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!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How to make rows!

Here is a diagram of how to make your rows Mittleider style- please click on it to see the full view. A video tutorial is also available on Gardening with Mittleider part II

Saturday, October 31, 2009

How to Transplant

I think the most transplanted plant would have to be basil. You buy your little plant from a Sprouts or Fresh and Easy and take it home and plant it. Easy, right? Then why is it dead now?
At the Preparedness fair this morning I had a lot of questions from people about how to transplant a plant without killing it- Good question!
It is best to transplant at night and if at all possible, during a rainy season. Take the plant out of the container it's in along with all of the dirt it's planted in (trying not to break too many roots). We want to protect the roots as much as possible! Gently loosen the roots in the dirt and plant into moist soil, packing roots in pretty good so they have contact with the new soil. Water it liberally.
Watch your plant after it's been transplanted and if it looks like it's suffering, water it with some dilluted liquid Sea Kelp/Seaweed that you can get at your local garden store- I've even found it at Walmart of all places. This comes in a large jug, however, you will only be using a small amount in this process and this jug will last you years. Once I was taught this I never lost another plant to transplant shock! YAY!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

7-week progress

Hey y'all! These are pictures from my 7 week progress. sorry I'm posting this so late- I took these pics and videos right before girls camp so didn't post them and then I got home on the 13th, took pictures again and didnt post them because I have been exhausted cleaning, getting dental work done (yes, I know, when will it end?), and a ton of other stuff. I had a sleeping bag stolen off of my porch by the way (I left the camping stuff out there and have been gradually putting things away. grr.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

6-week Progress and Garlic!

Hey y'all! Here is the 6 week progress video(s). I took two different videos and I like both so I'm showing both :o)

Also, I dug our garlic up, braided the roots together and hung it to dry! I'm sad that I only harvested 2 of them- the others I had to dig up and transplant to pots to make room for the garden in April and I wasn't able to save them- the larger of these two was transplanted and did alright but I had three die on me :o( I ripped too many roots. I can't wait to plant some more in October! What fun!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

4-week progress

Click here for the 3-week progress. You will be amazed at how much all of this stuff has grown in a week. Here is a video of my garden in it's 4th week of existance. I'll do a tutorial on the pvc watering system for you guys if you want, just let me know. It was a lot of fun and it now takes about 1 minute to water my garden. awesome.

If you haven't read about the garden, please see

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This is a serious problem..... I have these tomatoes ripening left and right and they are soooo good. I'm actually quite surprised I love them so much because I'm not really a tomato person. and definitely not a cherry tomato person. I hate the feeling of the tomato bursting in your mouth. yuck. I do not like tomatoes in salad, but I do like a good tomato sliced thick with salt and pepper. mmmmm. these are perfect for that (even though they are small) they are so yummy with a little s&p. yay for the first veggies yielded from my delectable garden.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

3-WEEK Progress

Below is a video of my garden after 3 weeks- I have since thinned the plants (this means that since I planted 2 or more seeds in each spot, I had to choose the biggest healthiest plant and eliminate/pull out the others) and they have grown a lot mot more- even after 2 more days.

If you haven't read about the garden, please see

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Gardening with Mittleider part III

Before reading this post, please be sure to read:

- by the way, Matthew has his own small shovel now :o)

I have the rest of the initial videos downloaded and so here is part III: (while some of these things seem simple to a lot of us, not everyone here has even picked up a shovel, so, there you go.)

So sorry about the tutu folks. Welcome to my life :o)

This one is really dark, SO sorry!

So basically just wrap the end of a dishtowel around the end of your hose and rubberband it in place. Lay the towel-hose at the end of the row between the peaks, turn the water on low and let it seep out to fill up the row 1" deep full of water. I water mine every morning so they are watered and ready to face the HEAT! 105 degrees today! I need to get my shade cloth! (we will talk about this soon)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gardening with Mittleider part II

Hey everyone- oh my goodness these videos are a bear to upload!! I have been trying to do them at night so that we can use the computer during the day, but sometimes they're not done in the morning so we've had to cancel the almost done uploads several times. bleh. I thought I'd post the first four vids and a few tips up to that point and then on part III I'll continue to give tips and show videos. My plants have been in for a week and a half now and actually started sprouting 2 days after. I love Arizona!
The cucumbers won the sprouting race

ok, here are some of my notes from the seminar:

Control 6 Elements for Success:

1. Light

Your plants must have full sunlight all day long! No trees, shrubs, fences. Plants can even shade themselves. Prune off excess sucker stems so there is plenty of air and light.

2. Temperature

Seed usually don't germinate until they reach 75-80 degrees. If your climate is a cold one, you can build a mini frame around your rows and cover it with greenhouse plastic (uv protected). If your climate is too hot, use the same frame but cover it with 30% white shade cloth (30% is maximum- you can go lower). And only cover in the hottest parts of the day. Plants will stop fruiting once the temperature reaches 95 degrees.

3. Air

Plants receive air through the roots- they need soil air. No standing water, so avoid flooding. Make your beds 2 inches above the height of the walk ways to promote drainage.
If you have a problem with clay soil, make your beds and then mix in sand to make up 30% of the bed and your problem is solved.
If you are container gardening, use sawdust and 30% sand to fill instead of dirt. This helps with air supply, drainage, and spread of nutrients given to the plants.

4. Water

A plant is a continuous water pipe from the tip of the smallest root to the top of the highest leaf.
When you first water your seeds keep the beds wet until they sprout. After that, water once a day first thing in the morning -1 inch of water in the bed and that's it. if you live somewhere especially wet and dry like AZ you may need to water 2x a day in the summer. If your plant is wilting it is dying, so watch your plants to see if they need more water.
If you have a problem with salinity (salt) in the soil, create the beds, then flood it three times and it will get the salt far enough down away from the planting area that your plants wont be affected.

It is important to have level beds so that all nutrients given to the plants will stay and soak into the soil where they are placed, rather than running to the lowest point of the bed when watered. (I have a video of how to level the beds coming soon)

Water only the root zone of the plant. *Do not sprinkle* this will water weeds, waste water and promote disease. Try your hardest to not get the rest of the plant wet when you water- this just promotes disease as mentioned. If you automate water using an above the ground drip system it will be easier, faster, and more efficient. Using 3/4 inch #200 psi pvc piping (painted with exterior paint) and drill 3 #57bit holes every 4 inches. Set this on a 6"long 2x4 to suspend above root zone. (when I make mine I will video and post)

5. Food
A plant can not grow beyond it's most limiting factor. In my opinion food is, in most cases, the most limiting factor. There are plenty of the nutrients that your plant needs in most soil, however, many are bonded to other elements and cannot be absorbed by the roots, so they do you no good. The food given to plants must be water soluble and available to roots. The 13 natural mineral nutrients needed for the best growth and health of the plant are:
Major Elements
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium in the form of Potash
Otherwise known as NPK and is available at any garden center. You will need 16-16-16. 16-16-16 is the relative percentage % of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium(K) .
Plants use these nutrients to develop different parts; N builds strong leaves, Phosphate builds strong roots, and Potash promotes root development and disease resistance.

Secondary Elements
  • Calcium
  • Sulfur (Ca and Sulfur are found in gypsum)
  • Magnesium (epsom Salt)
Trace Elements
  • Zinc
  • Boron
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Chloride
  • Molybdenum
A continutous supply of these elements is best, so feed them every week! I will include the fertilizer recipes at the bottom of this post.
6. Competition
weeds, bugs, animals

Weed early and often. do not use mulch. keep ground dry and bare.
Prevent disease and bugs! Pick fruits as soon as they are ripe and prune your plants so that no leaves are touching the ground (we will be training all our plants UP). Clear the ground of any trimmings and pull out and dispose of plants as soon as they are done fruiting. Do not let fruit rot on the plant. Do not let your plants get over-watered.
Other notes:
A lot of people are concerned about the pH of the soil. For us in the southwest, the pH of soil is fixed when you add the preplant mix with gypsum. To determine if your soil is acidic or alkaline, a good rule of thumb is: any place that gets more than 20" of rain a year is acidic and any place that gets less than 20" is alkaline. If you live somewhere with more than 20" of rain a year, replace the gypsum in the preplant recipe with pulverized lime or garden lime. A good gardening pH is 6.
The fertilizer recipes are as follows:

Preplant mix
80 parts gypsum (find in a large bag at most gardening stores)
4 parts Epson salt (Found at the drug store in First Aid)
1 part Boron (found at most grocery stores in the laundry isle as BORAX laundry booster)
Remember these are parts not percents. Add to center of the isles once they are made and leveled. cut into soil until you cant really see it anymore and then level again. You don't want to add before isles are made because it's a waste of fertilizer. You will be adding 1 oz or 2 tablespoon per square foot.
Weekly Feed
25 lb bag NPK
4 lbs Epsom Salt
10oz of Magic Mix (I get this from the foodforeveryone.org website. It has the trace elements that are very hard to find, and when they are found can only be purchased in large quantities. Foodforeveryone has small bags with all of it mixed in the correct proportions. Either only mix as you need it or invest in some perlite to add so that once mixed, it doesn't get wet and goopy. )
Apply 1/2 oz or 1 Tbs per square foot close to, but not touching the plant. Do not work into soil (except when you are adding it along with the preplant mix), just water it and it will gradually dissolve into soil. When to apply: with the preplant mix, 3 days after all sprouts come up, and then once per week until after harvest.
Here are the first four videos. Please excuse what a horrible tutorial maker I am and my pants that are falling off during all these videos. I pulled the pants out of the dryer before they were completely dry so they never got set in their real shape, got stretched out in the first 2 minutes, and were huge in me all day during all these videos. Also, as you can see by the shadows in the videos, I didn't follow the mittleider method completely in getting full sun, but the important thing is to do the best with what you have. You have no excuse to not be gardening!

ok, I actually said the wrong amount to apply on this video- it's 2Tbs per square foot. The weekly feed is 1 Tbs per running square foot. Sorry about that! Just mix up a bunch and share your left overs with your neighbors! That's what I've been doing!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Gardening with Mittleider part I

If I haven't spoken to you about the Mittleider Method Seminar given by Jim Kennard I went to a few weeks back, I'm sorry. I plan to remedy that in this here post. You must find out about this way cool way to garden with less water, less money, and in any kind of soil. It's awesome. Jim Kennard has been a humanitarian missionary for the lds church because of his knowledge of this method and along with Jacob Mittleider, Jim (the President of the FoodForEveryone Foundation) has traveled the world teaching people how to garden the smart way, boosting the economy of many third-world countries (and some not so third-world). I have so many stories about this but I'm only going to tell you about one since I want to keep your attention!

In Papua New Guinea they were having problems with cannibalism. Whenever a tribal war was won, the winning tribe would eat the losing tribe. People were getting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (the human version of mad-cow disease-allegedly contracted from eating the brains of a member your species) which causes dimentia, speech impairment, jerky movements (myoclonus), balance and coordination dysfunction (ataxia), changes in gait, rigid posture, and seizures. Usually people will die within weeks to months of getting it and there is no known cure. The Australian military came in and put a stop to the cannibalism, but then the people needed a new primary source of food. They sustained their tribes on sweet potatoes, but not well. In the area that Jacob Mittleider visited, the hospital and school were about to be shut down because they couldn't feed the people the necessary 5lbs of potatoes per day. After Mittleider came and showed them how to garden his way, their sweet potatoes were 5 times as large as they used to be and were grown quicker and so yeilded more crops per year. They were able to sell and barter their sweet potatoes and thrived as farmers. One boy who was taught this method, Sir Silas Atopare, grew to become President of Papua New Guinea from 1997-2003.

AMAZING???? I know!

So, with that being said, I am going to continue into my first installment of "Gardening with Mittleider." At the free seminar, we were given a handout that I will share with you about how the rows are supposed to look and how this method differs from traditional gardening.

If you want me to email you these notes so they're easier to read, just let me know. Also, if you click on them they will become a tiny bit larger.

Here is a little bit about the Method from Jim Kennard:

Here is my garden planning vid:

Sorry about that weird little bit about the Frankenstein corn dog. I'm such a freak.
In the next installment I will provide videos of me making my beds, leveling the beds, and the awesome sand-planting of the seed. How exciting, right? ha ha- you know you're interested! Show me the love by commenting so I know I have people interested in reading about this!

PS- If you're a gardener, here is a Gardening Journal from FFE foundation you might appreciate



Saturday, February 28, 2009

Garden Tour

I decided to make this garden tour a post of it's own instead of adding it to the last post. That's so it will show up as a change on my blog and people will actually come and check it out :o). I just need to apologize for how annoying I am in this video. sorry. Listen to the way i say peppers- what the heck kind of accent is that? Also, I turn the vid on it's side at times but it eventually turns back, so just bear with me!

Since then.....
My tomato and pepper plants are twice as big as they are in the movie and it's only a week later!

My mixed greens have grown and I cleaned up all the dead leaves- looks a little more appetizing, eh?When you saw my brussel sprout plant in the video, were you wondering where the actual sprouts were?

Here they are! On the top of each branch next to the trunk of the plant are small darker green balls- one per branch. Those will grow in to the brussel sprouts. Aren't plants interesting??Here are the carrots we picked today! Nice and big! We are picking them a little at a time so that they don't go to waste. We shared this yummy carrot today- it was a little bitter near the bottom, but as the carrot got bigger it got sweeter and yummier.Right Megan?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Radishes. simply put.

Wordless Monday..................