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.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


I know I've been AWOL for a  bit. Lots of things happening in my life right now. Some issues of the computer not recognizing that there really are picture on the phone to download. And my phone is old so the battery runs out real quick when I'm trying to do thing on it. As you know I root knot nematodes in several garden beds. I bought some things to help with that and will be adding a  page to the blog about organic controls showing the experiments I'm doing. In the meantime I'm not sure if these sunflowers have a nematode issue or if they just need more nutrients. I think it may be a little of both.

You can tell a lot about a plants nutritional status by looking at it's leaves. This sunflower leaf is very pale green so it probably needs some more nitrogen. The yellowing and die back at the edge of the leaf says it needs potash. I know that nitrogen and potash are both low in my soil and some other nutrients may be present but may not be available to the plant because of the high pH (usually 8-9. If you don't know what pH is you can check this article What is pH?)  The Royal Horticultural Society has a nice article with photographs of nutrient deficiencies here. The University of Arizona Extension Office has a good chart here but they don't include pictures and they don't offer organic solutions.

Plants often start out doing very well in the spring and early summer, only to run out of steam part way through the season. There can be many causes, having to water a lot because we are so hot and dry can leach nutrients out of the root zone, our high soil pH can tie up some minerals and make them unavailable to plants. Plants need more of some nutrients at different points in their life cycles. I have been watching some great videos from Dan Kitteredge and the Bionutrient Food Association about how the biology in the soil works and how it feeds the plants. I'll be working hard to improve my soil and foster the correct biology so that in the future there won't be any deficiencies.

In the meantime I've bought some Neem Cake fertilizer. They press an oil from the neem seeds and use it for controlling nematodes and other things. The material that is left is used as a fertilizer and also to help control nematodes. So I'm adding it, along with SulPoMag (sulphate of potash magnesia) which is a mined material to add potash. Crab shell meal is also supposed to help suppress nematodes. All of theses materials are going into beds before replanting. If the bed showed evidence of nematodes I'm planting cole crops like kale, cauliflower and broccoli as they are not usually bothered by nematodes. If there was no evidence of nematodes in the previous crop that's where I'm planting more susceptible things like beets and lettuce.

 One of our little Nankin pullets disappeared without a trace awhile back. I found a young pair to keep her company. They are still in quarantine but will soon be joining her. Hopefully they will hatch some chicks this fall.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Farmer Friday 8/31/18

Besides watering some stuff and the usual chores and run to Superior about the only other constructive thing today was bagging some sunflower heads for seed. This week has wiped me out.  So glad to be done. Good night world. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Thursday 8/30/18

Hard to believe it's almost September. Took sis to the dentist in Mesa. We treated ourselves to lunch since we didn't get to on our birthdays in April. 

Had extra time after lunch so we went to Bookmans, a used book store. I found some good titles. Then a long wait at the dental school. I think I read almost half of Seeds of Change before it was time to come home. 

I didn't get a pic but the dogs had a cat treed all day. So I finally brought all the dogs inthe house. Poor cat had managed to get its waist stuck in a fork in the tree and couldn't seem to get out. So I got the ladder and got down and took it outside the fence. I doubt it will come back after that! Whew. It's been a long week!  Time for bed, good night world 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wednesday 8/29/18

So today was very frustrating. Drove 100+ miles to an organic supplier and they didn't stick the neem cake fertilizer that I went to buy in the store. Wanted to ship it to me. No. Just no. Then when I ask about the root knot nematodes the lady says I should just replace the soil!!!!! 

I think I know more about what to do about it than she did!  The University of North Carolina has some good info on them and I will be following some of their recommendations. In the meantime I did buy one of the soil drenches to use right away. Stay tuned. This issue will probably generate a whole new page here with what I try and how things work out. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tuesday 8/28/18

After morning chores I attended a project presentation for an indoor farm. Part of the proposal is to not only provide fresh food to the community but also opportunities for sustainable agriculture classes in our schools.  It was interesting and I could see some good possibilities. 

After the presentation I got new tires on the van. During evening chores I checked out more dieing tomato plants. Yep more nematodes. The interesting thing was the plants in the middle of that bed seem to be doing fairly good. At least they are still green and growing. I don't know if those plants are resistant or if the nematodes just haven't made it to that area yet. 

Well a long day today. Off to Tucson tomorrow to get a remedy for the nematodes. Good night world. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Monday 8/27/18

I have fussed with this tire all weekend. The last nut was cross threaded and the bolt is shot. As I woke up this morning it occurred to me to get out my ratchet set and a cheater pipe because the nut wasn't moving any more at all. That worked. Have an appointment tomorrow to get new tires. 

The driveway is getting overgrown. Besides I need to run a fence along here. 

Trimmed up pretty good. Got out the 100' tape and marked for the posts. 

Today's tea flavor, lemon balm and peppermint. 

Logic brain: no. You didn't. 
Chicken lady brain: yes I did!
Logic brain: why???? Isn't 100+ enough already?????
Chicken lady brain: but I didn't get enough chicks from certain pairs and no chicks at all from others!
Logic brain: bbbbbut but but
Chickenlady brain: besides there won't be 100 when I'm done culling!

Well dang. The Trombonccino got broke off in the wind. It's about 2 1/2 feet long and weighed almost six pounds. Still edible like zucchini at this stage but firmer. 

Bird house gourds on a fence. I can't get over how soft and fuzzy the leaves are. 
Regular chores done. A trip to see mom, though she was pretty out there today. And now bed time. Goodnight world. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

8/25-26/18 Sat & Sun

Had a good day at market. My daughter brought up a lot of baked goods. 

The van had a flat so I had to switch to the truck Sat morning for Market so I didn't have time to pick any flowers or herbs. And when I went to change the tire later one of the nuts seems to be cross threaded and I can't get it loose. Besides that looks like the back tires are bald so probably going to have to get new ones. #alwaysonemorething

Think I better trim up the fence line

Better I think. 

Over here too. 

Getting there. I feed the red root pigweed, an amaranth, to the chickens.  That's the tall dark green ones on the right. The grey green ones with purple flowers are horse nettle. Full of invisible stickers and poisonous. In the Solanacea family, related to potatoes and tomatoes. 

Boy this garden space is not doing good at all. I really don't think the rampant Morning glories are to blame, either. 

Nope. Root knot nematodes are the culprits. See all those knots or galls on the roots?  That's caused by the microscopic nematodes piercing the roots to suck the juice out. The plants wilt a lot in the heat because they can't get enough water with their damaged root systems.   So a snap decision. I need more space for some young cockerels any way. I will take down the trellises and put up some sturdy chainlink panels and use this for a chicken space for awhile. That way I can concentrate on getting rid of the nematodes in other areas and then work on this space later. 

Part way done. I got most of the posts and trellis wire out in the evening but the phone battery was dead. Will have to get a pic in the morning. And now it's past bedtime. Good night world 

Friday, August 24, 2018

8/24/18 Farmer Friday

Picked and washed greens. Picked some flowers and herbs for my Superior folks.  No more tomatoes I don't think. They are either dead or dieing from the nematodes. I'll go on Monday to pick up some neem to help with that issue and see what else I can do about it. 
Sure putting a dent in things all the way around. 

Nematode damage on a cherry tomato plant.  See the lumps on the roots?  That's the sign. 

Coming back from Superior there was a big storm over Pinto Valley and rain on into Miami, even some at my house. Usual chores done. Dinner ate, dogs fed. Off to bed. Good night world. See you in the morning at the Globe-Miami Farmers Market. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

8/23/18 Thursday

I love the datura. Yes it's highly narcotic to the point of being poisonous and if you have stupid animals that will eat it or small children you might not want it around. I leave mine grow unless they are really in the way. Man friend thought I should "pull all those weeds out". I explained I like the big white flowers. I love how the plants grow into big bushes that help shade the soil and protect it from hard winds and rain. Many different kinds of insects come to feed on the flowers. I don't have to feed or water it and they come back year after year bigger and better than ever. When the chickens are out they will sometimes take a bite or two of the leaves but no more. It doesn't seem to hurt them any.  Man friend doesn't get it. Sigh. 

The only 6' high gates wider than 38" I could find were these adjustable size ones you have to put together. 

They are a lighter weight material than I would have liked.  Fixing stuff like this made it take longer than it should have. 

These 2 pics are of the same seedling of Golden Globe turnip. They seem to be having an iron or nitrogen deficiency issue so I poured some fish and seaweed liquid on them. The top pic is before and bottom one a few minutes later. They will probably need a couple of more feedings before they will stay a deep dark green. 

This rusted old scooter is getting a coat of paint. Then I'm going to put it on the fence as yard art. 

I cleaned up the driveway so I could back the truck up to dump off the bales of peatmoss I bought the other day. While moving pots this guy startled me. Might be the biggest scorpion I've ever seen.  I'm not sure which species it is but I know it's not a bark scorpion because they have very thin tails and this ones tail is really fat. I would guess it was close to 4" long sitting like this. 

Egg count today was quite dismal   Usually have 3Xs this many. Usual chores done. Went to see mom. She was a little cranky and out of sorts. It *almost* rained this evening. Time for bed. Good night world. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

8/22/18 Wednesday

So I got chores done and one gate set and then it started raining. Yay! .6" this morning. So I went back to mom's and spent the day mucking out my room there. There was still a lot of stuff on the shelves like glassware and things that were never opened, probably bought on clearance and saved for last minute gifts. 

A red sunflower and a happy bee. Regular chores done and some more drizzle this evening. I'm tired so off to bed. Good night world. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

8/21/18. Tuesday. Still no tacos

Remember the family business that burned down awhile back? One of the roses survived and started blooming. I noticed it Saturday which was the anniversary of my little brothers untimely passing. 

You can see there's not much left of the building. Things really do just want to grow!

The mizuna mustard is coming along well. 

Making steps up the hill so it will be easier to get to the new pen. 

I probably need one or two more but that's as much as I got done today. 

The old wheelbarrow which is perfectly good except the handles rotted out. I bought new ones because the bed and frame are still in good shape. Plus it's got a flat less tire.  BUT hugely frustrated because the carriage bolts are spinning in their holes and I can't get the nuts off. If worst comes to worst I'll cut them off and buy new but I don't want to!  Soaked them withWD40  and left them for the night. 

The usual stuff done. Feeding, watering, checking birds, visit mom, run to the store, feed dogs. I'm done. Good night world.