11/9/16 – Day 62

Starting to look good!

img_7920

I’ve given almost 25 Jalapenos away to my classmates, from that big bush above.  It’s a 3rd generation, which means its survived 3 years in Phoenix.  Peppers are a great plant for the southwest.

Pumpkins… Will they grow?

This is my 2nd time trying these out.  If you notice from the first picture, my yard doesn’t have a lot of shade.  The sun murdered these when I planted in June.  So I planted again over Labor Day weekend this year, and 62 days later, they are huge and leafy and are flowering.  But Halloween has come and go.

Some new additions

Let’s see if this tomato plant does well (left).  Some flowers and a flower bed planted against the house.

Mint and basil doing great (top left).  Broccoli starting to take root, and I know it’ll be a giant.  (top middle).  My one potato plant that has sprouted (top right).

Carrots and spinach are starting to pop up everywhere finally.  62 days later I was getting a little worried…  Don’t sweat it, just keep planting until it hits 100 degrees again.  There is also a squash plant (bottom right) that should take over the garden if everything goes well.

Cucumbers are coming along splendidly!  Both left and middle.  If you look close, there are 2 tiny cucumbers sprouting already!  The cucumbers love the lattice I have put up, and are wrapping themselves around it.

A lone hollyhock grows among a vine of rosemary.

Keep checking back for updates!

 

Advertisements

October 23 – Day 45

10/23/2016

Just in case anyone reads this, how the f*ck do I get rid of ants in my garden?!  I have tried every liquid ant trap I have found.  They are up and down my jalapeno plant.  Anyways…

I remember saying something about the weather finally cooling down?  Let me tell you about the last 3 weeks… 97 degrees flat.  Almost every day, give or take a 2 degree variance.  It’s so hot.  The plants are all doing seemingly well though.  Even a couple of the new additions, a birds of paradise (they do exceptionally well in AZ) and a hibiscus (those things are good eye candy).  I just hooked on line hooks to my drip system, dug some new holes and got some good soil and mulch.  Hibiscus LOVE mulch, and coffee grounds or so I was told.  So I mixed the two together, and its been happy ever since.  Same for the Birds of Paradise (far right).  Tis the season.

So what’s been new?  I picked some produce today!  The fun part of gardening.  The reward.  Just some jalapenos that I am going to give to some classmates.  I swear there are 45 more peppers just on this one plant.

Avocado tree experiment that mostly everyone else has done so far!  But I have not, so alas, here we go.  You know, the one that looks like this on Pinterest.

5d7bb4a012f1d6addee34d660e76d9a9image4

My version is better, obviously.

Basil has finally been starting to sprout, after 3 weeks of excessive heat.  Plant it outdoors, it will do fine.  My indoor experiments have all met their makers.  I don’t have good enough lighting on the inside to properly grow a plant.  Everything grows long and falls over from being top heavy.

I picked MORE rosemary.  She’s a giver.  The plant is still huge.

So that leaves…

Cucumbers – Albeit the aphids, the plants are doing well.  They are getting huge!  I need a newer and higher lattice.  This is the first time I’ve tried cucumbers so bear with me.  They are flowering beautiful yellow flowers so they must be pollinating.  I’m excited about their progress.

Carrots – There might be ONE carrot sprouting in the garden right now.  It is sad.  I know they will come, and in abundance.  But right now, just the meager one.  However, bucket of carrots is doing fantastic.  Nothing special to see, it’s all on the inside that counts!  😉

image3

Spinach – Yes!  Spinach.  It has begun!  I believe… I forget what the plant looks like when it first sprouts but I believe it looks something like this.  A very bountiful plant once blooming, it keeps producing and you must keep trimming off the leaves to prevent it from souring.

Squash – All dead.  They sprouted, they got eaten (I think), they died.  The leaves all turned yellow and mostly vanished from bugs.  I will keep trying, mark my words.  This is trial and many many errors!

Pumpkins – Ok I really have NO IDEA how these are going to turn out.  I see pumpkins all over the grocery store.  As I’ve posted in earlier posts, I tried pumpkins in June, but I had no shade whatsoever, and they all died from the 1000 degree 2 months of hell we had.  I planted more about 45 days ago, and they are looking pretty cool, but just no fruit blooming.  Just small vines.  I’m still impressed, and I like them.  I am down to 4 plants, which only 3 are doing well.  That’s starting from 16…

Mint and Basil – store bought.  Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone.  I transplanted these from Lowe’s, as I sometimes do with plants because… they cost $3 and look fantastic.  I have other basil from the seed sprouting but nothing fun to speak of so just these two.  I planted the mint, because I read that it was a deterrent for aphids.  I really haven’t been able to tell, and I’ve seen a couple aphids on the plant itself.  But they are thriving.

image2-2

Broccoli – Don’t forget about broccoli!  I had a HUGE plant last year, it was like a tree.  I love this plant in Arizona.  It blooms with beautiful yellow tiny flowers, and a bouquet of broccoli for a side dish.  I understand it’s been 45 days, but they have FINALLY sprouted.  Keep confidence in your garden, it will happen.  Just take comfort in the fact that I have absolutely no clue what I am doing, and it is working out for me so far.

image5

October 2 – Day 24

10/2/2016

3 weeks out and the weather is finally getting nice out!  I planted the garden last month on Labor Day Weekend, and here are my updates so far.

I’ve added 2 new areas for growth.  Basil, will be grown indoors in the green pot, and outdoors in the other 2 pots down below.  I can’t believe I don’t have basil yet!  The photo on the right has been prepped for potato planting, which is pretty simple.  We’re in the middle of the process of prepping the potatoes for it.  Also, there will be garlic.

The potatoes are being exposed to light and temps between 60-70 degrees to encourage sprouting.  We will plant them soon.  Garlic will sprout eventually, we bought organic elephant garlic that has not been treated with an anti growth hormone.

Our rosemary giant.  This thing THRIVES in Phoenix.  I believe it is blue rosemary.  We are constantly chopping off stems and drying them, and keeping the petals in mason jars.

image21

Jalapenos – They are really coming along now!  We have about 30 flowers and 5 baby jalapenos.  We cut and used one for a recipe and it was hot!  Jalapenos can be hot if the plant is stressed, and believe me, we are stressing it!

Cucumbers – The only plants not getting dominated by aphids right now.  I have been spraying the plants with a little soapy water every now and then to discourage them.  Not much growth in the last couple weeks, but the leaves look great and the plants look happy.

image7

Carrots – I have had 1 sprout in the garden, and about 15 sprout in a separate bucket I am using to garden with.  This is the first year I am trying out a bucket for carrots, as the bucket is wide and very deep.  The sprouts start out so tiny, and as they grow we will weed them out to keep a couple.

image22

Spinach – Nothing has sprouted.  Not to worry though.

Squash – I’m not sure how I am feeling about this squash.  It has been hot and not very wet up until Sunday when it poured all day.  The plants look a bit yellow and honestly aren’t doing so well.  I read that even though squash is hardy, they need up to 2 inches of water a week, which we’ve been short on.  I will try to water more consistently.  The aphids have been owning these ones.

image8

Pumpkins – I’d love to say we’re going to have pumpkins this year, but the aphids have been terrible and chew up the leaves when they grow, stunting the entire growth of the plant.  We are down to 6 plants, with 2 really not doing so well.  I am proud of just one of them.  Hopefully they will start to grow faster, as I know I planted very late in the season.  We will see!  Such is the thrill of trial and error.

image6

Beans – No beans!  Try again soon.

I’m pumped the weather is much nicer now and hopefully this will encourage a lot of sprouting and growth.  I’m excited for the additions of potatoes and garlic to the garden, as this will be a first for me growing these.  Keep checking back for updates!

 

 

Beginning anew

9/20/2016

We planted our garden for the winter on Labor Day weekend, September 7.  It’s been a mild September so far, which is really good because the plants don’t immediately die after sprouting!  So far the checklist of plants we have are…

Raised bed

Jalapenos – huge bush now, was planted last April.  It’s proximity to my lawns sprinklers might be its saving grace each summer.

Cucumbers – far right against the small lattice, we hope the cucumbers will travel upwards on it like a vine.  Last year, none of the cucumbers survived.  This year, they are doing really well!  They are the only ones not getting eaten alive by whatever bugs ail our garden.  The pumpkins are missing entire leaves, that seem to disappear during the night.

Carrots – Nothing has sprouted yet, but not to worry.  Last year we planted them and forgot and they didn’t actually start sprouting until well into October.

Spinach – Same as the above carrots, nothing sprouted yet.  Check back for updates every 2 weeks.

Squash – Squash is in the far left, apparently out of the picture.  It is sprouting just like the cucumbers, except the leaves are getting eaten just like the pumpkins.  There are 3 plants sprouting and we will most likely keep 2 of them, as the plants get huge.

Outside of the raised bed, in the backyard we planted

Pumpkins – The pumpkins are popping up pretty quickly.  We planted about 16 seeds, and 10 have sprouted.  At this point I believe 2 have died from heat and a pretty big storm we had.  I hope they grow faster we planted them pretty late in the season, but we tried earlier and they died as well.  Pumpkins need shade, and that’s not what I have a lot of.

Beans – We planted beans near another trellis and they have not sprouted.  We soaked them in a plastic bag overnight, and then planted them the next day.  I’m pretty sure they are dead.  I want to try my 2 plates and a paper towel method instead.  I will replant in October to see what happens.

 

There are also a couple bulbs we had from last year.  There are Dahlias in a planter that were AWESOME but died immediately when it hit 100 degrees out.  I know they are annuals so I have kept them dead in the planter all season long as an expirement to see if they actually grow back.  I’d love to not spend money on those.  And if they do, they will go in the yard!

Keep checking for updates.

 

Last year, learn from our mistakes.

Build it, and they will grow.  I’ve had mild success growing plants indoors, but what I really have wanted to do is grow some crops!  Nothing too major, but edible plants in a garden I can build.

First off, I learned you’ll need to know the growing season for your climate.  A brief overview of what to plant when is available at (gardeningarizona.com).  This might have been tho only research I did, because my first turnout was a nightmare!  I looked up quite a few building plans for a raised bed garden.  I wanted something medium in size, because I had an abundance of space in my backyard.  I chose this garden from back yard projects   The site tells you all about the kind of wood to use, etc.  I picked all the weeds under and around the garden frame, filled the middle with cardboard so weeds couldn’t sprout up, and filled it with soil.  I added my own drip system set up to my main water line and voila.

Find what you’re missing at the patio, lawn and garden section on Amazon.

12036940_10105521225751231_3958872567076334695_n

This being one of my first time building a raised bed garden, it was a little rough on the edges, but overall it did the trick!  Growing up on the east coast, I was convinced that we were supposed to sprout the seeds inside in July or August, and transplant in September or October when the weather got nicer.  MISTAKE!  Plants will grow very wiry inside, tall and top heavy, they weight of the leaves will cause the plant to fall over.  Another reason not to do this in Phoenix, is the plants are used to the temperatures indoors, and you are transplanting them into 100+ degrees with full sun… ie they do not do well.

the second batch was planted mid September after all the first ones died, and spread around in no apparent order.  This included The Jalapeno plant you see above, carrots, spinach, broccoli, onions, and eventually strawberries.  I know this sounds crazy, but these plants did AWESOME!

 

My personal favorites so far are, spinach and carrots.

(spinach seeds)

(Carrot seeds)

They grow so easily.  The spinach, if watered correctly, will keep growing every time you cut the leaves off, it just keeps on producing again and again!  Carrots are just plain fun to pick out of the ground.  I didn’t really weed anything away from eachother, and sometimes ended up with MONSTER CARROT!  Or 5 carrots sharing one root.

Strawberries did not do so well.  Every time they bloomed they would quickly be eaten by birds, or ants, or (hopefully me).  I read the plant was supposed to get bigger as it was generational but strawberries do and will die in the heat of the summer.

In fact, this last summer was so hot, 115+ from June until August almost every day, that everything I planted died.  Except for this one awesome Jalapeno plant.

14225587_10106709569420991_4887613664374910145_n

This Jalapeno plant has about 20 Jalapenos on it that will be ready to pick next week!  This is the beginning of what I call my 2nd year gardening, and since planting season just started, I will share my experience with you guys.  I am looking for your stories if they are similar or different to mine, your experiences, what has and hasn’t worked for you etc.  Please feel free to comment or send me a message!

This ties into the next post, planting season.