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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mulberries Are Awesome

When I was a teenager, my parents had a yard with a fruitless mulberry tree in the backyard.  My boyfriend's parents had one in the front yard. I assume people buy fruitless trees because they don't want rotten fruit dropping off and ruining their nice cars or whatever.

But I think of all the years I missed out on the wonderful taste of real mulberries. My neighbor has both red and white mulberries ripening right now and they are amazing. The white ones are not so pretty but really yummy. They taste like honeysuckles. The red ones turn black when they are ripe. They are a bit more tart but also yummy. My neighbor said the birds get most of them, and it keeps the birds away from her other fruit trees.  If we had a ladder we could pick enough to make jam. But I'm perfectly happy just eating them one by one.

Orchestrating a Garden

While planting seeds today I suddenly realized that it's like an orchestra. Even if I plant a bunch of different things all on the same morning, they will each play their individual notes when it is their turn to join in; whether its a month or a year.

I also figured out a way to make free durable plant tags. I had a pile of empty potting soil bags. By cutting the white bags into strips I was able to write the names and dates planted on each tag with a permanent marker and tie them to the fence or a stake.

Today I planted dill, more sunflowers and big max pumpkins on the west fence behind the bathroom window, so I have something beautiful to look at. I planted the pumpkins far far from the gourds so they won't cross pollinate. Which reminds me; I think the cucumbers will also cross pollinate, so I guess I can't put them where I'd originally planned to, since there are already gourds there. This is the first time in 20 years that I've had a big enough yard to grow pumpkins.  I grew gourds one time in Anaheim and the little suckers buried my patio with their sprawling vines.

In the front yard I planted Kentucky Pole Beans, rudebekia, and statice. I saved a spot for morning glories, but I keep forgetting to soak them overnight. The other beans are also supposed to be soaked, so I'll do that tonight too.

Yesterday I replaced the pepper plant that got eaten, bringing the total back up to two pepper plants. This morning the first one I planted had been eaten in half! ACK! So now the new one and what is left of the original one have soda bottles over them to protect them. My best guess is grasshoppers. They are suddenly everywhere. And since this is an organic garden, there is only so much I can do. Thankfully they don't seem to like tomato plants.

I have a volunteer in the front yard that looks like a sunflower. I'll leave it be and see how that goes. When we moved here there was a devil's claw plant by the back fence. So I started watering that spot hoping more will grow as they have interesting seed pods that are useful to artists.

The native plant by the mailbox is covered in dainty yellow flowers as well. And the creosote bushes are covered in yellow flowers and bees galore. The air is buzzing so loud I can hear it indoors.

I have more to plant, but its getting hot and I need breakfast and it's already 10 AM. 

Creosote in bloom.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Better Boy Tomatoes Planted

Today I took the big tub we repurposed from the old washing machine and used it to plant Better Boy tomatoes in. I filled it with about 6” of gravel for drainage, and then mixed 2 bags of potting soil and sand together leaving plenty of space at the top to hold water for the tomatoes. I made sure I placed it where I wanted it first because it is going to be way too heavy to move. Previous tenants had horses, so the whole yard is pretty much full of decomposed manure which should help the garden immensely.
I can hear the baby birds that have hatched over the light fixture on my porch. 

The lizards have also come out to play. These are bigger lizards than the ones I’ve seen here so far. But they are so fast I’ve yet to get a photo.

In front of the porch, I pulled out a bedding plant that was killed by the frost and replaced it with a yellow pear tomato. I visualize sitting on the porch in late summer munching on tiny yellow tomatoes.
I refilled the hummingbird feeder. And I ordered the hummingbird feeding tubes from Ebay yesterday so I can make my own feeders from soda bottles. I got some red silk flowers at the Dollar Tree to put on the end of the glass tubes to make them prettier and to attract hummingbirds. I need to finish the hummingbird feeder so it is ready for the tubes when they get here.

When I was watering the pepper plants, one looked funny. Its been in the ground one day and something ate the top half of it off. Meh. 

Gardening requires a lot of faith. Sometimes I succeed beyond my wildest dreams. Other times it is a fail, but almost always I come out way ahead overall. 

First successful seedlings at my new home.

Sunflower Seedlings

Friday, April 26, 2013

Seeds and More

My boyfriend got the gardening bug (for now anyway) and bought us some more seeds and 2 Anaheim pepper plants. So I planted the two plants in the pot in the front where the ranunculus bulbs failed to sprout. I was sure tired of watering them, and when I dug around in there I couldn't even find any bulbs. So they either disintegrated or something ate them. In the other pot I planted beet seeds and moss rose seeds, which are teeny tiny.

I've given up on raised beds this year. We just don't have the money and everything needs to be planted NOW. The seasons don't wait for procrastinators. That also means if it freezes again in May, we'll lose it all. But I waited as long as I dared to get a full growing season. I see I need a greenhouse, even if I just jerry rig one together. All my succulents died over the winter. Even the ones I brought up from Anaheim. And I love succulents, so something must be done. The swap meet in Huntington Beach has a great inexpensive collection of succulents, so next time we are down there I'll stock up.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Planting Time In Lucerne Valley

Its time to plant and the only thing keeping me from going overboard is a lack of money. It's not that I can't afford plants, because plants and seeds are relatively cheap. What's holding me back is I'd need a truckload of potting mix and garden amendments to counteract the sandy soil. And I need lots and lots of wood to make raised beds. So I'm putting a lid on my frustrations and appeasing my spirit by doing what I can on a shoestring budget.

Meaning today I planted 3 different kinds of gourds, and I used a bag of potting mix I got at the dollar store to top dress them so they can at least hold enough moisture to sprout.  I also got  four tomato plants, but I'll need more potting mix to make those happy.

And so I don't forget what I put where, I'm making notes.

I put snake gourds in the zen garden behind the sunflowers and to the right of the sunflowers on the fence. The dark potting soil helps me to keep track of where they are. I put bottle gourds in the back corner of the Zen garden.

Then in the front yard I put baby bottle gourds to the left of the mailbox fence, and snake gourds on the fence by the front yard gate.

The sunflowers I planted last week in 2 patches have all sprouted. I was closely studying the patch in the front yard when I realized the dead branch next to the last seedling was a juvenile gopher snake. He was maybe two feet long.

I'm dying to get some roses after my neighbor showed me hers. She said they are hardy and don't need frost protection in the winter, so put me down for that. I totally miss my Anaheim roses.

So the sunflowers are my first official sprouted seeds that I planted at my new home. 

I also got some morning glory seeds, but the package said to nick the seeds and soak them for 24 hours, so they didn't get planted today.

My front yard came with a joshua tree I dubbed Zerlina.

A visit by Reggie the Roadrunner

The view from my front yard