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Sandy Steinfelt

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Sandy Steinfelt
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  • Bryan & Kristina's Kentucky Garden

    With the cilantro, you can harvest the seed when it is brown and dry (you can still snack on it when it is green too). I like to throw the seeds whole into recipes(especially soups) that call for cilantro when I can't get fresh cilantro (sometimes the grocery store stuff is flavorless anyways) and it adds a nice burst of cilantro flavor! You'll probably harvest a ton of seed, and may have some self sow. I feel its a win either way. I don't mind cilantro popping up as a weed as much as other options!

    Nicky Schauder
  • Harvests to celebrate

    Yup! We "inherited" an extractor from a friend that didn't want to deal with it's issues. The biggest issue was the handle would fly to pieces if you didn't crank at the right speed, but hand cranking is exhausting anyways. I found a socket at ACE for about $6 and just connected the electric screwdriver to where the handle would be. Still a bit of a chore in a lot of ways, but it worked out and was worth it!


    Nicky Schauder
  • Sandy's Arizona Garden

    Here are some updates. Mostly just to keep notes and such although insights on compost(I think the solution is just to keep going, but let me know if I'm missing something) and how to harvest and use passion flower would be appreciated.

    BEES: Here is a picture of the queen cage. It's off now. I didn't see her last time I checked, but things seemed to be buzzing along fine, so I'm trusting that its just because amidst thousands of tiny insects, I missed spotting the most important one.


    Here is the watermelon plant growing happily up the playset, just like the kids wanted. This is one of the seeds from you, planted late, but it doesn't seem to mind. Sugar baby or early moonbeam I think?

    a


    Here is some of the mass of purslane growing. We had some friends over recently and I let them snack on some pollen and purslane. The kids thought they were in heaven! What wonderful snacks!

    This is a watermelon I thought wasn't ripe, and it had a gash in it so I decided to harvest before bugs got it. It turned out to be better than I expected. I love fresh watermelons! Even though its still over 100 degrees every day (reprieve finally in the forecast!) there are some plants that are loving that! Note how this isn't as symmetrical as others. I think part of the flower didn't get pollinated (it was overrun by the grass, so it makes sense).

    COMPOST: We had a taste of awesomeness, then missed a day and it wasn't hot anymore. I decided to take that as an opportunity to add more bulk to it (it was probably only 2 ft tall) and put a few wheel barrows of chip drop in and started over. We've been going for a few days and haven't got heat again yet, but I know its possible! Hopefully we'll have more of it this way too. I think we're getting close!

    Here is my before picture of the lime tree this year. Its currently undergoing a serious haircut and will be closer to a managable amount in the future. The reduction last year has helped cut back the amount of limes. Even though many branches grew up to reclaim the size, they don't have fruit on them. We still harvested 7 lbs of limes today. Probably a few 100 limes with a lot more to go. We've been having key lime smoothies and muffins regularly.

    Got some herbs planted. Yay! Popsicle sticks get pulled out too easy, so I put numbers on the container in permanent marker and wrote down what herbs are in each spot in my spreadsheet I use for notes. The roselle hibiscus have already sprouted, still waiting on the rest.

    Pretty sure this is eggplant...isn't it pretty? No fruit yet. Maybe too hot still?

    I was so excited when I noticed we had buds on the passionfruit. I showed the kids and got them excited too.


    and the passion flower bloomed today! So excited. Not sure exactly what to do with them other than enjoy how pretty it is.


    Nicky Schauder
  • Sandy's Arizona Garden

    Remember how I was wondering if my lengthy watermelon vine would ever produce? Well...apparently I need to review some observation skills...later that day I walked out and found this (note the tiny watermelon on the trellis):

    and today we found this 12 lb 6 oz watermelon hiding in the grass behind a volunteer palm (it would actually be just to the left of the photo above):

    Unfortunately, it wasn't really great inside (it looked like there were a few holes in the bottom). We ate a tiny bit, but most got composted. But fortunately, our scripture study this week includes a comparison of seeds growing and planting the Word of God...so we tied it into our scripture study by talking about how sometimes we plant the seed and it grows, but we don't notice the fruit until its too late. There isn't anything wrong with the seed or the plant, but weeds, distractions and dissenters (ants in this case) led to bad fruit that could have been prevented.

    Also fortunately, there were 6 oz of beautiful seeds to harvest (that's more than we've harvested of tomatoes this summer)!

    So we didn't get to eat fruit, but we got plant food(compost), spiritually fed and potential for lots more fruit in the future! In the meantime, there are 2 baby watermelons on the vine, so we'll watch those a little closer!

    Oh! And this pushes us to 300 lbs of produce harvested from our yard in the past year! Amazing how those harvests add up!

    Nicky Schauder
  • fruit trees: baby it or get it adjusted?

    Welcome @Rita Early !

    I don't have the tropicals i want yet, but did get a bunch a trees last year! I think there may have been a problem with my watering system and some didn't spread out roots which was probably a mistake as i planted. So some plants didn't respond as well as i hoped.

    I lost two figs and a pomegranate over the summer (it was a record breaking brutal summer last year).


    I'd planted the 2 pomegranate trees about 18" apart, but since only one survived that experiment won't work so well. I have two dwarf mulberry bushes that don't seem picky at all though. One got transplant shock when I transplanted in the summer but it recovered fine and both are leafing out for spring now I'm hoping we'll be lucky enough to get berries this year.

    My bareroot stonefruit is doing great though! I planted three in one hole (2 peach and an aprium, all the same rootstock). I put them right into the ground with some mulch on top and didn't baby them much besides the shade cloth. They are starting to wake up now and I'm excited to see their growth this year. They did grow last year, but not a ton. But I'm hoping for positive results long term, so if that means show growth for now I'm ok with it.

    I'll try to take some pictures soon and post them here. For now, here is a picture of some of the flowers before i stripped them off. (They are so pretty! But I'd rather let it focus underground a little longer)


    Nicky Schauder
  • Andrea's Texas Garden

    Andrea, some plants are smart enough to turn away from the sun when they've had too much and perk up when it cools off. Where they doing that when it was still really hot out or is it a new behavior?

    I've found sometimes overwatering can look the same as underwatering (looks like wilting). That's a lot of rain! How is your drainage? (as if that makes any difference when you are getting hurricane rain!) Probably pretty safe to assume that the ground is all super saturated after that, but a soil probe moisture detector would help you know more specific. In the future, maybe you could try adding plants that really love soaking up the water(like what was suggested above) or strategically planting based on water needs. My hope is that all your plants will recover soon and be able to breathe easy again. While it has limits, woody mulch and cover crops(living mulch) are also great for helping regulate water.

    Here's a picture that gives some ideas for planting heights based on water needs. The principles and concepts are the same whether you are in the desert or flood zone (you just adapt and have things like cattails and swamp grass in the high water needs and have succulents or cacti really well elevated with lots of drainage)

    Good luck! I'll be praying for you and your plants!

    Nicky Schauder
  • Sandy's Arizona Garden

    Current plant inventory

    I went out and counted what is currently growing. I made the kids guess how many different plants we had first. I only counted each variety once, so even though I have 4 watermelon plants, I only counted it once(and I don't know the variety, so there may be more than one). But since there are 3 varieties of lantana betwixt about 5 plants, I counted it 3 times :

    65 total (if I include borage, cilantro and lettuce that have consistently self seeded and come back every year, even though I don't see them right now)

    54 are perennial or self seeding or spread so as to act like perennial

    42 of the total have been added since we got here (including a few volunteers like purslane and ground cherry)

    53 are edible (some more desirable than others)

    of the remaining plants "non edible", 8 are pollinators that we don't actually eat, although 5 of those are technically edible

    4 palm trees (which provide shade so we can forgive them for not serving many other purposes)


    BTW, in the past year we have harvested over 358 lbs of food, and over 664 since we started counting a few years ago (So over 50 lbs more the second year than the first).

    And this doesn't count most of the gallons of honey and pounds of wax we've been harvesting from the bees this summer.

    Nicky Schauder
  • Sandy's Arizona Garden

    I bet that even if they don't grow all year, I can at least grow them as annuals!

    There's a few wildflowers on the north side of the cactus and a purple lantana. I intend to plant more wildflowers (already have in one spot). Maybe i should just do that today if the ground is still wet. More native sponges should help either way. Maybe I'll try tepary beans and native melon plants next year and see if the hoa or anyone notices.😉 I've mainly been playing in the backyard and left the front as it came for now.

    it's bend came gradually I think, so I'm not sure if it will recover slowly or not.

    Nicky Schauder

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