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, June 30, 2017

Farmer Friday

It took me almost 3 hours to pick 8 pounds of cherry tomatoes. Good thing I had that many to pick. I delivered more than half to my customers in Superior. The rest will go to the Globe-Miami Farmers Market tomorrow. 

This weeks squash harvest was a measly 20 pounds. I over estimated how many days they could go between watering were getting and some of the plants were getting crispy when I got to them. 

I did pick lots of kale, both Scarlet and lancinata. 

I discovered 6 Black Tail Mountain watermelons had a dried up tendril and a yellow spot on the bottom.  I am amazed that the rodents have not bothered the watermelons.  That's almost 30 pounds of melon!

I only have a few rainbow carrots right now so I pull them on request. That yellow one is looking really nice. That tells me the soil is getting better. 

I pulled a couple of bunches of Albino and Golden beets. I experimented with planting onion seeds in Jan. they made very small bulbs but they are a great size for grilling. 

I picked a lot of herbs, flat and curly parsley, sage, Thai and Italian basil. The flowers this week are marigolds, zinnias, yarrow, a couple of sunflowers and some dahlias. 

I planted these collards plants and watered them the other day. Apparently not nearly enough water. I really poured it on and in a couple of hours it looked like most were reviving. This time of year is really hard. I will be working to automat and streamline a lot of my systems this year, especially water!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Harvest Monday

assorted cherry tomatoes
It's been quite awhile, but I'm going to try to start linking back up with Harvest Monday Harvest Monday is a great blog hop originally started by Daphne at Daphne's Dandelions. She has passed the hat to Dave but still a great blog hop and great way to see what folks all around the world are harvesting.

For those coming to visit from Harvest Monday, I used to participate when I just grew veggies for myself. Now I have expanded a lot and grow for a couple of small farmers markets. So some things are coming in much larger quantities.

summer squash; I have 10 different varieties
Lancinata or Dinosaur Kale

I have a lot of summer squash varities; a generic zucchini plus, Black Beauty, Gold Rush, Mexican Grey and Tondo, a round Italian variety. Green and yellow patty pan plus one called Scallopini. Early Straight Neck. The Trombonccino haven't started yet as I got them in later than usual.

Right now I am growing 2 kinds of kale, the Lancinata plus Scarlet, which is a pretty red frilly one.

herbs and flowers
Marigolds and zinnias

I have a lot of herbs; most of them don't sell very well fresh, which is weird. People are more inclined to buy dry. So I take fresh ones to market and dry the leftovers. Four kinds of basil; Italian, Lime, Lemon and Thai. Curly and Flat Parsley. Lavender, Lovage, Oregano are all coming in now, tho the lavender is about done blooming.  I sell small bouquets mostly of zinnias and marigolds but also other things as they come along, like yarrow and calendula. I grew a lot of dahlias for the purpose but am still experimenting to see how to keep them from wilting right away.

So harvest totals from June 18-25;
6-21 squash 5 pounds 
         Leeks 10 ounces
6-22 Scarlet kale 5 pounds
         Lancinata kale 6 pounds
6-23 cherry tomatoes 3 pounds 4 ounces
        Squash 80 pounds 0 ounces
        Leeks 4 pounds 12 ounces
        Potatoes All Red 5pounds 10 ounces
                     Belinda. 8 pounds 6 ounces
                     All Blue 7 pounds 5 ounces
Squash 85 pounds
Kale 12 pounds
Cherry tomatoes 3 pounds 4 ounces
Leeks 5 pounds 1 ounce
Potatoes 21pounds 4 ounces
Total Harvest 125 pounds 9 ounces

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mid Summer Musings

 Time to tie up the cukes and melons
Sundays for some are a day of rest for some. For me they are slightly less hurried days in the garden. Watering, catching up on things like tieing up cucumbers and melons. Days of meditation while the birds sing and the chickens cluck. 

all done

Gardening in this extreme and harsh climate is not easy. When the rabbits take out the first 75 broccoli and cauliflower plants and the pack rats wipe out the next 150 seedlings you cry. 
a full bed of ready to cut lettuce gone over night

When the squirrels take all of the big green tomatoes then turn their attention to eating every half grown cantaloupe you scream. And set more traps. Live traps they won't go in. Rat traps that they trip and eat the bait any way. 
squirrel eaten tomato

When the plum tree is loaded but you don't get a single good fruit because the birds have pecked them all. Every. Single. One.

When you hide some cantaloupe plants in the middle of the summer squash and they find them any way, you lie in wait in the heat if the afternoon with the .22 and hope the sweat doesn't blind you at the worst moment. 

June is probably the hardest month of the year. Mice, pack rats, wood rats, kangaroo rats, chipmunks, ground squirrels, birds of every sort. Not to mention slugs, stink bugs, grasshoppers, grubs and javelina. 

The heat wears you down. 110° F with 4% humidity, you feel like you are cooking. Chore time triples because you have to keep the waterers full and wet down the chickens pens and give them shallow pans of water to stand in to cool off.  You have to spray down the shade cloth and set the hose as a mister to keep some from dieing in the heat. You lose some any way. The heat is exhausting. 90° at 6:30 in the morning. Things go undone just because you are so exhausted you can't move. 

part of the 125 pounds of squash
And yet. Yet in the midst of dieing hens and heat exhaustion and $400 water bills there is abundance. Miraculous abundance. Wonderful and amazing bounty. 125 pounds of squash. 200 pounds of potatoes.  10 or 20 pounds of greens a week. 20 or 30 eggs a day. Lovely surprises like the leeks that did so well your first try. Or the carrots that are bigger and straighter than last year. The beautiful sweet beets. 
sweet rainbow beets
And the promise of more. The chard and collards plants waiting to be set out. The winter squashes just beginning to form, a promise of good eating this winter.  Holding your breath the squirrel doesn't like watermelons. Beautiful flowers. The rain clouds rolling in from the south hopefully bringing the monsoon. 
assorted cherry tomatoes

And with those promises hope springs eternal. Hope the melons come in like gang busters. Hope the flowers thrive and the new seedlings make it. Hope in tomorrow. 
tomato Black from Tula

I wonder if faith and hope are just other words for perseverance and stubbornness. I must be stubborn to keep up 12-14 hour days in the heat. Either that or stupid. But that hope, that promise of abundance keeps me going.
Black Tail Mountain watermelon
Cactus flowered dahlia grown from seed
beautiful baby leeks
Calendula blooming between baby sage plants
a bucket of flowers, zinnias, marigolds, dahlias
a patch of flowers for the bees and butterflies
wild four 'o clocks bloom above the tansy
my fortune one day at lunch

Friday, June 23, 2017

Farmer Friday

Today was a long day!  Pulled some pretty baby leeks today. 
Dug a rainbow of potatoes, blue, red, yellow, purple. 
Took forever to pick enough cherry tomatoes to fill all my prepaid orders in Superior. Sorry Globe, there aren't any left!  Maybe next week. They are just really slow to ripen this year. 
Lots of kale and some chard this week. I didn't take a picture today but I picked about 80 pounds of squash.   

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cherry Tomatoes

This years cherry tomatoes are off to a slow start but have begun trickling in. This is Gold Rush. 

Black Cherry
 Principe Borhgesi
Snow White
 Chocolate Pear
Blue Cream
Red Currant

I'm still waiting for the first ripe Yellow Pear. 


Gosling hatched 6-19-17
I just uploaded an app that allows me to make blog posts from my phone. So maybe now I'll post more often. 

Look at that baby!  A little Toulouse gosling hatched yesterday. A friend asked me to hatch some eggs for her. Only one was viable. Hatching geese in an incubator is more complicated than duck or chicken eggs so I was holding my breath that it would make it. I'm so glad it did. 

When I realized only one egg was developing I added 3 duck eggs to keep it company. They should hatch next weekend so it won't be alone for long. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Farmer Friday

Princepe Borghesi
The cherry tomatoes are beginning to trickle in. The plants are loaded with green fruit but they are taking their own sweet time getting ripe. I think perhaps the fact that our night temperatures cooled off a bit the past couple of weeks has something to do with that.

Elephant Garlic
Elephant garlic is botanically a leek. But it looks and tastes just like a giant garlic. I cleared out an empty bed where some volunteered from a previous crop. A couple of them truly were the biggest I have ever seen, weighing over a pound each. These big plants had a little more space than I normally plant them in, so this fall I will plant my starts as much as 12 inches apart to see if I can grow them all that big. Altogether I pulled 26 pounds of Elephant garlic.

Zinnias and Marigolds
I try to plant different kinds of flowers around the gardens to feed bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, ladybugs and other helpful creatures. I also sell small bouquets at our farmers market.

interesting lizard
 I have a lot of lizards. I don't know all the kinds but have been noticing some pretty colorful ones lately. This picture isn't so good but this guy had a lot of orange on him
Black Tail Mountain Watermelon
While I did trap and relocate one of the squirrels that has been stealing all the green tomatoes, now there is one stealing all the cantaloupes and even eating the vines, So far tho it's left the watermelons alone.

a variety of squash
Last weeks haul of squash was 125 pounds, this week more like 36. Keeping them picked at small sizes helps keep the plants producing.

Image may contain: plant and food
Black from Tula, a heritage Russian tomato
FINALLY a big tomato! Black from Tula. Was totally delicious!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Avocados at 3300 feet?

Seedling Avocados
For me gardening is an adventure and a constant experiment. For example avocados are not supposed to grow here. But with warmer winter temperatures it might become possible.

When I read about the Arivipa avocado I thought what the heck. The Arivipa avocado is an avocado tree on a ranch in Arivipa, Arizona. The tree is about 150 years old and about 50 feet high and wide. It withstands temperatures of over 110 F in the summer and down to 10 F in the winter. I _can_ go buy an Arivipa avocado, but really don't have the funds right now.

So last year I planted 3 avocado seeds in an old chest freezer come planter on my patio. This is the warmest winter spot I have. The seeds sprouted right up and were off to a good start. Then BAM! some rodent came and clipped them all off just above the soil line. I figured oh well so much for that idea. I had some flowers in that planter so continued to water it. Lo and behold they came back. So far so good. the BAM! the rodents struck again! I figured they were goners for sure, especially with winter coming.

We had an unusually mild winter, it barely froze most nights and sometimes didn't get below 38 F. We also got a fair amount of rain. Basically I ignored the planter box, thinking they were dead. Then a couple of months ago I happened to glance over there and noticed some pretty big leaves. All three seedlings made it and are growing very well. I'm just watering them about once a week since they are in a small chest freezer they have a good amount of soil for the time being. I'll probably drop a little chicken manure and worm castings in there when I have a minute.

They may never fruit. They may fruit and taste nasty. Or they may be awesome Only time will tell. So I encourage everyone to take chances and experiment with whatever strikes your fancy. Maybe you will have an avocado growing at 3300 feet.