Tangent Gardening "Extras"

Urban Gardening in unnatural heat... Why Not?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Return Guest!! Welcome back!!

When I started blogging, I wrote about  Praying Mantis vs Hummingbirds...  Here is a recap!

One year, we were over run with a certain type of insect.

Guess!       No, that's not it!!

The one and the only...

Praying Mantis-

She's on my Bell pepper plant!  

    She was extremely camera shy It took ten shots to get her in this one!

    I have never realized how cool they really were until not having them around for quite sometime.

How alien looking they are?
    I didn't know that tan ones existed. Actually, until I read up on them, from the the link what's that bug, I didn't know there were so many different kinds..

   I had a swarm (is that accurate, or is pod or what? hmm!)  They certainly made it fun going out to the garden and seeing what else can be found.

As I was surfing the net I came across a mantis that actually caught and ate a hummingbird!

                No,    (really? ewwww!)


     I love hummingbirds more than the praying mantis.. But that being said, What amazing power this insect has, to do that!  

    So count yourself lucky to have them in your garden maintaining control and keeping balance good or bad!


   Well my tomatoes are becoming compost fodder as I type.. there was only two little tomatoes left.   That's when I found the praying mantis...  

    I'm not sure what to put in it's place, yet, but, I want to get something in it's place soon...

     think, think, think....


Does anyine have experience with this?  I am intrigued about this process and want to learn about it?

  I think I would like to try it, but I'm not sure what would be the better tree. I would like to know what web source would be recommended to learn from also, if anyone should know, Please share!


 JuJuBee Tree

    My husband came home with a little fruit called a Jujubee.  It is a Chinese date... It is a taste of a really dry apple..  It looks really neat to grow.  I want to see about getting one for my back yard,   I just don't know a lot about it! So I have much research to do! 

    On top of my plans for the front yard garden.....

 Please let me know if you have thoughts and suggestions or even comments on these, I would love, love, love to hear them.....

    This lead me to think and ponder the ideas of more exotic trees too, like mangoes and dragon fruit and a couple others... to add to the list of garden maybes...

Pumpkins and Gourds and Green Bean updates....

The pumpkin is reaching now!
Gourds reach for the sky!
Some green beans growing through the lattice...
 The green beans aren't doing great, but they are still growing so hopefully they will be successful enough!

    On to revamping some of the garden areas...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Hot Mess of Compost!

    I have a composting area, just like most that garden... My composting area is a big hot mess...  I really don't have a way to tame it unless, I run out and buy a big fancy composting bin. I don't have the space  to make a three bin either... so I decided to "bite the bullet" so to speak.. Yes, I started to look on-line and in catalogs, anything to get an idea of what I am looking for.

My husband mentioned that I should  ask my like minded blogger friends what they know...

      SO .....

 *I'm  asking? What would be the best composting system in a small space with the most return of organic material in a small space?
*What works well in small and large spaces?
*What lasts the longest?
*What is the easiest to operate? 
*I guess you can say What is the best bang for the bucks?

Here is my HOT MESS!

   I know, I know!!! It's a crazy mess!

   I did however find on-line, a program that my city has,  they actually bring out compost bins to use, I found it by chance.

   It is a program sponsored by the city of Mesa, for a refundable 5.00 deposit, they bring you a compost bin.

How cool is that?

   I just haven't a clue of what it really looks like, but they have an on-line "how to" that  I can follow..  
I will be calling on Monday to get listed in the program. I am actually really excited!


   I need to do something with these peaches, I think that I will be freezing them...
I am really not sure but I think it is peach season now! I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch.. This was Tuesday, but they are starting to ripen fast!

Freezing Peaches  (be kind I've never done this)... 

Cut an X on the bottom of Peach... Then...

Step 1. Boil water

Step 2. Plunge peaches in water for 40sec.

Step 3. Pull from water plunge in ice water  

Step 4. Peel and put in water (lemon juice)

Step 5. Slice and Freeze

I didn't really know what else to do, other than cook or bake, I haven't the time today!

He's BACK!!!

   This morning I was busing myself with things inside,  I peered outside and saw a big black bird messing around with something. I had to throw my kitchen scraps out, well, I took a look, but didn't see anything out of the ordinary. I went about my business, again I noticed the bird out there again, this time on my eggplant.

   When he saw me, he took off.
   Guess What the bird left?

          Look who is back!!! (eewww!!)

A skewered remnants of a Caterpillar!!!

   I think he has been there for a short time, I had seen a little damage from him eating on my eggplant, but just for a short time.

 All is well with my eggplant.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Quiet Friday Until...

All is quiet at 7:00 a.m.  (94 degrees out)

   I decided to give myself, Friday morning off, you know sit in my yard read a little, "tinker" as my husband calls it.. yada, yada, yada!
  I know it is humid, the air is heavy, 94 degrees at 7:00 a.m. There is a little cloud cover.

  For AZ, that my friends, is the best it will be as Monsoon season comes upon the last month.

  I am taking notes of the things that I need to take care of throughout the yard. I am cleaning up some parts of the garden that needs it.

   As I'm looking though the tomatoes, Look Who I found?

   I knew he was lurking around. I found remnants of him all around, but I couldn't see him at all.. Then "lucky me", I pushed back some of the branches to pull up old debris, and there he was.

What a little booger! I got you sir, I got you!

 Lettuce Update!!!
    My lettuce experiment is going well. I love how soft and yummy it looks..

Grand Rapids
mescalin mix

How they look together


   But I really want to show this flower, I'm not sure what type of lettuce flower it is But the color is so vivid and pretty!

   I have an on going battle with my Beautiful, spiteful Bougainvillea. Where it is planted, it hides the A/C.. I have to keep it trimmed constantly, or it will take over, At every trimming time, It certainly takes a poke at me. I think that it heard me yell at it, threatening to yank it out by the very last root it sprouted. Maybe, I shouldn't have done that!  I donate blood at least 6 times a year... But here she is..


   There are gaps from the freeze this winter,  In January we had a real bad freeze that wiped out a lot of things in the yard, I thought for sure that the eggplant was affect, but, Boy!  I was surprised, when it decided to come on.

    This one shows beautiful muted salmon color flowers or Bracts as it is called, I think! It will show some flowers when it isn't so hot and humid..

    The hummingbirds love to sit in the branches, there is usually a spider web that in between it and Momma Aloe, and the Humming bird grabs at it for it's nest and the insects caught up in it to eat. It is really fascinating to watch..

My opal purple basil is growing very well, I hope to be able to use it as a border in the garden areas...

   How pretty will that be with marigolds mixed in!!

   The visual  scene will be incredible...

   I think If I play my cards right, I think that I will be able to get some to transplant out in the front yard container garden!

   I will be starting to plan my front yard with pictures and things for this weekend... Hooray, how much fun will this be for meeee!!! 

    On to my planning!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Resorting To What One Owns!

  I have so much basil, not only is it bolting, it is coming out my ears,
Well, not really... but  a fellow blogger was putting some basil up and made it look beautifully easy.. and "that" I thank you, to The Ebullient Gardener..

    It starts by, me getting all giddy I just can't wait to start washing and chopping, Then I go to grab my ICE TRAYS!!!  Gosh darn it, I can't find them anywhere.. So, silly me, I thought I would just go to the store to buy some, easy task right??

   Oh! NO! Why would that be simple?

   I look in the first store, "none", that's okay right?  So go to the second store, I search the place... "none, nada," Okay, feeling a little agitated, nothing too major.. I move on.
   Last, store, knowing they have everything.... I have no doubt that ice trays would be at this particular store....Again I go in with great enthusiasm, ready to grab, pay and go.  I walk down the isle that has everything that you could imagine for the kitchen, I have no doubt, total hope...
   As I pass each item, hope diminishes, until I reach the end of the row, the inevitable introduces itself,  none, nada, zero!!!

    Are you kidding me? What are the chances that three stores in a row have  "NO ICE TRAYS!!!"

    I'm standing there, I glance over to a shelf, while my mother is talking and looking for the trays with me, for that chance shot that we missed them in some way. I zone out, Light bulb!!! I have an idea.... wait!, "I do?" Yes!!, I do!!!
    I get this insanely great idea, One that I'm sure someone out there is thinking to themselves, "They knew that!" Right? (Shrugging that off), I see tin foil throw away muffin tins..

    Of course, What a great idea...
    OMG! Why did, I, waist all this time looking for these stupid ICE TRAYS???? When, all I had to do was look in my cupboard, and say that should work...! Hmm?...

   Sometimes, my little dealings like this particular one, well, it keeps me on my toes, laughing at myself! (well Quietly anyway!). Holy Cow!!

Hence, search before you search!!!

    So I as you know it I start, my "little" project...

 Step 1.  Collect basil, wash and chop...
 Step 2.  Line tine with plastic wrap...
 Step 3.  Pack compartments of tins with chopped basil...
 Step 4.  Fill filled compartments with water...
 Step 5.  Freeze tins

Finished for the moment and doing the "hurry up and wait!!"

In the case of birds vs Me and Green Beans...

   So for the solution for placing a bird bath by the green beans seems to be working and, I have been putting the feed a small distance away for where the green beans grow... I am getting all new green bean sprouts, so I am relieved that I may get a great harvest!...


   My potted plant menagerie,  Well, really did not go so well... The only three plants that survived as of to date... Is Beautiful Portulaca, and yellow lantana, and the fabulous Shazam... Still beautiful...

   New projects are stewing in my brain, My husband will be thinking OH! NO! But little does he know he stuck them in my head?

Thank you dear!

   I will be plotting new locations in my front yard, The world of Container Gardening, Yes, adding a whole new dimension to the look of my house and yard.. I do have concern of what HOA might say.. But this is container gardening and I can move them if it is a problem!

      So, I will be talking (blogging about it soon)....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Momma Aloe Vera!!!!

   I was taking moment and really looking at my yard, I glanced over here, and walked over there, you know taking it in...
   I realized, years ago a dear friend of my mother, (and of mine), gave me this small pot, with it, an Aloe Vera plant was just peering over the rim. Now this pot was either a 6 inch or 8 inch, mind you this was 10 years ago.
  I never really gave it much mind, I left it in the corner that it is in now. It has never been anywhere else, except two feet to right of it's place at present.
   It loves this spot, It loves this spot so much that I have plantlings constantly... I have fear that Momma Vera, will soon break her pot, and I won't be able to put her back together again, but...

Offspring Of Momma Vera!
   This particular offspring has been through **** and back, It was a gift for my daughter to put in her room, Of course, it didn't look like this.. it grew gangly, and weak, to the point of, being abandon outside in the worst of conditions.
   So in June, I decided to take it and clean it up, recondition the medium, a snip here and a snip there, and Whalaa! Here it is, plus another offshoot to boot..   THIS OFFSPRING CAME FROM....


ALOE VERA, (aka Momma Vera)

   This plant has survived everything, from micro-burst weather, to massive downpours, to even sweltering 120 degree weather.

   Would I recommend this plant?

   What a question to ask! Is the earth round?, Is the sky blue?, Am I crazier than... well?

   Of Course I would recommend this plant... This is I would say a "must" plant to have in any garden, not only medicinal, but structurally beautiful, It can withstand anything pretty much dished to it...... Think about!! Try it! You might like it!

Chili Pepper Update...

   The beginning of the week, it was reported that there was a near disaster, (well drowning)... UnHappy Habanero, is of late not recovering well, It is still in critical condition... So, my thoughts, are with it and hope for a more speedy recovery, or
   Just stop playing around  Habanero and get with it!!!! (okay, tangent...)(or is a tantrum)...
   Thai Chili, I must say is expiring as I type, (may you reach the Chili Peppers, in the great heaping compost)..

But I'll leave it in the ground just in case, much worse has happen, and resiliency became the victor before.... just maybe it will happen again...
Un-Happy Habanero
Thai Chili

Soon to be Happen-in!!!!

   Pretty soon, the tomato plants will be compost fodder,  and I will have new space to plant something new, but what?

   What would be a suitable replacement?  AZ is a two season experience.... Broccoli, more beans, peas, (eeww!, but pretty)?  Hmmm! contemplation is in play now....  Think! Think! Think!...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Never Give Up, You Might Get Surprised!

   I was going through, checking around making sure all is right in my world.  Look, I found another cucumber, Ya!!!

A crazy cucumber and a couple of tomatoes the the "waahhooo" cucumber!

But the Big Surprise of all for me is, I actually have a Zucchini coming!!!!! Waahoooooo!!!!  LOOKKK!!
But, I think that this is a straight neck squash.. Though..
 I actually think that it is a straight neck...
My little simple moments, amazes me even!

Green Beans-

 The green beans that I just planted, are coming up, they are actually emerging!!! I'm so excited!
One actually emerging!!

Hello green bean, Nice to see you!!!

 Look how big my pumpkin looks. I can't wait to see it make pumpkins, 
Pumpkin, certainly not hindered from the bird marauding!! but was tasted...

Oh!, and my bird house gourds look amazing!!!!
Beautiful Bird house Gourds!!!

Elephant Ear Crazier than..... You know!

On to the Elephant Ear, so "impatient me", decided to find out if I even had a chance of it sprouting...

Yes! I did the unthinkable!!!

 I took my little shovel scraped away the soil a little at time...  until, I came to the top of the bulb...

Guess What I find??? The most shocking sight ever!

Elephant Ear Mush!!! (Bulb!!)
I was so sad, I dug it out completely and this is what it looks like....

"So, My Husband," as I quietly sigh!  You as a lot of the time, Are Correct With This Conclusion, but Only of this one Sir!!
I concede, I'm crazier than well, You guessed it!

So, I will be looking for the ever so challenging of projects to see if, "I truly am" the "Crazier than ... Well!!"

Wish me luck for the next time! 

On to find the next challenge, DEAR! lol!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Food, Dehydrating, Omg! What is with my Chili Plants!

   Yesterday, I made muffins. No, not just any muffins.... The easiest muffins ever, well for me. I have a recipe that is just so basic that I never realized "that" packaged stuff was wasting my money...
Carrot Confiture Muffins

2       cups flour (I'm sure it can be the flour of choice)
1       Tbsp baking powder ( I used double acting)
1/2    tsp salt
2       egg whites
1/4    cups veg oil (I'm sure canola oil would be fine too)
1 1/4 cups skim milk (I used 2% milk)
1/4    cup of sugar and 4 tbsp of jam...

1. Preheat your oven to 400° F. Grease your muffin tin. I used the veggie spray.

2. Combine all the dry ingredients first, flour baking powder, only tbsp of the sugar.  (I think that maybe double that, if you like), and salt. Mix all together
    Make a well in the center of the flour...
    Add egg whites, oil, and milk and mix until moist, only until moist because the batter will get tough.
    Fill the muffin cups 2/3's full with the batter.

   Then with the Carrot Confiture, I inserted into the center of each muffin, about a teaspoon. I used way more than 4 tablespoons that it called for just so you know.
Then with the rest of the sugar, I sprinkled over the top of each muffin. I think like a strudel type topping would be ever so yummy too...

   I baked it for 15 minutes, but the recipe called for 20 minutes. I suggest the old toothpick method... insert toothpick, if comes out clean, muffins are baked...

   I think if cinnamon were added, it might give a new dimension of taste or whatever your whim would be.

      Yummy and fluffy! (and not to sweet)!

Omg! What is with my Chili plants!!!

   The one thing I find extremely funny is when I started my plant menagerie. I was really worried about my Portulaca plant, What do I do with it? Is it going to work in the pot it is in now?, etc... etc.. etc..

   Well, It is beautiful!!!, No worries. I should have been looking closer,and worried about my Thai Chili, and now!!! My happy Habanero!!! Ahhh! It is suffering, so much so, that it was drooping and ill...

   It was so sad, I asked my husband, What do you think I should do with it? In my mind, I was thinking what he was going to say to me! Take it out of the pot and put it in the ground as soon as you can! So I commenced with that decision..

In the ground it went... 

   When I took it out of the pot I did not even realize, and really didn't expect to think that this was the culprit...

   I planted the chili pepper WITH the coconut husk pot! That was supposed to be "okay"? Right!!! It was to go along with the plant in the ground, or where ever it was going to go, etc....  or that is the claim,... Well,

    For all those that it works for, Hooray for you! I am not saying this with ill will at all, I wish it worked for me, But it did not, and it was proven!! 
   It kept all the moisture in the pot and essentially, Happy Habanero was drowning.... So, I am a killer of chili pepper plants... But anyway, I took it out of the husk thing and dug a hole, and put it in the ground, and then gave it a dose of transplant shock helper stuff, The vitamin B liquid..

   So I certainly hope that Un- Happy Habanero will come around, because Thai Chili has not come around..(yet!)

Dehydrating Eggplants....

   So 4:30 in the afternoon, I'm  in the kitchen blanching Eggplant... It was unbelievably easy to dehydrate eggplant... cut eggplant in 1/2 inch slices, drop them in boiling water for 4 minutes... plunge them in ice-cold water for the same amount of time, then pat them dry throw on tray to dehydrate...

The longest part of  "all this", was to wait for them to dehydrate...  It took between 9 to 20 hours for them to finish the process...

The end product: 

   Now the one thing I didn't do, was peel them, I think maybe I should have! I didn't put any type of lemon juice on them either, maybe I should have done that too!

   Wrapping all this up, I have made some wacky judgements, but I certainly think that all of the things like should've, would've, could've hind-sights, is a positive.

   Now, I know, I can certainly play around and not get in to too much trouble!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Carrots, and a new recipe!!

        By Laura Calder

   I talked about making this carrot confiture, and I am trying this from a T.V. show "French Food  At Home"... I love how easy the recipes look... Laura Calder makes a lot of the process look like you can do it at home (and not in a studio). So here I am..... trying it..
   I have all the ingredients except the lemon zest but how would we know if we don't try it any way...
My crazy carrots and all the ingredients

    So I slices up my carrots like it said to, and I threw them in the pot brought it to a boil, boiled them until soft...

sliced carrots, with enough water to cover them

    I then needed to puree in a food mill, well I don't have a food mill, I used my submerge-a-blender( I don't know what it is called but it is the hand held puree machine thing...)

ingredients measured out
   I blended it, threw the sugar in and the lemon juice, brought it to a boil. When it came to a boil, that's when I started to time how long to boil it, I cooked it for approx. 10minutes. I took it off the heat and then added the almonds and cognac let set up and cool..  

boiling and becoming "Glassy and Jammy"as said by Laura Calder

    The end product... Now I didn't do the canning process, so I'm storing them in the fridge. We well eat them up as soon as possible. I could have done the processing, but I didn't have new lids for the jars and well, you just don't use old lids do you now? 

Done! I got 3 1/2 8oz jars not 2

   This recipe is easy to make and I recommend trying it.  The thing I think should've been added is the lemon zest, it would have added that zing and texture to  it. It reminded me, as my husband said, "like an applesauce", so I think that I would make it chunkier and I think I will boil it about 15 to 20 min instead of 10 min and not on so high of heat,  maybe a medium heat ( I had it at medium high...)


  • 1 pound carrots, peeled
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Zest of 1 lemon
  •  Juice of 2 lemons
  • 10 whole almonds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac


  1. Slice the carrots and put them in a saucepan covered with water. Boil until very soft, then run through a food mill to purée. Stir the sugar into the purée in a saucepan. Add the lemon zest and juice, bring to a boil, and cook until glassy and jammy. Remove from the heat and stir through the chopped almonds and the Cognac. Cool. Enjoy on bread with slabs of cold butter.

I found this spongy goo, awhile ago, on my rosemary and Guess What It Is???

Spittle Bugs...

           ( A.K.A. Frog hoppers)
What in the world is this sponge looking stuff on my rosemary?

Did  some investigating about this particular mystery... and well, Lets just say,

           "Who is this?" and "What is it doing on my rosemary?" Jus' kidding... I found this...

spittle bug (AKA frog hopper among many names...)

   Thank goodness, this insect doesn't do much damage, and their numbers are usually small. You can use the hose and spray the plant down it will dislodge them, really pesticides are probably excessive, unless there is a unmanageable population. They only last or stay a few weeks, then they are gone. They like pine trees, and junipers, that will explain being on my rosemary...

As of now I do not see any type of goo or these insects!! Hooray, I didn't even use pesticides!!

How's that?  

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