“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”
Happy Earth Day everyone.
April showers bring May flowers and we sure are getting some pretty ones.
My flowerbed is growing everyday more and more. I love going out to see how many new flowers are out in bloom.
This month we are letting some of our plants go to seeds.
It is important when growing your own gardens to allow some plants to produce seeds for later.
We have a little seed library we have been adding a little to every year, collecting seeds everywhere we go. The most important jewels out there to me are seeds, like little bits of gold, that’s how I see them. I always enjoyed that story about Jack and the bean stock. A bag of seeds is truly a treasure.
Besides collecting seeds we have also been trying to organize our little urban farm better. This bed in photo below will be the future home of potatoes… hopefully. First though we will need to buy some dirt. If we buy it by the bag it will end up costing us too much. There is a place here in the city where you can buy a whole truck bed full of dirt that runs $20 and up.
Most of the seeds we buy new in packages don’t seem to be as hardy as the local gardener’s seeds in our area. There could be many reasons for this and one could be the fact that they have been sitting on the shelves too long and lost their life.
We even have seeds we collected from some of the reservations in our state with generations of plants they have grown and collected themselves. Just because most seeds are sold in pretty packages doesn’t mean all seeds and plants out there in the world come from corporate. I am sure some of them would sure like you to believe that, but that is not always the case. In the end, it cost us less to do things locally, then it does to buy things mass produced, but you guys already knew this.
My husband and I are not master gardeners. My husband is a photographer/film editor ( semi retired now) and I used to work in retail in management and a buyer. We started gardening a few years back, mostly as a hobby. We got really involved with this new hobby about two years ago. And now it is taking off everywhere out in the world, which I love hearing about, this is a very good thing that is happening. Kids are out playing together once again, families are forced to spend time with each other stuck inside, the air is cleaner, the streets are quiet and we are all learning to stretch those meals and make things ourselves. It’s like the 1950’s or something. Gotta look for the positives where you can. If I dwell too long on the terror of what is happening it will make me sad.
Every time we plant something we learn a little more about this whole process. Like how to conserve, make compost and enrich our soil with poultry waste. Canning vegetables, cloning and propagating plants and using herbs and plants from our garden like jasmine soap, rosemary foot soaks, and aloe for burns, bug bites and a tons of other things.
Just this year I learned how grape leaves are really rich in fiber and can be eaten raw. I always knew about stuffed grape leaves but never knew people cut fresh leaves up for salads. Since they are so high in fiber I would go easy on them, especially raw.
You should see our garden in April.
The grape vines are taking over all over the place.
It is like a jungle right now.
The vines are even growing all the way up into one of our trees.
The trees will have lots of pollen soon and the whole place will look like it snowed tiny fuzzy yellow balls everywhere. Not so fun for cleaning out a pool.
It is very green out there right now. The rain we had this month really helped things in the growing department.
Lots of pink and yellow everywhere.
Our walls are being taken over by Spring. This is why April is my favorite month in our garden. It looks nothing like this in the very hot summer months.
Most of our garden here in the city is done in 5 gallon buckets. When you don’t have a lot of space or yard this is a great way to grow food.
We also started buying grow tents from the local auction here in our city.
This brand new grow tent that my husband set up in one of our spare bathrooms only cost $12.50.
My husband got the grow lights for $1 from the same auction. He is growing tomatoes in it. It normally cost over $245 for this set up.
We have mint, cantaloupe, green onions, rosemary, parsley, cherry tomatoes, grapes, potatoes, basil, thyme, potatoes, peppers, barley, tomatoes, squash, aloe, prickly pear, and many trees growing which include, ash, mesquite, lemon, orange, peach and pomegranate.
In the cloning bucket that my husband made there are apple, fig, mulberry, and peach trees growing. Along with other edibles like onions and tomatoes. It takes a very long time for trees to start fruiting, years in fact, but we still grow trees and share them with others as much as possible. Sometimes when we walk around our older neighborhood from the 50’s era we will come across all kinds of trees and plants that produce food. When they designed neighborhoods back then they made sure to include lots of edible plants as their garden decor. Now days though there are many younger generations walking around not realizing that all those trees with mulberries, pecans, and some dates should not be taken down, but sadly they do get cut down. So much waste, it is so sad. Think of all the people we could feed if only the city government and states started planting native edible plants to each area for their city decor instead of weird statues, sitting areas and murals that cost millions of dollars to decorate our freeways with.
Oh, look at this. We got our first quail egg this month. Although very small these little eggs are really good for us and they taste yummy pickled.
It took awhile for the quail to lay, they just weren’t laying, even though they are full grown now. My husband got in contact with the man he got the quail from, again, he is a local man here in our state. He told my husband he could have too many roosters, which turned out to be the case.
We are going to try and trade some of the roosters for hens at our feed store since they have a shortage of poultry right now.
It is shocking how fast poultry is leaving the shelves and getting sold out. I hope the people out there that are buying these chickens are really going to stick with raising and taking care of them. Chickens like rabbits take work, and even though they are super adorable when tiny, they grow up like all those Easter bunnies did that children got bored with years ago when baby bunnies were always bought up for baskets back in the day.
Birds are dirty, they poop, they smell, they take work. Just like toilet paper hoarders out there trying to bring back all that toilet paper for refunds, I fear we will have a lot of chickens being dumped everywhere when some people realize the work involved with them. Lets hope this doesn’t happen.
The guy my husband bought the quail from is teaching my husband a ton about our quail.He has been so helpful while we go through this learning process. My son is especially loving these birds. He has always loved taking care of birds.
Anyway, our quail supplier is really kind and loves sharing his knowledge with others. We got some really beautiful birds from his eggs.
Because of the red monster we do things a little different now when it comes to picking up supplies. My husband places an order online. The store gets the order ready, then my husband drives to the store and calls them from a cell phone and they come out with his order and drop it in the back of the truck bed. When he exchanges the roosters for hens they will pick up the roosters and place the hens in the back of the cage in the truck. This is mostly how we shop now in our city. Food, fruits and veggies and even when we get dirt, it is all done this way. It’s ordered online , loaded into trucks and driven away with no human contact what so ever.
Quail are so easy to take care of. They don’t make noise like chickens, so they are pretty quiet so as not to bother neighbors that much.
Still love chickens too. In the spring we always get lots of eggs from them.
Another one of my projects I finished this month was painting flowers on one of our bird houses. Remember how beat up and weathered it was. It needed a new paint job desperately. This happens to our main house too. The Arizona sun here is brutal.
It is back up hanging in our tree.
My garden surprise this month was some squash my husband planted in one of my fern pots. He is always throwing seeds in whatever spot of dirt he can find and out pops a surprise now and then.
Even some of my cacti are getting ready to bloom. They start out looking like little fuzzy creatures of some sort. I hope they do bloom, last year they started and it never happened.
For anyone just starting a garden now, always remember that it takes time so stay patient and don’t give up.
Growing things doesn’t just happen. There will be many mistakes, and many opportunities to learn from those mistakes. You will meet so many cool people in your community, sharing seeds, plants and knowledge with each other. Gardening is not only a great way to distress and relax, it also brings each of us closer together and oh my gosh do kids benefit from this knowledge. The planet benefits as well as humans. When we all become self sufficient and pass that down onto our children…it’s all good.
Of course my favorite part about having a garden will always be going out in it during the magic hours when the light is perfect. I have brought this part up enough in my garden posts, think this is how I always end these posts. I grab my camera and try to capture the beauty of life that my garden produces everyday. God made a beautiful planet, please treat it with love and kindness so that the planet our children inherent will be as beautiful and even more so then it is now. Happy Earth day and gardening adventures everyone. Remember don’t throw in the towel when things get too difficult, because they will. The best things in life are always worth fighting for and that includes growing your own food.
“ He that plants trees loves others besides himself.”
Special thanks to all you farmers and growers out there, Thank you for feeding the world. You are more important then you realize and we will need you more then ever coming up, please, you and your families stay extra safe out there. May God bless you all.