Friday, September 19, 2008

First Fruits and a Visit to Glenn Cottage

Yesterday Chu and I visited our friend Heidi who defied Tucson's desert environment by planting a "back east" garden. It is beautiful. You won't see salvias, ruellas or daleas in her garden, but you will see hearts and flowers ground cover, holly hocks and morning glory. She waters by hand and her water bill averages around $60 month during the summer. That's less than half of what I pay for my desert landscape on drip irrigation. Much of it is grown in the shade of pine trees. Pam, her next door neighbor, is also an avid gardener. Check out the grape vine that shades her garden in her small patio. Pam grows many
vegetables and has a large watermelon patch that threatens to take over a lot she bought across the street that she is planning to build her house on. Both the grapes and watermelon were delicious.

Heidi has just completed building a chicken coop in her back yard. Unfortunately I became immersed in its construction and forgot to get a photo, but you can see several of her website photos by clicking on Besides providing her with eggs, the two chickens she has just ordered from one of our feed stores will keep her garden free of unwanted insects and other pests that attack her plants and vegetables. I continue to learn about the seemingly endless possibilities that exist for Tucson gardeners. Be sure to click on the above photos to see the planting details.

We harvested our first yellow banana peppers this week from one of our 6 new pepper plants. Peppers are a summer growing vegetable, but our warm fall weather extends their growing season here. My tomato plants are also doing well and if the two Harris hawks that live in our Eucalyptus tree keep the birds away we are looking at a large harvest soon.


The Smiths said...

HELP.....we are again going to attempt a small garden here in Tucson. Actually the Three Points area extreme west side. We have never had issues growing any garden, but Tucson has tested our patience. We netted 3 cherry tomoto sized fruits from 8 Early Gril and Better Boy plants planted Spring. Planted in pots on our deck. Too much water or not enough? Even fertilizer didn't help. Our peppers fared a bit better. Any hints on where to buy banana pepper plants in Tucson? Thank you for your assistance. P.S. We love your website. The Smiths

Brad said...

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith - Thank you for your comment. I've found cherry tomatoes do better in the desert. I have grown them successfully in fiberglass barrels that are the same size as a half wisky barrel. Consistent watering is key. Try the cherry tomatoes at Harlows (from Mexico) as they do very well in this heat. Also the Pima County Extension website has listed their recommendations. Regarding the banana peppers, I bought them at Home Depot. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi Brad,
Our Fall garden did much better than our summer one. This year we will try a few things differently. We are pleased to have found your website. We will attempt to start our tomatoes earlier due to the summer heat. Was told if the blooms don't set before 100 degree temps we can expect crop failure. And we will attempt to locate those beautiful yellow banana peppers before they are gone at Home Depot. We visited Home Depot on Oracle across from the Tucson Mall last night to excitedly find newly arrived veggies. Today the mister is out checking on prices for an affordable greenhouse. A used one would be great! If you have any suggestions please let us know.

Brad said...

Dear Anonymous - Great to hear Fall treated you better than the summer for your vegetables. I have found that to be true as well. My lettece and spinach are still going great guns although the tomatoes exhausted themselves by Christmas. If I run into any specials on greenhouses I will post it here. Happy planting! Brad