vines

Canna lilies 

volunteer potato in a pot

messy patio
 The sunshade broke under a wet snow last winter and the javalina came in and knocked over a bunch of pots and made a mess. Just haven't had time to clean up out here.
baby live oak tree

javalinas did it.

Trumpet Vine


white carrot snack

cherry tomato snacks

purple pepper

a threat or a promise?

some sprinkles and thunder grumbles