Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oooh, oooh, ooooh

Getting close to planting time.

Garlic! Check!
Sweet Peas! Check!
Vegetable seeds! Check!

Cool weather!


Cool weather?


My husband says it might be dropping below 100 and staying there for awhile soon!

And then I can say CHECK!

And put these little seed-people in the ground.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Just a few late September garden pictures!

So you don't think I've sprayed everything with round-up or something.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Oh happy gardening day!

I just got my beautiful asparagus crowns in the mail today from Tasteful Garden! Thx Cyndie! She recommended I store them in the fridge until the proper planting time (November here) so hopefully Steve will not eat them. ha!

I did get some new peppers planted as well as a row of green beans earlier in the week.

And I wanted to share with you the picture of two tomatoes I cut back to about one foot. One made it, one did not. I can never figure that out.

And show you some cooked compost.

I have two bins cooking away now and am going to stockpile coffee grounds in the corner of the garden and turn them.

Apparently I can use them as a replacement for bone meal AND they're free AND I can get a skinny latte every time I pick them up (OK, that's just a bonus - they will actually give me the grounds without even buying coffee...I just told my husband they won't so....shhhhh.... don't tell him any differently!)

I have all the rest of my seeds ready to go but I'm holding off for another week.

Happy harvesting.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

To paraphrase Bob Dylan ...

The Seeds, they are a'coming...

And, oh, I'm excited. Today I got broccoli, cauliflower, dill, beets, cilantro and something else that I'm too lazy to walk out into the kitchen to remember...

On the way are some cool sounding Sweet Peas, asparagus, some herb plants, and a garlic combo (five different garlics)

In the morning I'm gonna throw one last row of green beans in and do a small planting of some of the cool crop seeds.

I think it's still too hot for them although it is cooling down nicely at night now. I knew that for sure today when I attempted to swim and about had a heart attack. My granddaughter kept laughing at me.... "Gwamma, quit being a baby" she told me. Hmmm... I never liked that little kid anyway (just kiddin')

I'll take some pictures of the cut back tomato plants in the morning so you can see how they're taking off again.

Oh boy, I love planting!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Acid or alkaline

I get quite a few questions regarding why I use coffee grounds on my garden. Coffee grounds add nitrogen, potassium and magnesium to the soil. And they have high acidity which lowers the PH of the soil. Something very good for much of our soil here in Arizona which tends to be alkaline.

Generally I put the grounds directly on my garden in the raw form and rototill or hoe them in. We maintain a fairly regular watering schedule and we have intense heat so they decompose in our garden fairly quickly. I do put them in my compost bins as well.

If you are unsure whether your soil is acid or alkaline and you don't want to get a soil analysis done there is a pretty simple test you can try at home with baking soda and vinegar.

Get two containers. Put some vinegar in one and a mixture of 1 part water to 1 part baking soda in the other.

To do a simple check on various areas of your garden or flowers beds simply walk around and pour some vinegar or baking soda water on the soil. The liquid that makes the soil form tiny bubbles or fizz will tell you what type of soil you have.

If your soil reacts to the baking soda and water it is acidic. If it reacts to the vinegar it is alkaline. If it reacts to neither it is probably PH neutral.

And just because I haven't bored you quite enough...

The pH of soil is measured on a scale of 0-14.
A pH of 7.0 is considered neutral.
The higher pH levels, the lower the acidity and vice versa.
Soil is considered “alkaline” if it has a high pH (greater than 7.5) and “acidic” if it has a low pH (less than 6.5).

I'm gonna simplify it down just a bit more cuz I always get confused by this.

Low acid - high PH - alkaline soil
High acid - low PH - acid soil

I'm not trying to create an acid soil - I am just trying to neutralize our PH levels. Totally confused yet?

And just to relax all that low creating high and high creating low confusion let's talk about coffee grounds for a totally different application. Did you know that they make a wonderful exfoliant scrub for your skin. Just pat on, rub gently and rinse off - voila! Super smooth, baby butt skin.

I also found a tip for using coffee grounds to help get rid of cellulite. I haven't tried this particular idea yet but I plan to. Heaven knows I need to. Let me know if you try it first, though, please.

Mix 1/4 cup warm, used coffee grounds and one tablespoon of olive oil. While standing over an old towel or newspaper, apply the mixture to your problem areas. Next, wrap the areas with shrink wrap and leave on for several minutes. Unwind the wrap, brush loose grounds off your skin and then shower with warm water. For best results, it is recommended to repeat this procedure twice a week.

Hey, consider this your full service coffee ground blog!

Signing off from my PH neutral AZ garden.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I thinking walking upright might be over-rated!

OK, the alarm rang at 4:45. It was annoying, to say the least. My husband made a pot of coffee and then we started hauling all the manure, green bins, coffee grounds, etc. back to the garden.

He took off for Home Depot to rent a truck and rent the large size tiller and I stayed home and cleaned up sunflower debris, coiled up soaker hoses, put down composted manure, compost and coffee grounds.

Right when I was finishing spreading the last of it he got home.

We went as quickly as possible because the sky was pretty gray and there was a lot of lightening in the distance.

While he tilled I spread iron on our lawn and worked in the rosebeds.

Then we put a thin layer of straw over the garden and he rototilled that in again thoroughly.

Just got the last of the iron spread and the tiller loaded back in the truck and it started raining!


I'm going to get some seeds ordered this coming week and get my asparagus bed amended for the 2 year old crowns I ordered from Tasteful Garden!

AND it was in the 70's while we were working outside. Amazing! Wonderful!

We're both tired out! And neither one of us can stand upright from all the hauling and trying to get the tiller into the garden.

But it was soooo worth it.

Soon I can start planting my fall/early spring crops!

Woo hoo!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The alarm is set for 5 am...

...and Steve is heading to Home Depot to rent one of the big rototillers to get half the garden ready for fall planting.

I have six bags of composted manure on the back porch along with four big bags of coffee grounds.

I'm going to stay home and spread all that and then we'll rototill everything in as soon as Steve gets back.

I know you're wondering if we're crazy.

OK, we probably are ... but if we do it at that time of the morning...

a) we may not have to be rushed by ambulance to the hospital for heat stroke
b) we will be able to rent a tiller for sure (the guy at the Depot thinks they will rent out pretty quick with the three day weekend)
c) there is a huge chance of rain coming in tomorrow afternoon and evening and it will be wonderful to get the amendments washed in.

OK, I'm off to bed. I'll take pictures.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Late night garden thoughts

Today we got the last of the sunflowers ripped out. Some of the stalks were like small tree trunks - maybe 5 or more inches in diameter.

Had hoped to get some bags of manure tomorrow but I'm babysitting my three year old granddaughter so that may not happen.

We did get another load of coffee grounds today.

Here's all the veggies we can plant in our zone toward the middle to end of this month:


Snap Beans, Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Collard Greens, Cucumbers, Endive, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce (Head & Leaf), Leeks, Mustard, Green Onions, Peas, Radishes, Spinach, Turnips


Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Lettuce (Head & Leaf)

The best guide for planting flowers in the low desert can be found at this link:


And here's what I need to do to my roses this month:

• Prune roses lightly and remove old or dead canes.
• Use a slow-release fertilizer.
• Water slowly to a depth of 2 feet. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings,
but don’t allow the plant to become stressed.
• Remove spent blooms

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Coffee grounds, asparagus and icky bugs

It's so cool. A new coffee drivethrough opened up by our house AND no-one has been asking for their coffee grounds yet! Woo hoo! I am going tomorrow at shift change to pick up another big batch.

I usually get them at Starbucks but it's a chore cuz so many other people go there, too. You gotta be first in to grab 'em. But I should be able to fulfill my entire gardens coffee grounds needs in just a few days!

AND the beautiful, lovely, wonderful Cindy at Tasteful Garden e-mailed me today to tell me that, yes, she had some more asparagus to sell and I got my order in. Asparagus plants in less extreme climates can produce up to 20 years...here I seem to get four to five out of a set of crowns.

And all the icky bugs are gone. Presto! No pesticides! Just a nicely patient husband willing to grab the disgusting things!

So now I can get in the garden and finish ripping everything out getting ready for a nice little session with the rototiller.

I can only 'till up about half the garden since I have many, many gourds growing and I'm going to leave them alone to see how big they get!

Happy gardening!