Monday, June 13, 2011

busy bee

With kids getting out a school and the garden going full blast i've been very busy keeping everything on my full plate. I have been doing double working in the garden and working to eat everything from the garden. I've taken lots more pictures though so I should have some consistent updates coming soon.

Below is a picture of my green bean patch. My beans were producing so quickly I had to pick handfuls every 2 days to make sure they wouldn't get too big. When you notice your green beans starting to flower this is when you should start looking out for your little beans to appear. Once you see some of adequate size start picking. You'll want to check on them every few days because you will be surprised at how fast new large beans will be there waiting to be picked. Green beans take a little effort to pick because your looking for a green bean on a green plant, but don't be shy nudge that plant around to find all the delicious beans. Sometimes they like to hide near the base of the plant. They are wonderfully delicious just take them inside and give them a rinse and enjoy!
I've have already blown through my first crop and below is where I have pulled them up and replanted. My second crop is already up and beginning to produce you can see them in the right corner.

Holy tomatoes! I have A LOT of tomatoes. It's not a bad problem to have. This is a pick I did and then a few days later had to pick again! That lonely little green one in the front was an accidently got picked casualty. You tomato plants might need a little care at this point. Some of mine have started to slow producing and the plant dies back a little. You'll find lots of brown and yellow dried up branchs especially near the bottom. I like to go through and trim these off, it looks unsightly and it makes picking tomatoes a little difficult. So I would suggest a little trimming.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Sometimes with gardening you get these great little surprises. Last year I planted these two artichoke plants right in my landscaping. I had given my husband the job of digging me a big hole so I could plant the little plants and surround them with good soil instead of the dirt that is las vegas. He didn't really get my idea and they ended up in the ground without much good soil around them. Even still I left them there and just waited. Nothing really happened last year they died back over the winter and I trimmed them down to little nubs. This spring they sprouted right back up and seemed to be growing nicely and then I saw these. Artichokes! I've got five on this one plant. For a girl that grew up in northern California artichokes are a favorite of mine so i'm really excited about this. I have been miracle growing them from time to time to help them along. I must say though i'm still pretty surprised that they are thriving like they are. Just out in my landscape.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

growing along


Been very busy doing lots of traveling and such but I got to come home to this wonderful sight ( pictured above) !
 My garden is really starting to gain some speed and i'm starting to enjoy the fruits of my labor. As you can see a lot of my plants are starting to produce. My tomatoes already have about 20-30 tomatoes on each plant they are green of course but some are ripening and turning bright and juicy red. This is one of the great things about tomatoes the ripe ones are always easy to spot among the bushy green plant. My green beans are a little harder to notice but I gave them a good looking and found that I actually had quite a few ready to be picked. Planing early is so great hear in Vegas because as the locals know this time of year gives us such a swing in weather temps. So a little wrap up on what i'm able to start harvesting, some green beans, snap peas, parsely, cilantro, a few tomatoes, bell and banana peppers. I've got zucchini and squash flowering and probably producing within the next few weeks and I haven't checked my potatoes but i'm sure i've got a few ready in there too. This does great things for my dinner table and produce bill.

This was the most surprising returning from my trip lots of sweet and fresh snap peas. I probably ate half of them as I was giving them a wash.


if you ever have any question please just stop and leave me a comment i'd be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


I thought I give you a layout of my own garden so when i'm talking about things you'll know where i'm talking about. Also to just give you a better idea of what I have and how i've chosen to lay it all out. A few notes about my garden:
My garden is 3.5 ft wide and 7 ft long. My garden has a divider that runs right down the middle to help support the boxes so I end up with .5 ft planing spots on each end.
Some plants like the tomatoes which can be grown one per square ft I decided to give a little extra room just for my sake of keep them maintained and easily harvesting them.
This is just my garden right now things will move around and i'll plant others as the season progresses.
zucchini and squash take up a lot of room! I love eating them so I will always keep them in my garden but they are space hogs so make sure and give them space. I might try trellising them later in the season wait and see.
Don't forget my potatoes are in buckets off to the side of my garden. Not included in this little diagram.
There are so many more things you could grow in this season that I just don't prefer or I run out of room for. So don't look at this and think this is all you could grow. Do a little research or grab one of the books I recommend and see what else might suit your fancy. These are my favorite staples and the crops I consistently will eat all summer long. If only I had more space I could grow a lot more different crops like melons and winter squash and ohh so many others i'd also like to enjoy but for now i'm limited.


Green beans are so yummy when they are fresh from the garden. This is another one of my favorite crops probably because it's one of my favorites to eat. I never have trouble cooking these up for dinners or lunches. It's always a given to grow what you enjoy eating. No point in growing things that you don't find appetizing. Now to growing these little beauties. Bean seeds really should be soaked before you sow them into the ground. I usually soak mine overnight in little dishes with the seed packet behind them, to make sure I don't mix up which is which. There are a lot of different varieties of green beans, there's yellow ones, purple ones, green ones, ones for drying, flat ones all kinds. Another big difference is there are vining ones and bush ones. I prefer the bush ones. They really don't take up too much space and I find they just are better producers. So according to square foot gardening you can plant eight plants per one square foot. so just make 8 little holes in your designated square and drop two seeds in per hole and then cover them back up. That simple.

A little while later you will end up with these lovely little plants. You'll see them begin to flower and then start producing your wonderful green beans. Green beans are a good plant to succession plant. Meaning you will plant one crop wait a few weeks and then plant another crop. That way once your fist ones done producing you'll have others continuing to produce so you will always have a harvest. This is my first crop and I just planted the seeds for my second one, so if you sometimes see blank spaces in my garden that only because i'm leaving room for a succession crop. Happy green, yellow or purple bean growing!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Tomatoes are usually the most popular plants in the garden. Most people want and like them and what makes it nice with just a few tips they can be very easy to grow. Below are my little babies getting bigger and bigger. This year my biggest lesson from last year is PLANT MORE! I only planted I think 3 regular tomato plants and 3 of the small cherry or pear tomatoes. I also learned last year to plant more of the regular slicing tomatoes and maybe 1 of the cherry kinds. I like cherry tomatoes a lot but wow they produce a lot and for my little household I was overwhelmed by 3 plants of them. Another tip I would give is stay away from heirlooms unless thats the kind of tomato you were really wanting. I had a hard time keeping that variety successful and for me they are a slow producer. My favorite varieties for our area are " Early Girl" this is a good standard slicing tomato just like the ones you'd pick up in the grocery store ( but 10X more flavor ). I planted 2 Early Girl tomato plants this year, they were my favorite from last year and they are just tasty and reliable. I also planted an "ACE 55" tomato, similar to the early girl just a good overall tomato. Another would be a "Roma" sounds familiar to people probably and it is, it a thick-meated tomato great for sauces and canning. My next one is new this year but I planted a " Celebrity" tomato which again is just a good reliable slicing tomato. I planted one " Yellow Pear" I just can't resist these because those tiny little yellow jewels are so yummy and sweet. Last but not least one wild card a "Green Zebra" I thought i'd just give it a shot, as the name states it's a green striped like tomato. I always think it's fun to pick one just to test it out. So all together in one end of my box I planted 7 tomato plants! Im excited for all the bounty I will be getting from that, i'm sure my friends and family will be excited too since they usually partake also. According to the square foot gardening method I like to use you can plant one tomato plant per square foot. I spaced mine a little further just so I could work around them better also because I wanted to leave some space because during the summer they provide great shade for me to grow other plants under them.

I love tomato plants you'll know what I mean when you grow them yourself but they have this great smell when your working with them.

Check out these beauties! This is why I like to plant my tomatoes a little on the early side like first of March. The tomatoes hold up fine, and the weather fluctuates so much from high sixties to the eighties it's nice to have them in and going before the real warm weather hits. Also in vegas we have such a long summer you can really grow two whole crops of tomatoes. One starting in beginning of March and the other late July early August. I try to make good use so I can get tons of tomatoes. The excess are great for canning and making into sauces for the freezer. If you like tomatoes trust me you'll be wanting as many as you can get of these fresh babies. There is also something so rewarding for me in the summertime not buying produce from the grocery store except for a few odds and ends I don't grow like onions. Having all my produce right at my back door tasting ten times better!

I took this picture to show you why I love to trellis my tomatoes. Just look how that tomato plant is actually on it's own growing around the trellis. So much more low maintenance than staking which takes a lot of effort and to me didn't support enough, my poor plants last year were being squished under the stain of holding that ripening fruit. Trellising gives all the support in a nice even fashion and makes working around the plant very easy, this is the reason I don't like cages to me you have to do a little bit of finagling to get to the plant inside the cage instead of it being nice a spread out on a trellis. Just in case you didn't gather I promote TRELLISING TRELLISING TRELLISING for your tomatoes.

The proof is in the pudding. Here we are beginning of april and I already have gorgeous little tomatoes growing on my wonderful plants. This is one of my "Early Girl" varieties.

A few tidbits on tomatoes. Tomatoes do need a little pruning. If you look at the picture above see where the arrow is pointing that little bit growing in the middle of the split in the plant. This is called a sucker. It's not harmless but any means and there is even a debate on whether you really need to get rid of these but from what i've read just pulling off these little guys will help more of the effort to stay in your main plant and fruit on it. A sucker can kinda suck the energy away from the plant and in a small garden it is a good idea to get rid of these as they come along just to give you the best leg up on your main plant. That all being said sometimes usually in the beginning I am very good about keeping up with removing the suckers and sometimes i'm not. I try to just once a week or so go out take a look at my plants and just simply prune those little babies off.

Another tidbit about tomatoes would be the two different growing habits of them. One being the determinate type which is bushier, won't grow quite as tall and requires less support like staking, trellising or cages. They will tend to bear their crop all at once. The other one is an indeterminate which is more vine like, will definitely need trellising and will bear fruit over a longer of period of time. Last year my indeterminate tomato plants grew to the top of my trellises and beyond even wove back down and starting growing back towards the ground from the top. I have a few of both types in my garden I don't think one is better than the other. I think it's nice to have both so you can have a well rounded tomato garden. Just check out the little tag when your buying the tomato plants it just helps to maybe plan out where you place them knowing which way they will grow.

Tomatoes should be bought as an already established plant from the nursery. To grow from seed outside would take way too long and you can start them indoors but lets just go the easy route and buy them ready to go. They aren't pricey usually a dollar or two at the nursery and they always have a great variety. 

Wow that was a long post and their is probably still a lot of tomato info to put out there but i'll start with that for now and add more as my tomatoes mature. Happy tomato growing. Once you have garden fresh tomatoes you'll be sad to go back.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

looking good

Spring is gearing up! here is a look at my garden as of yesterday. As you can see my tomatoes are already getting big and I already have a few tomatoes on there green but growing. Here I just assume that you all know which plant as which. Writing this I deiced I should do an ariel shot and give you a blueprint of my garden. Will do everyone. Take a look though it's starting to look really good. Check out my potatoes back in those buckets in the background they are looking great!