Spring Has Sprung

Ever since we moved last summer, I’ve been dying to have a garden again. Our lettuce table didn’t make the move (I’m still not sure why. And I’m still waiting on my replacement…ahem, PETER) so I have been without home grown veggies for too many months.

Now, finally after many weeks of building, stucco, planning, redoing, planting and fertilizing – the garden is growing! And it looks amazing. Every time I catch a glimpse of this space, it makes me so happy.

While this is not the true true before, it’s enough of a before for this post. Imagine no stucco and very 1970’s ugly brown cement block…

My helper was not excited for the camera. He was ready to work. And by work, I mean move dirt from one side to the other.

IMG_4238

Aaaaannnddd the after!!

IMG_9206

There are four new roses – three gifts from my mom – she hand picked not only the color but the scent. I’m so excited for the blooms. One is a Pope John Paul II white rose and the one at the nursery was amazing.

IMG_9210IMG_9212

See that little pod under the bloom? It’s a Praying Mantis pod. I’m hoping they hatch and keep the aphids away…we’ll see if it works.

IMG_9209

I’m a little obsessed with the obelisk. If you need one, I got these at A Rustic Garden. Good prices and fast shipping. They are making a happy home for two kinds of grape tomatoes including Sweet 100’s – my favorites. There’s also Swiss Chard and mixed greens lettuce coming up. IMG_9207

IMG_9208

IMG_9211

I honestly forget how much I love Orange Blossoms. Every year, the first sniff of their scent reminds me – and it’s the most welcome memory. We will have Arizona Sweet and Valencia oranges this Thanksgiving. There’s also a small Meyer Lemon in the raised beds that will provide some shade in the summer.

IMG_9214

One of the lone survivors of our backyard re-landscaping was this Pomegranate tree. It was a bit neglected, but after a good trim and lots of fertilizer, it’s full of blooms. And hopefully lots of fruit too.

IMG_9216

Spring has Sprung

Ever since we moved last summer, I’ve been dying to have a garden again. Our lettuce table didn’t make the move (I’m still not sure why. And I’m still waiting on my replacement…ahem, PETER) so I have been without home grown veggies for too many months.

Now, finally after many weeks of building, stucco, planning, redoing, planting and fertilizing – the garden is growing! And it looks amazing. Every time I catch a glimpse of this space, it makes me so happy.

While this is not the true true before, it’s enough of a before for this post. Imagine no stucco and very 1970’s ugly brown cement block…

My helper was not excited for the camera. He was ready to work. And by work, I mean move dirt from one side to the other.

IMG_4238

Aaaaannnddd the after!!

IMG_9206

There are four new roses – three gifts from my mom – she hand picked not only the color but the scent. I’m so excited for the blooms. One is a Pope John Paul II white rose and the one at the nursery was amazing.

IMG_9210IMG_9212

See that little pod under the bloom? It’s a Praying Mantis pod. I’m hoping they hatch and keep the aphids away…we’ll see if it works.

IMG_9209

I’m a little obsessed with the obelisk. If you need one, I got these at A Rustic Garden. Good prices and fast shipping. They are making a happy home for two kinds of grape tomatoes including Sweet 100’s – my favorites. There’s also Swiss Chard and mixed greens lettuce coming up. IMG_9207

IMG_9208

IMG_9211

I honestly forget how much I love Orange Blossoms. Every year, the first sniff of their scent reminds me – and it’s the most welcome memory. We will have Arizona Sweet and Valencia oranges this Thanksgiving. There’s also a small Meyer Lemon in the raised beds that will provide some shade in the summer.

IMG_9214

One of the lone survivors of our backyard re-landscaping was this Pomegranate tree. It was a bit neglected, but after a good trim and lots of fertilizer, it’s full of blooms. And hopefully lots of fruit too.

IMG_9216

Ladybug Ladybug, Welcome Home

This growing season has been a tough one for my lettuce table. Normally by Christmas we are out cutting fresh leaves for salad every day. This year the hot – cold – hot temperatures in the fall made for some rough growing. I finally got the right combination of morning sun, umbrella shade in the afternoon and a weekly hit of a 20-20-20 fertilizer and boom! Lettuce for days. Weeks. Months!

As I was cutting the first good crop, I noticed black bugs on the leaves. Like a lot of black bugs. aphids to be exact. It dawned on me later that we’ve always had a praying mantis in the garden. He (she?) reappeared sometime in the fall and apparently she (he?) was working to keep the aphid population in check. But this year he/she didn’t come back so when the mantis is away, the aphids will play.

And play those little bastards did.

I want the lettuce table to be organic so I didn’t want to spray any pesticides.  I used an insecticidal soap which is safe for humans, but allegedly the aphids don’t like it and they should leave when you spray it. I swear to God, those little assholes laughed when I sprayed it on the leaves. I saw one pretending to take a shower with the soap while he laughed with his friends. All the while eating my plants.

When I gave my mom a big bag of lettuce, I told her to make sure to wash it well to get the bugs off. “Don’t worry.” she said. ” I just serve the salad with poppy seed dressing so in case I missed any bugs, you can’t tell.”

It’s amazing I came out as normal as I did.

Anyway. I decided I couldn’t take it any more and after several phone calls to local nurseries and Google searches, I found a retailer that would ship me some ladybugs asap. Ladybugs are natural predators of aphids and they won’t hurt my lettuce. Not to mention they are adorable. Yesterday when the little ventilated box arrived, it was like Christmas. No one should get this excited about a box of bugs…and yet there I was, sprinkling ladybugs onto the leaves of the lettuce saying go! eat, my pretties! eat them all!!! while laughing manaicly.

The kids were entranced by the hard work the ladybugs were doing – within an hour of being on the leaves, they were eating to their hearts content. Gone were the sounds of those little jerks laughing. Now all we could hear was the nom nom nom sounds of the ladybug lunch.

Muuuahhhaaahhhhaahhaa!!!

So delicious. Until you notice the bugs…

IMG_8083 IMG_8075 IMG_8076

Workin’ hard!

IMG_8081 IMG_8082

Citrus Season

When we did our landscaping, we picked out two orange trees for our front yard. It took almost two seasons for them to really start producing fruit, but now that they are rolling, we’ve got oranges a pleanty! Arizona Sweet Navel and Valencia – I fertilize both within an inch of their lives so that there is lots of large, sweet fruit. This year I had my helper who picked up the oranges as I dropped them out of the tree.

 

 

 

Sadly, I didn’t get a shot of her putting the oranges into her shopping cart to wheel them inside..

 

And if you thought my helper was cute, you should see what Kristin is doing over at One Pretty Place. It’s ridiculous how creative she is!!

 

 

Beautiful Bulbs

Baylor and I found an Amaryllis bulb that was the biggest we’ve ever seen at Baker’s nursery. It was expensive, but one of the only one’s the had so we went for it. It bloomed this week and oh my goodness is it worth every penny.

Soooo ready to trim something…

Look at the size of that thing!

Diggin’

The final product!

And a mere four weeks later, we have this:

Six! Six blossoms all on the same stalk at the same time. I’ve grown these flowers for years and I’ve never had this many flowers!

Lettuce Eat

Remember this post about the lettuce table that PW built for me? Well it’s back and better than ever! Bay and I planted seeds about 5 weeks ago and they are growing like weeds. I think we are some fertilizer and a week away from eating like rabbits for every meal. The best part is that Bay is totally persuaded to eat because she grew it!

 

 

Grass Between Your Toes

Due to the extremely hot Arizona summers and a slight to severe allergy to Bermuda grass, I don’t spend much time in the green stuff. But this time of year is a different story. The winter Rye grass seeds are all coming up and after two cuttings, our back yard looks like it has been redone with a lush, shag green carpet. But in a good way.

See what I mean?

Bay and I have spent many afternoons laying in the grass, looking at the sky or down into the ground. Kicking a ball or rolling around. Taking pictures and chasing each other. Just enjoying the simplicity of such a lovely thing.

(and yes, I know my Yellow Bells need trimming)

Fresh cut today…if only you could smell how good it smells!