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Garden Progress & This Week's Goals

Larkspur The Prudent Homemaker

Larkspur. These reseed themselves in the garden every year.


I tried last week for a shortened to-do list for the week, and still, it didn't happen.

It reminded me of this quote from C.S. Lewis.

C S Lewis Quote The Prudent Homemaker

Interestingly enough, my children picked this video to watch on Sunday, which was a great thing for me to see in relation to the coming week. The ending made me cry (for a good reason). It's worth 9 minutes of your time: You Never Know How Much Good You Do

What did I accomplish last week?

I did get the children's shower curtains washed, and my bathtub emptied of plants, pots, and dirt. I still need to replant the pots that I overwintered for way too long in the house; I think I'll remove the ginger bulbs and try them in the garden, and replant the pots with begonias (I found some bulbs online) for the shade by the front door. I still need to plant the seedlings that are growing in one pot into the garden.

I went to Lowe's to buy some pots to plant my hibiscus plants. This wasn't even on my to-do list, but it should have been.  I didn't end up liking any of their options, but when I first walked into the department, I saw two large white hydrangea plants.

I've been wanting to grow hydrangeas for a long time.

Growing up in the desert, they're not something I've ever seen except in photos. I had been doing some reading on hydrangeas just a few days before I saw them, and I went home with one of them that night. The clerk told me they had got 6 plants in the day before, and those 2 were already all that was left. 

White Hydrangeas 1 The Prudent Homemaker


The next morning I was certain I wanted the other one, and I went back to get it. It was still there. I brought it back and planted it.

 Hydrangea The Prudent Homemaker

Both of these are up against the house, where they are in shade most of the day.

Hydrangea buds The Prudent Homemaker

Later I went to Home Depot to look at their pots (I checked online first and found one I liked). I took a different child with me to the store this time (I try to take one child at a time to the store for some individual time with mom). We bought the pots, and on the way home, as we approached the cemetery, my daughter asked when we could go to grandma's grave again.

"Right now," I said, and pulled into the cemetery.

That wasn't on my to-do list--but I'm sure glad we did it.

When we came home, Wren helped me plant the hibiscus.

I didn't plant the apricot tree, but I did take out the old pomegranate (a few years ago it stopped producing, overshadowed by other trees that had grown up near it. I removed it and moved it into a pot, but it still didn't produce. I think it needs a sunny spot in the ground. Two weeks ago, I bought a new, smaller pomegranate tree to replace it). I gave the old pomegranate to my neighbor, who already had a hole partly dug, and whose sons were visiting and able to finish digging the hole for her (something else had died in the spot, so she also had drip irrigation to the spot already). Wren, Ivory, and I planted the new pomegranate in the pot.

I spent time this week listening to a child who really needed to talk.

Later, my husband and I spent time discussing the needs of that child and what we can do to help her with those things.

 Passionfruit Flowers The Prudent Homemaker

Maypop Passionfruit Flowers


I did manage to pull out most of the pea plants, all of the broccoli plants, and a good number of dill plants. I planted Armenian cucumber seeds, dahlia seeds, and porutlaca seeds. I planted a few gladiolus bulbs. I took out and replanted several iris bulbs that were where the hydrangea went it. That required me to dig up several leeks, which will need to be planted elsewhere this week.

I moved the crib to the garage, though my husband will still have to find a place for it there.

I photographed and listed one item for sale on the Facebok gargae sale page.

I collected green onion seeds from the garden.

I went to Sam's Club and did my shopping there.

I didn't plant the Chinese lantern seeds. It says on the packet that they need at least 2 weeks of cool temepratures, and to refrigerate them, so I put them in the fridge.

I found a number of grape leaf skeleteonizer eggs. This is months earlier than they appeared last year. I will have to be diligent about checking the leaves of all of my vines and taking off infected leaves.

I did decide to have two girls switch rooms, which should make for quieter afternoons.

This week's goals, then, include some new items, and most of the same items from last week.  The Katy apricots and Desert Gold peaches look to be ripe some time this week, so they'll need to be picked, eaten, and processed.



1. Replant leeks in a new spot or two in the garden

2. Remove the rest of pea vines

3. Harvest Katy apricots and Desert Gold peaches

4. Plant zucchini, butternut squash, sunflower and red noodle bean seeds

5. Plant artichoke seedlings in the garden

6. Spray euonymus hedges for powdery mildew (I use an organic cottonseed oil for this)

7. Cut and dry chamomile buds

8. Plant raspberry bushes

9. Fix damaged drip lines and run a few new drip lines

10. Plant apricot tree

11. Pot begonias

12. Plant the other summer bulbs I ordered that came: gladiolus, dahlia (I'm trying seeds and bulbs), and lilies.

13. Reseed bare spots in grass

14. Remove dead leaves from center circle in back and plant zinna seeds in their place

15. Plant 2 tomato plants that have been waiting for the broccoli to come out

16. Put up tomato cages and stakes, and wire cages to stakes

17. Check grape vines for grape leaf skeletonizers and remove infected leaves

Organization and Cleaning:

1. Photograph and list several items for sale on Facebook garage sale pages

2. Take non-sold items to thrift store for donation at the end of the week

3. Hang pictures (I'm moving pictures around in a few places in the house)

4. Clean out behind fridge (we're blowing out the coils with the air compressor)

5. Clean dust in kitchen and main living areas after cleaning behind fridge :)

6. Help girls switch rooms


1. Take photos for three blog posts this week


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  • Becky May 04, 2015

    What I love about your lists, is you break them down into manageable bites... instead of saying, plant the garden (which is on my list) I should say plant XX,YY in the garden, AA&BB can be planted in a few weeks.
    Instead of "clean the house" you say dust the kitchen and dining room.

    So simple.

  • Preppy Pink Crocodile May 04, 2015

    I just adore your garden posts!!

    Normally we don't dare put things in the ground here (Upstate NY, zone 5) until Memorial Day weekend. But we went from snow to 80 degrees over the course of a week. And the forcast for the next week and a half is just as warm. So I took a chance and put in all of my brassica family plants already. I also put up my tomato system (I only use the Florida Weave method- for me it is far superior to anything else I've tried) and weeded the outside of the fence (I'm in a community garden). I am thrilled as usual that I spent time and effort in the fall putting my garden to bed. I lasagna garden and it leaves me with a 95% weed free garden for the spring and summer months. Most of my strawberries survived our harsh winter so I'm excited to see what I get from them this year (I now have @20 plants). Everything else is sitting pretty under my homemade grow light that consumes my dining room table until it seems truly safe to plant them out.

    I;m so excited for gardening season after such a miserable winter! Bring on the sunshine and fresh veggies....

    KK @ Preppy Pink Crocodile

    ps. I'm hit and miss with blogging these days but am on Instagram all the time. If anyone else garden IGs, I'd love to follow you. I love following gardeners all over the globe to see what everyone is growing at various times.

  • Athanasia May 12, 2015

    Same weather here. It was 35 F this morning when we got up. The clouds look like snow, though the weatherman says it will just be rain. Cold rain, very windy, temps in the 40's. At least we do not have the tornadoes that are plaguing the rest of the country. We'll get them, rarely, this time of year. We normally don't plant annual flowers until Memorial Day or things like tomatoes. Everything different this year with the hoop houses. My Mother's Day strawberry bed planted last year made it through the winter I hear.

  • Jane May 04, 2015

    I'm interested in your clever ways of keeping your garden watered. Hydrangeas seem to be the first flowers to droop around here when it's dry. I know when the hydrangeas are drooping it's time to water. They certainly are a pretty plant. I stopped by a greenhouse today and spotted some double white begonias. You've inspired me to plant some in my planters on the porch. Time spent with your children is the very best way to spend your time!

  • I read that they do best with drip irrigation, which is great, because I have drip in the garden. I don't have it where I put the second one, so I will just add a little bit of line in there. The first one already had drip in that area. My garden is all on drip irrigation (except for all but one of my pots) and I have them all on timers. I adjust the days and lengths of time depending on the season.

  • Jane May 05, 2015

    Thanks for the information, Brandy! Your garden is such an inspiration. What you can grow out in the desert is amazing. Important information. Hopefully gardeners in California are reading!

  • jill May 07, 2015

    Oh, we are reading here in California. Sadly, very, very sadly the drought is so bad that even drip irrigation does not help. We are watering our fruit trees from water saved inside like Brandy...rinse and shower water. In Redlands, it started with watering on certain days, now a green lawn will probably get you a hefty fine. I read that California needs about one trillion gallon of water to help, not end, but help with the drought. That sounds like rain of biblical proportions to me.

    I am watching as orange growers, and especially avocado growers here in Redlands are simply cutting down trees. The businesses are currently being hit the hardest. I wasn't going to grow anything on the patio this year due to my crazy peri-menopausal hormones, but even a few things will help. We have no less than six farm stands in our area and their farm land looks very empty this year.

    I believe this year will probably be the last ok year for California growers. I have been seeing more and more fruits and veggies from other countries and less from California. And the really bad news is fire season is not here yet. I pray this year will not be bad due to so little watering allowed.

    blessings, jill

  • Jill, do you already have drip irrigation? It is amazing to me how much less water my front yard uses on drip (to grow more things) than it did for that tiny patch of grass. A lot of things I grow there have lower water needs, too--oregano, thyme, rosemary. . . . Drip cuts usage by 50%. (Soaker hoses are awful, though--they use a lot of water and flood the garden; the drip gets you water only where you need it).

    I was reading the blog of a gardener in one of the areas in California that has been given the 36% mandated water cut. She is still using drip irrigation. She didn't have grass; she was already on drip with many desert plants like agaves. She took some of her more desert plants off drip and has changed to 2 days a week drip irrigation instead of 3 to cut the 36%. She also bought a pump to use the water from the washing machine (she has a top-loader). I have a front loader and it uses much less (one of several reasons I have a front loader) water than a top loader. Still, it could be arranged to collect the water from the washer as it leaves the machine and use it to water the garden.

    I have seen the photos of the lemon and orange groves being razed. Their losses will affect everyone, because so much of the nation and the world depends on California's produce.

    I also read about the pistachio growers. Pistachios are great in the desert--they can take the high salts, poor soil, and low amounts of water. Growers who have pistachios are watering them on drip, and put up owl nesting boxes to discourage small rodents (which in turn encourages coyotes, who sometimes eat the drip). Keeping the owls around keeps the drip lines safe. I think the pistachio growers may do okay.

    I have also put an ice cream bucket inside the bathroom sink and used it to collect water from hand-washing.

    The southern Nevada water district has cut water usage by 25% over the last 15 years, while at the same time our population has grown 40%. Many things have changed to make this possible. In 2003, it was made law that new houses could not have grass in the front yard. A lot of houses were built after that time, and most homes here have rocks in the front yard, with a few bushes on drip. The water district continues to give rebates for those who rip out their lawns. The water glass law in restaurants that just happened in California went into effect here years ago, and it does save quite a bit of water. Churches and businesses ripped out grass and changed to desert landscaping. We have certain watering days and times, and lots of other rules as well. The water district can and does write fines.

    Meanwhile, some areas in Brazil didn't do cuts and then almost ran out of water, and now only give their customers water two days a week. . . .

    Keep conserving!

  • Mae May 07, 2015

    I'm big believer that self-reliance for things like water and electricity make us all better stewards. Of course for some people it's pretty much impossible to be self-reliant for water because of where they live! But even taking responsibility for it as much as you can, as Brandy does - If everyone took simple steps to conserve, there'd be that much more to go around; and once it's a habit and you realise how much you used to waste, you don't even miss it.

    Once we put solar panels on the roof we cut waaaaay back on power - and again, we don't even miss it. We're waiting now for the Tesla battery to be introduced where we live; then we can put our excess from the solar panels on to the battery and use it at night and be off the grid, hopefully, for 6 months of the year. (We only have a 1 kw solar system; and because we locked in our feed-in tariff at a very high rate, but modifying it by adding more panels means we'd have to renegotiate the feed-in tariff, which is now about 80% less than what it was, we can't really put in any more panels. So we'd still need the grid for cloudy days.)

    It'd probably be more cost-effective for governments to pay for everyone to get a 1 or 2 kilowatt solar system installed on their roofs, and to install water tanks to every house, than to invest in new infrastructure like coal-burning power plants, dams, etc. People would feel a sense of responsibility for their consumption, and use less; and the environment would benefit too. (There are of course still environmental pitfalls to rainwater collection and solar panel production; but they are less damaging, environmentally speaking, than the alternatives.)

  • jill May 08, 2015

    Hi Brandy, we got rid of the drip irritation because it just seemed to us the water was 'always' on. Now we water once or twice a week with water we saved and would normally have been wasted. The real problem is we live in a little community...32 townhouses and that water bill is crazy. We never pay more than $50 a month, for now at least (also includes electric, heat for the pool etc) but all rents went up recently to make up the difference I am sure. Talk of drip irritation for the plants and trees has done no good...maybe with the new fines that will change.

    Isn't water from the washing machine gray water? I thought that was bad to use on plants. Enlighten me if need be:)

    The sad thing I see here in my area of California is folks lack of concern. We went through this back in the early 90's and just should have continued on with conserving water as a state. We live near the University of Redlands and as much as I love walking through there, the huge areas of beautiful, green, lush grass make me shake my head. We also walk in a nice area of newer homes in Yucaipa...all plants and trees are on drip irritation and they use recycled water...all marked by the lavender water lines. Not sure why more are not doing that.

    The other thing I notice is that folks do not seem to pay attention to the weather. We have had some rain on and off the last few days, and still I see sprinklers on. It boggles my mind.

    We have had the watering on certain days...if your house number is odd, you water on odd days etc. for awhile now...so not noticing that in my neighborhood sadly. Not sure when most folks will realize that this drought is serious.

    Thanks for all the wonderful recipes, tips and encouragement you give.
    blessings, jill

  • There are different types of drip emitters. Some drip out so slowly that they run for longer lengths of time. Perhaps that is the type you have.

    Mine are a hose with a drip emitter every six inches. This makes garden spacing easy for me. In the white garden, I only run them for 2 minutes at a time. In the winter they only get run twice on one day, for a total of 4 minutes a week. Later I switch to 2 and then 3 days a week as it warms up, and then 6 days as it gets hot in the summer.

    Some plants won't like gray water; most will be fine, and the soap will kill the bugs. A friend of ours plumbed his house for all the grey water to water his vegetable garden and everything grows just fine.

    The turning off sprinklers during rain is a problem here too. Just because I can water 3 days a week in spring doesn't mean the plants need that much water; I watch to see what they are needing.

    If you water on the wrong days here, or between 11 and 7 from May to October, you can get a fine. They do have cars that drive around. It's been this way for a long time.

    I remember the conservation efforts in the 90's, as I grew up in Southern California.

    It sounds like you have just a few plants. If you can water them all with water from inside that would have been wasted, that is fantastic!

    I also collect water in the summer on humid days from the a/c. It drips slowly from the pipe, but I have been able to collect several gallons of water a day that way on humid days.

  • Leticia Cinto May 08, 2015

    Drought is a sad problem here in Brazil, specially where I live, Sao Paulo. The city of Sao Paulo is the biggest in Brazil and relies on a few reservoirs and one of them, Cantareira, is almost empty because of the drought last year. In the last few months we have the regular summer rains, but it was not enough to fill the reservoirs. Now it is starting our fall/winter and it is expected to have very few rains. One good thing about it is that many people that were used to wash sidewalks using hoses aren't doing that anymore. In my building we were able to save more than 40% in the water bill but this saving, in money, has already been eaten by the increase in the value of the water. In the countryside, in the state of Sao Paulo, many farmers are in danger because there wasn't enough rain at the right moment. Sugar cane, coffee, orange, all of that cultures are under threat because of the drought. We are trying to save more and more, but it is sad to see so many problems.

  • Athanasia May 12, 2015

    We don't have water shortages here and we don't get water automatically in restaurants unless you ask for it when seated. That has been going on for years. I know people have always looked into ways to steal water from the Great Lakes aquifers for years, rather than changing their water wasting ways. I saw an article that now California wants to take water from Oregon and Washington. We occasionally have dry summers, but I know the last 2 summers we did not sprinkle once as we had rain almost every day. We did have less snow than normal this year so I am wondering if that will translate into a dryer summer.

  • I planted a lot of things this past week but still have a few more to get done before it gets too hot. This week it's all about the ginger and getting it planted. I've been growing ginger for a few years and have had good luck with it.

  • Mae May 04, 2015

    I love those passionfruit flowers! They look like dancing girls from the South Pacific. Oh, what I would give to have a gorgeous purple skirt like that!

    With Mother's Day coming up on Sunday, I know my husband will get me a couple of plants for the garden. I'm going to ask him for some winter veggies instead of flowers. We can grow some things year-round here and it sure is nice to be able to go outside and pick fresh produce. I'm also going to ask for some sensible household things, like picture frames for some beautiful WPA reproduction postcards I have that I want to hang in our bathroom.

  • Tina in the NW May 04, 2015

    I hope your hydrangeas do well - they are so beautiful. They are abundant here in the Pacific NW (but they still need shade). I have one I bought a few years ago as a small plant at the grocery store. It has thrived in a big pot underneath a rhododendron (the only shady spot next to our patio).

    I started some poppies (my favorite flower) from seed in March, and yesterday I transplanted six of them into two larger pots on our patio. The plants are only a couple inches tall right now. I used seeds I collected from poppies I grew last year. My green onions overwintered and are going to seed, and I plan on collecting the seeds when they appear. I enjoyed the green onions all winter, and that has been such a treat.

    Yesterday I went to a local garden center which was having its annual sale, and picked up some starts: one small pack of dusty miller and two of petunias. Total cost: $4.57. I got the same ones last year, and they were great plants that lasted all summer. I planted the starts in two pots outside my kitchen window, and have been admiring them all day, even though the plants are tiny. Here's looking forward to a summer of beautiful flowers. :)

  • Lisa May 04, 2015

    I love hydrangeas. It will be interesting to see how yours do. I really like the white ones you found.

  • Athanasia May 12, 2015

    They are nice in dried flower arrangements also.

  • Elise May 04, 2015

    I just love your garden pictures, they make me long for when we can have a flower garden. We are renting right now, so my makeshift planters I made from pallets will have to do until we move into a home we own.

  • Amy Dunham May 04, 2015

    I am still growing carrots in our wooden box that I made at a Toolbox Library event last summer with my 7 year old daughter. Both she and I were able to use power tools at that event... which I have always been timid around, but I don't want her to feel that way. The wood from the box was reclaimed barn wood. So cool! And since the carrots are growing, I purchased some sunflower seeds to plant as well with the now 8-year old. She is loving the gardening plans this summer. My husband and daughter also surprised me early on Saturday with a new planting bed made with leftover concrete blocks. He dug the border and placed the blocks in so only the tops show. They went and purchased 3 butterfly bushes as well... I was very surprised and happy. I am blessed in so many ways!

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