Nasturiums and Lavender in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker


During a break from the wind, my dad helped me finish taking out the Liberty apple tree. He also cut down the two grapefruit trees you see in the photo above (on the left; one is just a dead trunk). I still have the roots to remove on those two, but they are down now. They have never done well and in 8 years I have only had a few grapefruit. The dead one succombed to frost. Most years our winter temperatures only dip down to 28ºF for a short while, but when it gets colder than that (and even just at freezing) the citrus trees can be damaged and killed, even though I cover them.

Today is very windy again. We’ve had so many windy days that it’s been difficult to work in the garden all month. The wind brought lower temperatures, though, which has been a good thing for the garden. When the wind is gone in a few days, the weatherman says it will be 94ºF. I have a lot of work in the garden that has been put off because of the high winds.

When the wind dies down, I’ll be able to finish taking out the rest of the cool season plants and sow the warm season seeds. I ran out of trash can space last week, but this week I plan to have the cans full on both days the trash goes out (they pick up twice a week here) with tree roots, the apple tree trunk, branches, and bolted herbs and vegetables. I am leaving some bolted produce in the garden to collect seeds for next year, but past what I will need I will remove.

I still have trees to remove. I’m hoping my dad will be available again with his saws all to help me make quick work of cutting them down. I’m taking these trees out because they are not producing.

Last week I ended up ordering more seeds for the white garden, including some dahlia seeds. I also ordered a few summer bulbs, including a few dahlia bulbs. The seeds showed up in two days (yet another reason I love Outside Pride, in addition to their large variety and fantastic prices). I planted the seeds last week in the white garden, but only a few in the backyard.

Artichokes in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker




1. Harvest artichokes

2. Remove pea vines (covering my face and mouth this time with protection)

3. Cut and remove bolted chard, leaving only some for collecting seed (we’ll be eating lots of chard this week!)

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

5. Remove grapefruit tree stumps

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. Plant apricot tree

10. Plant Chinese lantern seeds. I’ve never grown these but I think they are so much fun! I plan on planting them with the nasturiums. When the summer heat comes, the nasturiums die here (in milder climates I understand they are a summer flower). I’m hoping these make it through the heat and produce enough to enjoy in the garden and in arrangements in the house.

11. Move euonymus bushes. I grew some new bushes by pinning branches. These are large enough to be dug, cut away from the original plant, and planted elsewhere.

12. Reseed bare spots in grass

13. Collect green onion seeds


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.  Clean and organize spice cabinet

4. Hang pictures (I’m moving pictures around in a few places in the house)

5. Move crib to garage

6. Clean out behind fridge (we’re blowing out the coils with the air compressor)

7. Clean dust in kitchen and main living areas after cleaning behind fridge 🙂

8. Organize papers in basket

9. Take plants out of bathtub 🙂 and move them back outdoors; clean bathtub

10. Wash shower curtains from children’s bathrooms




1. Take photos for three blog posts this week


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  1. Just an FYI…the chinese lanterns are great, but they grow like weeds, which can be good and bad. The good….they grow like weeds, the bad, they will drop their seed pods in the fall and the plants will pop up everywhere even in the grass. So you may need to really thin, but a bunch of them in the house in the fall are very impressive and they dry nice too!

  2. Wonderful! Then I won’t have to buy seeds again! 😀 My nasturiums are self-seeded, as are the larkspur that I enjoy every spring. The larkspur tend to grow in the grass, but we pick them out and cut them down in the grass. I hope they grow well enough for many arrangements.

  3. 3 years after planting a Murcott mandarin tree that I bought at Costco, I am confident that we don’t like it’s fruit. It claimed sweet, seedless and easy to peel, but, it was none of those things. I took it out this week and replaced it with 2 dwarf Satsuma mandarins, which I know are delicious!
    I gave up trying to gas gophers and bought 2 reusable traps. I caught 2 gophers so far!
    I planted lots of seeds–zinnias, teddy bear sunflowers, tomato varieties I like and green beans.
    I am trying to figure out how to add two more trees, a Stella cherry (self-fruitful and kind of low chill at 400 hours), and a dorsett golden apple. If anyone has experience with a Stella cherry in a low chill area, I’d love feedback!
    I didn’t start gardening till I had kids (now 3 and 6), because they don’t seem to play outside unless I’m out with them. Wandering around my backyard, experimenting came as I spent time with them. I’m grateful for that.

  4. Good Monday Morning Brandy,
    I love that you know when to plant both cool and warm season plants. I am still learning about this in the Pacific NW. I had planted some flowers that did not last through the unexpected cool and heavy rain we had, so now I am back to square one. This is the first year I am starting to plant flowers. I try to find perennials but have bought some lovely bulbs to plant now as well. We have 1 possibly 2 dead small trees to be removed. I hope my husband can help with this within this next week.
    I had chard and kale that bolted with sunny days after the cold rain, so I’ve cut them back to about 5 inches.. they were last years planting for summer and have lasted all winter, surprisingly, however we had such a mild winter this year. No snow. How do you cut yours back when they bolt? I have not learned the art of this yet.
    I am now starting on our summer veggie container garden, will plant tomatoes, peas, zucchini , more green onions, cucumbers,carrots, leaf lettuce and kale. We have such a small yard and live in a tight community so it is hard to plant very much. Trying to think of more smaller veggies to plant too. Our new apple tree has blossoms 🙂 It is a self pollinating semi dwarf. I would like to buy on other small fruit tree too this season.
    Last week I organized my closet and purged the clothes I do not need. I will give them to good will. Next I organized my office, and was surprised how much junk mail, and papers I have accumulated lately…seems like it all multiplies much!! but I have filed the needed papers away and am very pleased with my office now.
    We are going through the garage… and I have soooo much stuff accumulated from my grown children, and from both my father and aunt’s things after they had passed away. It is over whelming. So, I decided it is time to go through and let go of what I do not need. When my aunt passed away, both my cousins also stored things at my home as they live in different states. I have asked them to help clear their things too. My husband and I will downsize to a smaller home in about 5 years when he retires, but hopefully have more property. My goal is to have it completely cleared and organized by summer. Maybe we will do a garage sale too.
    I love the pictures of your garden. You mentioned you have lived there for 8 years. We have been in our home for 2 years. It is quite a process to organize a flower and veggie garden and so much fun too. Thank you for your examples of how you have created such a beautiful garden.
    Have a wonderful week.
    Blessings, Patty from the NW

  5. I have a Stella cherry! It is wonderful! I am on my second tree, though–the first one was doing really well and then we had a leak in the sprinkler box that killed it. It is a slow growing tree and takes many years before you get fruit. At 400 hours I would consider it borderline medium chill; I planted mine in an area that is shaded in winter (basically in a colder spot in the yard).

    I have a Dorsett Golden apple as well. It is ripe in June. It does well. I have thinned it more heavily this year than in the past and I think it will be better than ever.

    I’m glad you mentioned sunflowers. I forgot that! I will add that to my list.

  6. She’s been in a big bed for over a year since we moved her into her sister’s room. The crib has just been set up still in my walk-in closet (that doubled as a nursery). We’re using the space to store some other things so now the crib needs to come down. It does feel strange taking it out, as I’ve just left it there since we moved into this house over 8 years ago, using it for each child.

  7. Thank you for the information on the Stella cherry tree. It may be something that I shouldn’t do. The spot I would be able to put it is in the full sun. Our County Extension Office lists in my area chill hours in the low 200. Maybe a new low chill, self fruitful cherry tree will be developed soon!

  8. We had, the week before last, a span of days in the 70’s where everything greened up and the buds came out and then we had 2 days of snow flurries the next Mon and Tues. We are back down in the 40s but our little heat wave gave everything a boost and the tulips and daffodils are ready to bloom, the asparagus and rhubarb are starting to show. Since my daughter took over the gardening I have little to do. I have been moving my herbs in and out and also the hibiscus plant. We are not done with frost until mid May. We brought the geraniums out of the basement
    and replanted the gladiola bulbs. My daughter has planted peas and lettuce and spinach in the hoop houses. She came and planted carrot seed in a large pot on my patio. She said they should grow long and straight there…we have very rocky soil here and carrots don’t always grow the best.

  9. Like you I have a bit of a garden to do list. I hope to finish laying down new mulch on both sides of the house in addition to a corner of the yard where the previous owner had placed an odd shaped flower bed. As I was cleaning up that corner many of the plants pulled right out- they weren’t planted deep enough. So I plan to place some planters there and start a small container garden of herbs that I will transplant from my mothers yard (she no longer wants them.) This will give me time to make better plans for that spot.
    -I need to finish paperwork for the boys visits to their new pediatrician.
    – bring vacuum to repair shop. Our vacuum like yours hasn’t been working correctly (despite my husbands repair attempts.) If it doesn’t cost much to repair I will go that route.
    – I also need to jot down a new daily schedule. Our schedules have gotten a bit busier (especially my husbands) and I am barely keeping up. This means I need to adjust my cleaning routine as well as the kids daily routine. Eventually I am sure I will figure out what will work!

  10. Your garden is just beautiful, and so green!

    We planted a summer garden here (Tucson) with tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, green peppers and Swiss chard. The bed is in full sun, and the ground seems to dry out within a few hours of my watering and the plants, especially the green peppers and Swiss chard, are starting to look yellow and fried from the hot sun. (And we haven’t even reached the really hot temperatures yet!) I don’t know if I should just give up for the summer or if I should cover the plants with a shade cover? Any advice would be appreciated. I don’t want to put a lot of time and money into the garden if everything is just going to die in the heat and intense sun. Learning to garden here is so much more challenging than in the Midwest!

  11. If you like apricots, I highly recommend a Katy apricot (around 100 chilling hours) or a Royal (also called Royal Blenheim) apricot, which is closer to 200 chilling hours. The Katy is ripe 3 to 4 weeks earlier than the Royal, which is why I now am growing both.

    If you want shade, a Mission fig fruits twice a year.

    The Desert Gold peach that we have is low chill. It flowers after the Dorsett Golden (the Dorsett Golden flowers very first, in February). I also have a medium chill (I think it’s 400 hours) Early Elberta peach. I didn’t know if it would fruit or not but it does, and quite abundantly. We don’t really have that many chilling hours here, but it does well. We’re like you are for chilling hours.

    I would love to put in some Satsumas.

  12. Melissa,

    Is it wet further down? How often are you watering? Are you using drip irrigation?

    If they are yellow it sounds like over watering to me; underwatering they just dry up and wilt.

    The peppers do better with afternoon shade. If you have a pot and can move them into a place where they can get afternoon shade, that would be better.

    Is this a raised bed? Did you bring in new soil? Or is it native dirt?

  13. Hi, Brandy. I water by hand. I use a 2 gallon jug and fill it up about 6 times, so 12 gallons spread over 3 beds that are each about 9 feet by 2 feet. We water every day, sometimes morning and night (for a total of 12 gallons each day) because the ground looks so dry.

    They are slightly raised beds. We used the native ground and combined the dirt with something called “Happy Frog” that the people at the gardening place recommended.

  14. We just put in a liberty apple tree in our orchard (Ithaca NY). We also bought a freedom apple tree. We are right next to Cornell NY so those trees ought to do well here!

  15. In two weeks I start a part time job, so I am working on my “to do someday” list. If I can get some of these items done, it would be fantastic…new wills written, light fixtures purchased (and maybe replaced depending on how my husband is feeling) and a chain necklace repaired. My other main monthly goal is finding something in our monthly expenses to reduce by $10 a month. April was the first month I missed finding an item to cut, but thankfully April was the month I found extra income. Life has such great abundance when you look for it;)

  16. Patty – I am near Seattle, and if I remember correctly, you are a little further south. The spring weather has been strange here this year, because it was unseasonably warm in Feb/March and then got pretty cold again. I started some seeds at home (flowers, jalapenos, and squash), and I’m trying to harden them off so I can plant them in my garden plot. But I’m afraid to leave them out overnight because it’s been rather cold. It’s so hard to know what to do when the weather is odd.
    In any case, good luck with your garden!

  17. Most of my goals this week are either garden oriented or cleaning.
    1) I needed to harvest & dehydrate the dandelion leaves, which I did today. They dried really quickly, in just a few hours, then I ” crunched” them with my fingers & put them in a jar for storage. I intend to sprinkle them into soups & eggs dishes for added nutrition, since they taste a lot like spinach, & nothing else has dibs on the dehydrator at the moment. It has been cool enough here the last week that the little bit of added heat was welcome.

    2) I needed to plant the pole beans under cloche, since we are just about 2 weeks out from our last frost date. Getting a 2 week head start means an additional 2 weeks of harvest in the fall, or about 4 more pickings, which can be up to 12-20 more pint jars of green beans. Today I planted 7 hills of beans, using the heirloom seed I saved & dried last year. An online source I read a while back said that after 3 seasons of saving your own seed, the seed is adapted to your own microclimate, & performs better for you. That happened last year for us with the butternut squash, in the 3 rd year.

    3) I need to finish digging out the grass & weeds from the strawberry.raspberry bed. The strawberry plants are starting to blossom, so if I can’t get it done soon, I will be losing fruit, which is never a good thing. The bed is over half done, so I just need to finish it.

    4) In order to finish #3, I will need to haul at least one more load of the aged horse manure from the stable.

    5) Our daughter who is expecting is coming for a brief visit, so I have pulled out 4 of the storage tubs of baby clothes for her to go thru. I still need to get 2 more tubs out of the cubby.

  18. Melissa, are you mulching around the plants to prevent evaporative loss? It has made a huge difference for us.

  19. It’s relatively low in chilling hours, which is why it can be grown here. In some parts of town here (on the west side of the valley) they are a zone 8b and manage to do rather well with Stellas.

    Because Stella is a sweet self-fruiting cherry tree, it’s sold all over the country.

  20. Melissa, have you tested the dirt further down? I’ll bet it’s very wet.

    I don’t water everyday right now. Right now I water 3 times a week on drip irrigation. The dirt can be completely dry on top–even an inch down–but very wet underneath. I think everyday is too much.

    In the desert, you really need drip irrigation. This is what I use:

    You’ll cut your water usage in half, and only get water where you need it.

    Another sign it’s sun that is burning your leaves: they will turn brown and crispy at the edges. High winds can kill the edges of your leaves, too, but they’ll be green and crunchy. Sun damage is brown.

    Even in the middle of summer, my tomatoes and chard don’t have a sunburnt problem in full sun (peppers can). I still think your problem sounds like overwatering, which turns leaves yellow.

  21. I’m so glad you posted this. I had been lazy about writing down my to do list for the week. Seeing yours and everyone elses goals gets me motivated!

    My main goal this week is to be disciplined about turning off the computer at 10pm, doing a final once over in the kitchen, getting ready for bed, reading until 11pm and LIGHTS OUT! My new job is very stressful and busy (although I love it) and I don’t have the energy I should during the day and then I’m dragging after work and can’t get anything done. Not enough sleep is my main problem.

    I work full time so I’ve found the best thing to do as far as getting things done is to have my to do list organized by day where I get 1 large job done each evening:

    Everyday –
    1. Checking the yard for lubber grasshoppers and squishing them.
    2. Picking any ripe fruits and veggies, watering my seeds I started.
    3. Swagbucks and any Pinecone surveys I get plus looking at a few cooking/frugal/coupon blogs my “continuing education” 🙂

    Tuesday – changing the sheets in the guest room and getting it ready for my son’s visit this weekend (my daughter was here last weekend).

    Wed – Vacuum and dust

    Thur – Cleaning bathrooms

    Fri – Final shopping for fresh ingredients and flowers for my daughters graduation and my son will be getting here

    Sat – Making the 2 to 3 hour drive to my daughters college for her graduation and bringing everything with us for the luncheon which will be at her apartment for immediate family and a few of her friends. Afternoon graduation. Then dinner out. Then drive home.

    Sun – Depends on how long my son stays and if he needs to study for finals. Maybe we’ll do yard work and organize my shopping and coupons, laundry, get organized for the week while he studies for finals. If he can spare a few hours to go out, then we’ll go to a local water park for a bit in the morning.

    Have a productive week ladies!

  22. Patricia, I have been doing container gardening for a few years now. Other plants you may want to consider are bush beans (though you will need several containers of these to get a half decent amount), peppers and spinach. I find my plants are usually quite small in containers, most likely due to the lack of nutrients available in the small amount of soil. I may try doing a fertilizer this year to see if it makes a difference. I’m not an experienced gardener, so it’s all trial and error for me.

  23. As always your garden looks so beautiful. I desperately need to remove a dying tree from our backyard. I am hoping to replace it with a hydrangea tree. We already have one and I have been very happy with it. My goals for this week are to get three blog posts finished and get ready for my nieces birthday. She requested a princess theme, so I am pinning away ideas.

  24. Yes I am across the Narrows Bridge. We had a beautiful warm day like yesterday, then some rain today and overcast.. it has been a strange year for us. Not sure if we will get the downpours of rain and destroy what I have planted. I did plant flowers yesterday, will plan to plant most of my veggies this next week. Hopefully, they will survive. Some of my herbs and green onions also surprisingly weathered through our mild winter and then bolted into seed. I let these go to seed hoping to have more produced by them. My sage is really flowering now and when they open I think I will cut them to save for later this fall to plant .At least we are out of the frost stage, so maybe the new plants will take hold. Good luck with your garden as well~~blessings~

  25. I have never planted bush beans or peppers so I will give it a try this year. I did try green peppers but they did not get very big..not sure why? My space I have for containers does have about 6 hours of sunlight . Did you have luck with your spinach? I have had luck with leaf lettuce, kale , bok choy, and swiss chard too in containers. Last year I planted carrots, but they did not get very big..I am planning to get a deep container and will try again this year. When I planted my veggies, I used a mixture of organic veggie soil mix, peat moss and organic fertilizer. I prepared the soil mixture well first, added it to my containers then planted, and have had a good amount produced to my surprise. I have only been gardening for 2 years now.
    I have learned so much from Brandy…she has really inspired me 🙂
    Good luck on your garden too this year~~blessings

  26. I tried green/red peppers last year and only had a few very small peppers produce by the time the weather was getting too cold to leave them out (I live in Southern Ontario, Canada). Then I read the seed package and realized I needed to start them early inside, like I do with tomatoes. I think that’s why the peppers didn’t get big enough before the season ended. I’m trying them again this year, but I’ve started the seeds indoors this time. We’ll see if that works better. As for the spinach, I did get it to grow, but didn’t realize it preferred colder weather (learned that from Brandy). I started it in May/June and it bolted rather quickly. This year I planted them outside a week or two ago after checking with a knowledgeable gardener in my area. Hoping that this will make a difference. I also bought some heirloom seeds this year, so if it does bolt, at least I can collect the seeds.

    My carrots were also small, even though I had a nice big bucket I planted them in. Again, I’m wondering if it has to do with the plants using up the nutrients quickly in soil. My bush bean plants are also usually smaller too, so I plant several containers to make up for this. I’m wondering if I need to do fertilizing throughout the summer to keep up with the nutrient needs of the plants (I didn’t do any fertilizing in previous years). I’ll have to play with this maybe this summer.

    Good luck with your garden this year. If you have any good successes, please let me know!

  27. Home from work and I added a couple more to dos after I looked at my list:
    Tonight (Tues) make pear bread with over ripe pears.

    Thur I have a mystery shopping assignment for dinner. I also need to look at the grocery ads and see if there is anything I want to buy (probably not)

    Fri Check online for CVS and Walgreens matchups for sales starting Sunday.

  28. Thank you for the comment about the heirloom seeds. I just bought some this year and had heard that they will acclimatize themselves to your area. However, I have never read how long it takes. This was really useful information! Thanks again, Marivene for sharing!!!

  29. Murcotts are generally quite lovely. I wonder if it’s just the wrong environment for them where you are?

  30. Congratulations to your daughter! Re the new job, give it a couple of weeks, you’ll get into the swing of things and it won’t be quite as stressful. And until then, just be nice to yourself and let go of what you can, where you can.

  31. D’oh! Our lovely, wonderful neighbour said she plans to lock up her cow, which means I’ll have one less excuse for having an ugly garden. Thankfully one of her lambs is still a menace to my garden beds. One of these days the animals will be well-trained and then it’ll be obvious that my lack of talent is the real issue . . . . Hmmmm, might be time to get a sheep or two of my own, just to keep those excuses coming . . . .

  32. Rhonda, you will find saving your own heirloom seeds so much easier that buying them. Once they are acclimated to your own micro-climate, the yields improve, or at least they did for us. I am trying to move completely over to heirloom seeds, both to save money as we approach retirement, & to be able to get the varieties that I want. We are about 3/4 switched over.

  33. Maybe. I was disappointed about all the seeds, that they were hard to peel and the flavor. But, citrus does do well in my coastal California area. We have an huge orange tree in our backyard that is probably 50 years old. Everybody says that they are the best oranges they’ve ever eaten. And they are so plentiful that my 6 yr old has an “orange stand” in my front yard!

  34. You might also want to add a fertilizer higher in nitrogen. If you’re overwatering you may have accidentally washed out a large amount of nitrogen. Give the soil a natural boost with organic compost worked in around the plants. I had cucumber and pepper plants that were yellow. Three days after adding compost they were beautiful green again.

  35. Tomorrow and Saturday, I hope to get some gardening things done, some cooking and some house cleaning. For having such a mild winter, and such an early spring, my garden is not growing as well as I thought it would. As I have already lamented, the slugs are eating everything I plant as fast as it comes up. So, this batch is doing a little better, since I surrounded everything with slug bait. One job is to go back this weekend and put on some fresh bait since it rained quite a bit Tuesday.

    As of now, there are little spinch plants, lettuce and beets just coming up. (3rd time I planted lettuce–I have 1 lettuce that is about 4 inches tall that survived from the first 2 times!) There are a few surviving pea plants and they have started to bloom. I am getting some asparagus, just a few, but I will pick them tomorrow. I added 5 more strawberry plants (Seascape) to the 10 my mom brought me a couple of weeks ago. Those are also surrounded by slug bait and are surviving. I have not grown this variety before, but they are everbearing, like I wanted, so I’m excited about trying them.

    Our tomatoes continue to grow in the greenhouse, as well as the peppers. It’s much too soon to plant them out here in the part of Oregon where I live.

    Today, in the few minutes I had, I worked on a flowerbed. The small section I got hoed looks great. Hopefully tomorrow….

    For the week:

    Cooking: tacos for myself and a friend (mostly done tonight)
    -salad most days
    – a huge crock pot of homemade refried beans (finished yesteday)
    -plan menus for week in my composition notebook
    -begin testing recipes for 4H cooking club meeting on the 13th

    School: work daily with daughter on Pre-Algebra (she’s at a point where she needs a little extra tutoring)
    -begin sorting and planning for next year’s school, try to find a used Biology book to buy, and Algebra I
    -finish organizing a dance class for both younger girls for summer with another family–we might join their class and carpool
    -study my history lesson I teach Tuesday and write a test for the co-op class

    -Worship team all morning Sunday, be there at 7:30 am

    -mop kitchen
    -force children to do a little room cleaning:)
    -choose 1 cupboard or shelf and clean it

    Hem a dress my husband bought me at Costco. I am so short-legged it pools on the floor, but fits otherwise.
    Mend a few items
    Iron a few items
    Work on a skirt I have cut out for youngest
    Tidy up sewing areas

    Write down the food I eat and my blood sugars (I am preparing for a new doctor and they like that information when you have diabetes–at my regular doctor’s appt today she mentioned that it would be a good idea since she is sending me to this specialist) I simply get so caught up in the day, I forget to write it all down, so I’m determined to do it this week!

  36. Maybe try a goat instead, Mae. You can use it to mow your lawn and fertilize it at the same time. Also, if you learn to milk it, you could try making artisan goat cheese and sell it at premium prices! Your new career possibly?

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