Welcome to my gardening blog! Here you will find all kinds of useful information about Gardening including video tutorials and a planting schedule for Maricopa County(at the bottom of the page). I have learned a lot from several different sources- Beverly Austin who teaches an awesome organic gardening class on Saturday mornings at ASU East for just $5, Jim Kennard-the president of the Foodforeveryone foundation and teacher of the Mittleider Method of gardening, and my parents who always had us kids out working on the family garden. I hope you take away useful information and use it in your own gardens but even if you don't do everything I've outlined, the most important thing is that you plant! Now! Nothing will teach you more than actually doing it on your own!

Friday, October 3, 2008


"Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to “prepare every needful thing” (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others. We encourage Church members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve. We realize that some of you may not have financial resources or space for such storage. Some of you may be prohibited by law from storing large amounts of food. We encourage you to store as much as circumstances allow. May the Lord bless you in your home storage efforts. "
-The First Presidency
Hi all. I thought I'd post a little about what is taking over my life lately. I have been really trying to get our house in order for calamities that are unavoidable. Bluntly put, but I'd rather not sugarcoat anything so you know how serious I am. I'm not scared, I just know it needs to get done. Every time we go shopping I get more canned food than I know what to do with. Any basic necessity I buy, I buy extra of. Yesterday I bought 4 deodorants. Aaron said, "Stephanie I have two already." I said, "I know, but wouldn't you be sad if you didn't have any?" I bought more soap when I saw it was on sale. I buy at least 10 of anything canned that's under 60 cents (as long as it's not canned peas, YUCK!!!). I am educating myself about emergency preparedness, alternative energy and gardening. Right now is the time to be planting your fall gardens. Use this chance to learn about gardening. Seeds should be part of your food storage. For Preparedness info, please look at http://www.iwillprepare.com/ , provident living section of lds.org and thanks, Hannah, for this link: http://safelygatheredin.blogspot.com/ .
If you are in the valley of the sun (Arizona) here are a few more resources you should look up:

Cheap water barrels:
Email Bill at Westinaz4@aol.com

Right now is the time to plant your fall garden! If you want to garden, I have a friend who will come and prepare your soil for you (for a fee)

If you'd like to attend an organic gardening class come to ASU East campus every other Saturday at 6:30am with $5 in your pocket and you'll learn a ton!
Email me if you're interested- demanieshs@yahoo.com

Every week, I will post a preparedness tutorial or tip. This week, it's about food storage breakfasts:

(From Sandy Leonard in my ward)
"I recently read from a newscaster his suggestions on storing food for a couple of months and his idea was to eat oatmeal every morning for breakfast. This is a good idea for a number of reasons:
1. The cannery sells oats already canned or you can can your own
2. I ate oatmeal as a child and as a teen almost every morning and I am still not tired of it
3. It is inexpensive
4. You can prepare it by soaking it overnight or by soaking it for a couple of hours in the morning rather than cooking it
5. You can add raisins, craisins, blueberries, banana chips, cinnamon, honey, etc. for variety
I purchase oat groats from Sprouts @ 79 cents/lb & soak them 1/2 C oat groats: 3/4 C water, or less. Before eating I add cayenne pepper, sea salt to taste, flax oil, & soaked seeds, i.e. sunflower, flax, sesame, etc. It is filling, healthy, and inexpensive.
It is good to eat small portions of food throughout the day rather than one big meal once a day. I have sooo much energy when my last meal is @ 4:00pm then my body can fully digest what I have eaten for the day rather than being overtaxed in digesting food all through the night. Less food versus more food = energy if it is nutritious food."


Families Safely Gathered In
Higley Stake Preparedness Fair

November 1, 2008
7:00 – 10:00
Pancake breakfast from 7-8:30 booths open til 10
In the LDS Chapel parking lot on Recker & Warner
· Menus & recipes for 3-month emergency storage
· Gardening
· Herbs and their uses
· First aid
· Long and short term water storage
· Fingerprinting & DNA kits
· Integrating the cannery in daily living – menus & recipes
· Food preservation methods
· Solar cooking and fuel storage
· Humanitarian displays
· And more . . . .

Sunday, September 21, 2008


"Wanted! A vegetable that will grow in any climate, will rival meat in nutritive value, will mature in 3 to 5 days, may be planted any day of the year, will require neither soil nor sunshine, will rival tomatoes in Vitamin C, will be free of waste in preparation and can be cooked with little fuel and as quickly as a ... chop." -Dr. Clive M. McKay, Professor of Nutrition at Cornell University.

Dr. McKay was talking about sprouts. (To see the wonderful nutritional value of Sprouts, see sprout info below the tutorial)

I'm going to teach you all how to sprout alfalfa seeds in your kitchen! It's awesome! My daughter eats sprouts on everything now. She even asked for some on her scrambled eggs the other morning which I hesitated at at first, but heck, why not? She finished the sprouts and left some of the eggs unfinished. LOL I have felt so good since I made these sprouts part of my daily diet, so naturally I want to share the wealth!

First, you need:
-Alfalfa Seeds
-2 Quart Wide Mouth Jar (I recycled a large Mott's applesauce jar)
-a mesh strainer * (I did my first batch without this, but it's easier with it)

Place 1-2 Tbs alfalfa seed in a 2 quart wide-mouth jar & cover w/water overnight.

The next day, pour off water using a small mesh strainer& rinse the seeds. Drain off any and all excess water so seeds will not spoil. After everY rinse, lay jar on it's side and spread the seeds out as much as you can with a butter knife.

For the next few days, keep seeds rinsed to keep them from drying out, straining after each rinse making sure all excess water is removed and lay back on it's side. (I just do this whenever I come into the kitchen)

About the fourth day the seeds begin to sprout white tails. Place them in the sunlight for a day or two so they will turn green in color. **to have them sprout after 1 day see my note below
Once sprouts are about an inch long, or after one week, place moist green sprouts in an airtight bag or container and put them in the fridge for keeping.

Sprouts should be used within 5 days.

Sprouts can be used in soups, on steamed veggies, as lettuce for sandwiches, burros, baked potatos, and salads. They are full of vitamins, minerals, and live enzymes.

The above suggested amount will give you a 2 quart jar full of sprouts.

*Some people like to take a piece of nylon and a rubberband to cover the jar so that you can strain the sprouts easily
** in the initial soak I add a few drops of kelp (you can get this at most gardening stores- it's great for helping plants in distress such as transplant shock as well.) I also keep them in the sunlight from the very beginning. I think a combination of the two has made it so my alfalfa sprouts after about 30 hours instead of the 4 days stated.

It is really only in the past thirty years that "westerners" have become interested in sprouts and sprouting. During World War II considerable interest in sprouts was sparked in the United States by an article written by Dr. Clive M. McKay, Professor of Nutrition at Cornell University. Dr. McKay led off with this dramatic announcement: "Wanted! A vegetable that will grow in any climate, will rival meat in nutritive value, will mature in 3 to 5 days, may be planted any day of the year, will require neither soil nor sunshine, will rival tomatoes in Vitamin C, will be free of waste in preparation and can be cooked with little fuel and as quickly as a ... chop."
Dr. McKay was talking about sprouts. He and a team of nutritionists had spent years researching the amazing properties of sprouted soybeans. They and other researchers at the universities of Pennsylvania and Minnesota, Yale and McGill have found that sprouts retain the B-complex vitamins present in the original seed, and show a big jump in Vitamin A and an almost unbelievable amount of Vitamin C over that present in unsprouted seeds. While some nutritionists point out that this high vitamin content is gained at the expense of some protein loss, the figures are impressive: an average 300 percent increase in Vitamin A and a 500 to 600 percent increase in Vitamin C. In addition, in the sprouting process starches are converted to simple sugars, thus making sprouts easily digested.

One pound of alfalfa seed will yield 10-14 pounds of fresh mini-salad greens. Whether you are on top of a mountain or in a bunker with artificial light, you can still grow this fast, organic food.
Yes, it is fast food, but you won't be sacrificing any nutrition. Alfalfa sprouts have more chlorophyll than spinach, kale, cabbage or parsley. Alfalfa, sunflower, clover and radish sprouts are all 4% Protein. Compare that to spinach - 3%, Romaine lettuce -1.5% and Iceberg lettuce- 0.8%, and milk -3.3%. These foods all have about 90% water. But meat and eggs are the protein foods for Americans. Meat is 19% and eggs are 13% protein (and 11% fat). But Soybean sprouts have 28% protein, and lentil and pea sprouts are 26%. Soybeans sprouts have twice the protein of eggs and only 1/10 fat the fat.

Alfalfa, radish, broccoli, clover and soybean contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals (plant compounds) that can protect us against disease. Canavanine, an amino acid analog present in alfalfa, demonstrates resistence to pancreatic, colon and leukemia cancers. Plant estrogens in these sprouts function similarly to human estrogen but without the side effects. They increase bone formation and density and prevent bone breakdown (osteoporosis). They are helpful in controlling hot flashes, menopause, PMS and fibrocystic breasts tumors.

The sprouts contain 10-100 times higher levels of these enzymes than do the corresponding mature plants.

Alfalfa sprouts are one of our finest food sources of saponins. Saponins lower the bad cholesterol and fat but not the good HDL fats. Animal studies prove their benefit in arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Saponins also stimulate the immune system by increasing the activity of natural killer cells such as T- lymphocytes and interferon. The saponin content of alfalfa sprouts multiplies 450% over that of the unsprouted seed. Sprouts also contain an abundance of highly active antioxidants that prevent DNA destruction and protect us from the ongoing effects of aging. It wouldn't be inconceivable to find a fountain of youth here, after all, sprouts represent the miracle of birth.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Unintentionally Green and loving it!

Ok, so I was (ok, am) the type of person who scoffs at tree huggers and this whole green movement, so how how did I get to this place where I am vermicomposting with worms under my sink, using organic materials to fertilize (kelp), enriching my soil with Vermiculite and composted horse manure, and reusing playdoh containers for my window sill herbs??

Here's how: I've been going to an organic gardening class for a month now given by a woman in my community named Beverly. She is a walking gardening encyclopedia. She can tell you which plants will help your skin, blood pressure, teeth, sinuses, what will make your hair silky smooth, and even plants that will replace the "little blue pill" (these ones grow as weeds in my backyard). I already wanted help getting these dumb plants to thrive in the Arizona heat, but she has taught me way more than I expected! If you're in the area, she teaches a hands-on class every other Saturday morning at 6am. The next one is this Saturday the 6th and she charges 5 bucks a lesson. You can ask her whatever you want and she always has super helpful handouts including when to plant different types of veggies in this area, and good organic recipes for potting soil. If you're interested you can email me and I'll tell you where to go. These little 1 week old beauties are a tribute to her teaching skills. (they came up after 3 days because of all the rain- it also tranplanted seeds to the other side of the pots. Oh well) Thanks Beverly!

Mixed Salad Greens (and flowers)

Sugar Peas

Pie Pumpkins, Canteloupe

Chatantais, Zucchini (I can't remember what those tiny plants are that I put in the middle/left- I guess it'll be a surprise!)

And here is the next place to plant as soon as I get my composted equine manure to help the soil!!! (yes, these are the fences!!!! they are a little dirty after the crazy rain and wind- I haven't cleaned the splatters off yet. If you're wondering what that table thingy is in this picture, go to this post)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Trash to Treasure....

Ok, so the other day I was on my way home and saw some miniature picket fences propped up against the dumpster. Of course I had to throw them in the car and take them home. I have outlined the place I want to put them, now all I have to do is nail the posts straight , sand them, have my kids paint them white, and nail some stakes to the back so I can pound them into the ground. After that's all done, I have to dig out at least 6 inches deep by however big this area is and replace the packed dirt with good, nourishing, airy soil. And then plant. Obviously it's going to take a while, but I have to get it done before I need to plant which will be the beginning of October. So here are the beginning pictures:

I'll post the after pictures when I'm done.

One neighbor, when she saw these at my house, said "Oh my gosh you DID NOT! I saw them by the dumpster and then they were gone. I'd wondered who took them. I should've known it was you!" Another neighbor said that when he drove by the dumpster he thought, "Someone could take those and fix them up nice. I bet Stephanie could find something to do with them." Well, I have. :o) Is it sad that people see junk by the road and think of me? LOL

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gardening and Wormins

Last week I went to an organic gardening class and I am so excited to start gardening! I went straight home and the kids helped me plant Borage (an herb related to mint), basil, parsely, cilantro(coriander), pumpkins, acorn and butternut squashes, giant white radishes (they look like long fingers), canteloupe, bush beans, forget-me-nots (Megan calls them don't-forget-me's), shasta daisies, and sunflowers. I'll post pictures when all of these sprout. what fun! We are also Vermicomposting- which is composting with worms. You just feed them your left over greens and fruits and veggies and they turn it into the other "black gold" that's extremely good for your garden. They also love eggshells. Yummy yummy.

The kids are so excited about it and want to show everyone their wormies when they visit. Right now we have so few worms that they are in a little plastic container with holes poked through for air, but when they breed we'll have to move them to a large container. I chose to do mine inside under the kitchen sink in a sealed container, because I've seen outside ones that friends have done and it attracts all kinds of bugs.I went to Starbucks and got their free coffee grounds because they're really good for plants and the worms LOVE them (supposedly). If you want to learn more about vermicomposting, Martha Stewart did a cool tutorial on her show about it, although she doesn't do it exactly right, but the article that's with the video says the right way to do it. Here's the link

She doesn't really instruct you on how to harvest the compost, but all you have to do is bring the compost to the top of it and bring the container into the light. All the worms will go down away from the light and you just wait for them to get out of it and take it away to use as a fertilizer or plant starter. Use can also use the worm wee (urine) just make sure that you set your composting container on top of a collecting tray. Prop it on top of something so that the liquid can exit and collect. then you take it out and dilute it to use as miracle grow- the cheap and natural version. I know this sounds wierd, but it's so interesting to see how the planet works. What wonderful creations God has made!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Carrot, anyone?

A few months ago the Ward Young Women came and planted carrots and peas in our backyard for one of the girl's value project. The peas are long gone and were VERY sweet and yummy. Any time we went outside, we got a few pods to chomp on while talking with neighbors. Well, the greens of the carrots were getting tall so I picked one to see how big they are right now.... not very. -and they're bitter. I guess we can be patient and wait for them to get big and yummy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

March is here!

I was cutting Matthew's hair this morning because it was looking pretty shabby. during the haircut (outside) Matthew saw a helicopter and said "AIRPLANE!" I said, "that's a helicopter, Matthew." So Matthew said his version of "Helicopter!" to which Megan replied, "Mom! That's Matthew's first hel word!" It was funny.
When you compare the before and after pictures, Matthew looks way better with longer hair, but I swear in real life, it looks good shorter.... and yes, I did eventually get around to wiping that nose..bleh.

After the haircut Megan decided Our newly blooming flowers needed one of those garden picks with the picture of the plant full in bloom, so she drew a picture and put it in the flowerpot.

Aaron found out back from the interview he had- he's been placed on the alternate list for next sememster... so here's to hoping that those accepted decide NOT to go there and they'll get down to Aaron's name! LOL He'll be sending more information to the dental school in Las Vegas (which they requested just after Aaron's interview) and also applying for podiatry school. He's just wants to get going with whatever he's going to be doing.

I've noticed after going through a few pictures recently that unless I ask Megan to stand straight, she'll do a pose every time. She calls it her fashion:

A couple weeks ago I gave in to Megan's begging for a pink bike and instead of buying a pink bike, I just repainted her bike pink. cheap, but effective. She loves it. When we were on a walk down the street we saw that someone had put out in their carport a few chairs and bikes with a huge FREE sign on them. One of the bikes was an old timey blue Schwinn so I took it home, cleaned it up, and used the rest of the pink spray paint on it. I have a new bike! I still need to get a fuzzy black seat cover for it because the original seat doesn't match, no matter how cool I think it is.