Welcome to my Gardening Blog.

In October of 2012 I moved from Anaheim CA to the Mojave Desert. So the older posts will reflect my gardening before the move, and my newer ones are after the move. Now that I have a huge yard and sandy soil (the opposite of what I had in Anaheim), I have to learn how to adapt.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Dear Tree I loved You So Much

Why did the landlord wait until after 8 PM on a Friday night to call and say he will be here w/ gardeners to remove the tree in the backyard? The only tree that we have that shades the house, provides privacy and shields us from the noise the neighbor's kids make all day long? The tree that holds all my hanging plants, windchimes and the birdhouse? The tree that has had numerous hummingbird nests in it.

I think I'm going to be sick. Then he hinted that he'd be more than happy to let his gardeners clear the rest of my backyard.  The gardeners that only did that once before and buzzed the trailing geraniums so close to the ground that they were all dead in 2 weeks.

Oh yeah, now I remember why I hate renting. I love how the landlord didn't even ask us how we feel about the tree. He said neighbors have been complaining.  Evidently they just see a tree as leaves to rake. This is a perfectly healthy tree. It's only crime is that the people that sit under it's shade think it's a nuisance. It was one of the very few redeeming qualities of living in this location.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day and I'm Weeding

Since my last update, all my tomatoes have died. It even killed the two or three plants that were two years old. So I'm thinking where did the virus come from? I didn't have it two years ago or last year. Did I bring it in with some of the plants from the nursery in their potting soil?

Today I gave my neighbors some lemon cupcakes and they gave me 3 beautiful tomatoes. I told them my dilemma and they said spray the plants and soil with a mixture of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water.  Please note I haven't tried this yet. I have no plants left alive to try it on.

Even my sunflowers were wimpy compared to the glorious ones I've grown in the past.They are already going to seed and are about half as big in diameter as the previous ones.

Maybe my soil has lost all its umph.  Anyway, I did an hour of weeding today.  I'm glad I stopped after an hour because I'm sore already and my hands are almost too tired to type.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Mysterious Stranger

As if my poor garden hasn't had enough weird issues this year, last night we had a prowler of the four legged variety. My boyfriend caught the possum red handed wedged into my metal trellis. At least it posed under the light so I could get some good photos before it knocked over the trellis. Then it tried to climb up the sunflower stalks and broke one of those. It's been coming around for a couple of weeks now. I can hear it crunching on the dead leaves outside of my window.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


After I pulled some radishes and saw they were quite the boring white and green, I trimmed off the leaves and tossed them in the fridge.

Then a few days later when I cut one open I had quite the surprise. The middle is a beautiful purplish red color like a starburst. I haven't taken a photo of the inside yet but I will.

Fusarium WIlt

My tomatoes have been unhappy. After some glorious progress they are just withering away to nothing. I suspected fusarium wilt, and after reading about it on the Internet, it seems it's a fungus in the soil and the fix is to not plant tomatoes, peppers or potatoes in those spots for 4 or 5 years. It's one of the problems with Heirloom tomatoes, but even with modern disease resistant tomatoes, new strains of fusarium wilt may attack those plants as well. Or I can just plant them and hope for the best. We have way more tomatoes than we can eat as it is, and we are still getting plenty ripening. It just makes me sad that the plants are not thriving.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sunflower Seeds

I'm really excited because many of my sunflower and marigold seeds have sprouted. I'm so glad I bought new sunflower seeds. Looks like I got a good batch this time. Now if I can just fend the snails and birds off until the seedlings get strong enough to survive.

I have a bunch of almost ripe tomatoes to pick too. I dug up the deader plant after harvesting it's last 2 fruits. I'm going to let the ground rest a bit before putting another plant in that spot. We also swept up a lot of debris today so it's more fun to be out there. The hummingbird is busy and eating out of my feeder again. She got a bit agitated when my cat was sitting in the window.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Planting flowers

I've been working on my garden every day. I had moved the hummingbird feeder and was happy to see a hummingbird drinking from it this morning.

I got marigold, cilantro and nasturtium seeds planted all around my tomatoes. The marigolds I planted last week have already come up as well. It's going to be nice to have more flowers in the garden as well as their benefits at repelling insects.

In my green planter the radishes have been getting chewed on by something.  I planted some nasturtiums and beets in the blank areas where the radishes either didn't sprout or got eaten by bugs.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Nettles, Nasturtiums and Snails.

Last night I took my neighbors a tomato, and they were so pleased they invited me out back to see their urban garden. They had made excellent use of every available spot. Their tomatoes are just starting to fruit so they were happy to get a ripe one from me. Their garden was so tidy and lovely, not at all like my jungle, even though our yard layouts are identical. When I mentioned my problems with snails, they told me in a rather confusing discussion in broken English and Romanian that they use nettle spray to repel the snails.  They get the nettles from a park, boil it in water to make a soup, then spray it on the plants.
While researching that on the Internet, I came across this site on companion planting. While it didn't say much on the nettle thing, the bit about nasturtiums has me inspired to plant nasturtiums all around my tomatoes. I had nasturtiums all around them before from volunteer seedlings, but they got dug up with the weeds and grass we had to discard to plant the new tomato sets. I have a few left in the other flower bed, and the hummingbirds have been feeding from them. I want to make some nasturtium salad too. I keep reading that you can eat them but I never remember to try it.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Moving the Plants

This morning before it got hot I dug up some more jasmine roots and smoothed out the surface. Then I moved my white shelving unit over to the wall to put all my cacti and succulents on. It also has the terrarium and the spider plants on it. I just hope they don't fry. Before they were under the upstairs patio so they never got direct sun, but my boyfriend didn't want the shelf in the old spot anymore so I picked the best spot I could. It took me a long time to get all the leaves out of the succulents. I was being careful with the cactus and still managed to poke my thumb with some spines. The vines killed some of the succulents and the snails killed others so it's a pretty sad lot that I have left. I just hope they start doing better now that I've moved them to another spot.

Friday, June 04, 2010

New Tomato Plants

I planted tomatoes this morning. I got them at Lowe's. I planted 2 yellow pear tomatoes, a black variety called Black Krim, and a yellow small tomato called Sungold. I also planted Mammoth Sunflowers along the back wall.
Cilantro blooming.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tomatoes Are Getting Ripe

Bit by bit the tomatoes are getting ripe. We had one in a salad and it's so much tastier than store bought. 
And the snails haven't found the radishes yet. Hopefully they don't like radishes.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bye Bye Jasmine Vine

Yesterday I girded my loins and tackled the root of that jasmine vine. I soaked it a good 20 minutes and then took a clipper and shovel to what was left of it. I got a good bit of it cleared away and filled  3/4 of the dumpster with vines and branches. I'm still not done with the big clean up but at least now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

There was a ripe tomato with a little slug fest going on, so I cut off the bad part and put the rest in a salad and it tasted great. No point wasting a good tomato just because a bug got there first.

Tomato Vine

Cilantro / Coriander

I reseeded the cilantro. As you can see in the photos, it's at the end of it's lifespan. 
The radishes are getting bigger. So far so good. I'm still tossing out a lot of snails, trying to race them to my prime plants. I'm also seeing a lot of earthworms, which is a good thing. I just wish I had a compost pile. Stupid tiny yards...mutter, mutter, mutter. I need a quarter of an acre.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Monster of a Tomato Plant

Yesterday I was amazed to see all the tomatoes on the plant that survived from last summer's garden. I had to cut an old t-shirt into strips and lift all the tomatoes off the ground so the snails don't get them. Then I did some weeding around them. There must be 20 tomatoes on there, all green at the moment. And I already picked 4 green ones last week because they were sitting on the ground. I have 3 tomato cages and some stakes holding one plant, it's such a monster.

My cilantro/coriander is about spent, so  reseeded the pot in the blank spots to get another crop going.

I also planted some radishes in the pot where the basil was. It never sprouted nor did any weeds, so I'm suspecting cats! If the radishes don't sprout, then nothing will and I'll have to dump the whole pot and start over.

I got up this morning and saw some fluffy baby sparrows sitting on the brick wall and then I saw the mother bird feeding them, though they are as big as she is. By the time I got my camera they were gone. I only got one blurry photo.

Then while I was waiting I continued the dreary job of removing the jasmine. My hands are really tired from pruning right now but I finally got the top detached from the neighbor's side of the jasmine. It all started in my yard, and now it's theirs. There is still a lot of clean-up to do and digging out the original roots. Ugh. That will have to wait for another day.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Roses Are Back

I'm so excited that my roses are covered with buds. It was supposed to rain today too but it hardly rained at all. I spent more time getting the garden ready for the rain, then the amount of time it actually rained.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Yay, our cilantro is sprouting. I'd about given up. I put it in a clay pot sunk into the soil and put plastic wrap over it to keep it moist. It was sprouting like crazy when I checked it this afternoon.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Odd Snail Factoid

Today I needed to spray a little wooden sign outdoors so I set the sign on a metal can that still had a paper label. I was spraying the 2nd coat when I noticed a snail clinging to the side of the can. I swear it wasn't there when I set the can down earlier. And right under the snail, in the shape of the part clinging to the can the label had been eaten away. There were 2 other holes in the paper the same size. I thought that was so odd that the snail ate the paper. My boyfriend said, "Why not? The paper is cellulose."
By the way, the polyurethane was dissolving the snail's body. Ewww. Little bubbles were coming out.