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I am having so much fun in my garden this year, more than ever before. Here in Phoenix, with our hot summers, summer gardens have to go in very early because not much will grow in the hottest months of July and August without a lot of shade cloth, water and work. Also, depending on when you decide to travel during the summer, it is best to get a garden in that will be harvested in Spring before you flee the heat of the summer for cooler climates.
So, In late January into early February, I decided to start planting crops that I can harvest by May. I didn't start anything indoors. I took advantage of having my green thumbed daughter Alicia here for a few days and I put good new soil in my garden beds and sowed my seeds straight in the ground. Because we had a couple of cold snaps, I almost gave up on any of my seeds growing, but now everything is coming up! In my front beds, I put in flowers, both starter plants and seeds. We also put in some spinach seeds. In my backyard garden, I put in peas, beets, carrots and zucchini to start with. All of those I started from seeds.
When my seeds were being so slow sprouting, I worried that none of my vegetables were going to come up, so I decided to get some starter strawberries and I put those on the edge of my vegetable garden. Then, low and behold, everything else started to sprout. First the peas, then the beets, finally the carrots and now the zucchini.
I guess one reason I am enjoying my garden so much is I've noticed that with all of the things going on in the world right now and the grocery shelves are looking pretty bare, I feel the urge to be able to feed my family by growing what I can. The war in the Ukraine is making me very nervous, so I kind of feel like I need to prepare more than ever for what may come. Being able to garden helps me to feel that I am doing something that can help my family and makes me feel like I have control of at least this one thing in a totally crazy world.
So, in spite of still wanting to be able to harvest everything before we leave for our family reunion this year, whenever I go to the store or to Lowe's, I find more things to add to my gardens. At the grocery store, I found a large, healthy basil plant in the grocery section for $3.99. A little plastic packet of fresh basil was $5.99. So, I picked up the plant and put it in my front garden with my flowers! Then, since I couldn't plant tomatoes in the backyard because of them being toxic to dogs and Maddy's puppy might eat them, I put two tomato plants out front as well! (I couldn't stand not to have fresh tomatoes growing in my garden!)
Then, one day Alicia called me and said, "Mom, look what DollarTree has! These stackable planters for people's patios or garden areas! They would be awesome for our gardens!" Of course, I ran right over to DollarTree and picked up 3 of them.
I went back to Lowe's and found a shelf that had vegetable and fruit starters, 4/$10. I noticed that the strawberry starters actually had 2 plants in each container. I picked up 2 containers of strawberries and 2 containers of yellow squash. I planted the yellow squash in a different area of my garden, as well as a bed of sunflowers. I've never grown sunflowers before , so I am excited to give them a try.
Although I have some strawberries in my regular garden bed, I decided to plant the 4 new plants in the stacking planters. I put in the strawberry plants, and then planted seeds of Italian Parsley, Mint and some marigolds in the remaining spots of the planters. Since the weather is warmer now, I am hoping that it doesn't take these seeds as long to sprout!
I've been very happy with the stacking planters so far. They aren't too flimsy. I used a utility knife to punch out the pre-marked drainage holes in the bottom, and they are big enough for the plants that I am using them for. If you want any, you can run right away to DollarTree before they run out of them. Or, if you want to do an entire container garden with them, you can order them online. (P.S.They come in blue, terra cotta and tan colors.)
I am hoping to grow plenty of beets this year to be able to can some. One thing that I am trying is when I thin the beets, I transplant the seedlings that I pull out to another part of my garden to allow them to grow. So far they seem to be thriving. Has anyone else tried this with success?
I love that I have food crops both in the front and in the back of my house! I don't need to worry about the watering in the front bed because I put a timer on my front faucet with a soaker hose to water everything and it has been working just great!
Are any of you doing any new things in your garden this year? I would love to hear about them. Please drop me your ideas in the comments.
If you want to see other posts about gardens, you can check out these:
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!