Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

One of my most loyal readers, a.k.a, my mom, sent me an email yesterday asking me to post pictures of how the garden is coming along. (Hi Mom! Happy Mother's Day!) I am happy to oblige. There are a lot of extreme closeups in here, since almost everything is either a little seedling right now, or still in the planning stages, but you get the idea.

I am trying again with corn this year, and so far, it's coming along well. (I've figured out that last year's corn problem was lack of proper pollination. There are lots of videos out there on how to painstakingly pollinate corn when the time comes, but the azplantlady suggests simply giving the stalk a good shake to help with pollination. That, I can handle.)

I've decided to try a "three sisters" technique, where I interplant the corn with beans and squash. (Well, actually, beans and pumpkins, but same idea.) Here's a pic of the corn and beans getting started. The pumpkins are too small for a good picture yet.

I have very fond memories of my mom growing corn and pumpkins when I was a kid, so I definitely want to make it work for my little munchkin if I can. If I remember correctly (which is not a guarantee at all), I think my sister and I would play in my mom's corn patch in the back yard. It probably made her crazy that we were stomping all over her garden. I definitely remember the excitement of pumpkins--searching for them like prizes on the vine and watching them turn orange. I don't know why pumpkins in particular were so darn exciting as a kid, but they were.

Next up, we have okra. Loyal readers know that I am pretty much obsessed with okra. Mostly, I'm obsessed because the only store I've found it in around here that sells okra is half an hour away. Which means, if I want to eat it, I pretty much have to grow it. Plus, it's one of those rare plants that actually like Arizona summers. Here's a little okra seedling nestled up to a little sunflower seedling:

I don't have as much okra as I planned yet. So far, I only have about half a dozen seedlings. I'm not sure why more seedlings aren't popping up, but I've ordered another pack of seeds from Native Seeds and plan to see if they are more successful.

I'm not 100% sure where I'll put them though, since I have some volunteers in the place where I planned okra. I'm pretty sure they are volunteer honeydews, but time will tell. Here's my favorite garden model (and my most loyal reader's granddaughter), showing off the volunteer plants (i.e., the ones with the yellow flowers):

Next up, grapes. I think I planted these guys about a year and half ago? Maybe two? I can't really remember. But they are finally starting to develop fruit, which is very exciting. When they get bigger, I plan to cover them with brown paper lunch bags to protect them from hungry birds--a tip I learned in my Desert Gardening book. I also plan to pick up some squash seeds this weekend--probably zuchinni and butternut squash--to plant at the base of the grapes. I'm hoping they will shade the roots and help them survive the summer heat.

This weekend, I'm planting a lot of new plants in the garden as well. The munchkin gave me some plants as a gift earlier this week, and I also managed to buy a few for myself. Yesterday, I found some thornless blackberries. I'll be planting these in my unused side yard.

The munchkin got me some beautiful flowers, which I'm also planting. Yesterday, I planted a pentsimmon. I put it in a corner where it will get afternoon shade. I'm hoping that will help it with the Arizona heat.

The kiddo also got me a vinca, which is supposed to do really well in Arizona, and a purple flowering bush. (I can't remember the name of the bush right now. Maybe I'm just not getting too attached, since I'm skeptical it will survive the summer.)

So there's lots of planting going on today for Mother's Day, which sounds like a great day to me. Here's hoping the rest of you have a wonderful Mother's Day too!

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