Weekend Coffee Share – Garden Galore

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Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)! Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! There is regular hot coffee in the French press (very strong,) ice tea and ice coffee. What would you like?

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We are expecting another very warm day hitting 90F. Every day this week have been this warm. It is dryer than usual, but nothing like the desert where I used to live of course. The nights offer some amazingly cool air, and I open up the house to air out at night, closing everything again early in the morning, for the house to stay decently cool. We do not have air-condition. Starting tomorrow the prognosis promise rain for a few days. The ground needs rain, even though it is still very green and lush. Next week the temperatures are going to be in the 80’s, maybe low 80’s even. Which I think is perfect. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had a wonderful, wonderful staycation week this week as well. I’m indulging in gardening, books, photography, and blogging. It is rejuvenating, and I feel good. The best thing of all is knowing that I have five more glorious weeks left 🙂 How are you my friend? 

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These are some photos from around my garden this morning. Naturally I do not take any credit for the beautiful flowers, since they were planted long before I moved in.

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Our first whole week without minus degrees at night was only five weeks ago, so the container part is a rather new addition. All the vegetables are grown from seed.

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This is some of the pots with vegetables I have growing around my porch; beans, peas, bell pepper, bush tomatoes, and zucchini.

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The zucchini is getting bigger by the day.

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I planted this zucchini about a month ago. No flowers, or fruit yet but it is looking very healthy, and sure is growing. I had the pot standing on the ground, but decided that it would be nicer to get it spread out here up on the bench, with less bugs crawling all over it. I have three zucchini plants in similar sizes, one next to this one on the bench (morning-day sun about 10 hours of direct sun,) and one in another spot in the garden (day-afternoon sun about 8-9 hours of partly shaded sun,) trying to figure out the best location for each plant, since this is the first year growing here. The green that you see at the soil surface in the pot is basil. Basil is an excellent companion to zucchini. It loves the shade under the leaves. The white that you see next to the basil is crushed eggshells. The eggshells is a slow release fertiliser, a steady source of calcium that prevents blossom end rot, helps aerate the soil, and keep slugs away.  I mix eggshells into the soil while planting, and add some on the top every once in a while during the growing season. If you are free planting your veggies and have problems with slugs it pays off to spread eggshells generously all around. (I mentioned this about zucchinis in a previous post earlier this week, but the photos are new from this morning.)

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On the ground next to the zucchini we have smultron, a variety of wild strawberry.

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They are tiny, and widely spread throughout the country. This is the very first one of the season. Have you ever had a smultron? Or is there another English name for this berry?

I love figs and made sure to surround myself with fig trees in all the different locations I’ve lived at, in California and Nevada. With some effort you can actually grow them here as well. I don’t know how familiar you are with Sweden’s geography, but we have two big islands on the East coast. I ordered fig sticklings from a lady that have a big fig tree on the biggest Island, Gotland. I purchased two, and she was kind enough to send me five. That was so nice! I planted the sticklings in a pot I had with some culinary sage growing already, they are great companions.

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I watered them generously, and covered them with a plastic bag with some holes in, to make a mini greenhouse. For a couple days they stood like this in my kitchen window.

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Yesterday I took the plastic bag away, and watered some more. The sticklings did not have any roots at all when got them. I decided that they did not need the plastic bag anymore.

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Late last night I found them a shady spot on my porch. They will not get scorch by the sun, but will enjoy some nice warm weather, similar to their native country. When they have some roots, should grow quickly in this weather, I will plant them in separate pots, and move them to a sunny spot.

I also purchased two small fig trees from an online gardening center that I like a lot. Everything I bought from this store have been of excellent quality. These trees turned out to be much bigger than I expected, so I repotted them immediately. They look very healthy, just a little dry from being shipped.

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I ordered ‘Desert King’, the left fig tree is definitely a ‘Desert King’ but I believe the right one is a different type.

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Typical ‘Desert King’ leaf, in the left pot (above.)

Below is two photos from the right pot. Is this really the same plant?

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I’ve been thinking about what it could be, and came to the solution that it’s likely a ‘Celeste’, a very sweet, cold hardy type of fig. Or do you have any other ideas of what it could be? I’d love to hear, since I am far from sure about what it is. I’m just guessing. I had a couple young Celeste’s in California. Looking forward to see them growing. I’m going to have them in pots until I get my own place (renting now) and a greenhouse, then I will plant them in the ground, inside the greenhouse. Figs do great in pots, and will grow strong until it’s the right time to plant them. In fact when you restrict the roots, like in a container, it actually encourage the tree to direct the energy to growing fruits. Since I live in a cold climate, with freezing winters I will need to protect my trees from the worst cold as well, that is easy when you grow in a pot.

Would you like a refill on that coffee? Or tea? What is growing in your area right now? Tell me in a comment 🙂 Have a fabulous weekend!

Love,

Maria

The Golden Frame

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Sunset

You may know that I’ve lead a kind of adventurous lifestyle previously in my life, with a lot of travel. At the moment I’m on a long vacation. Staycation I mean. It’s lovely. I’m relaxing in my home, with my daughter. We read books, crochet together, spend time in the garden, and talk, and when she wants to play Minecraft I get to play with my camera and do some blogging. Just perfect! I can see many relaxing staycations in the future, even when the big bad wolf Corona is gone. It’s so peaceful. I love it. How are you spending your summer?

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Sunset

My daughter and I often spend our free time hiking, and/or camping in beautiful nature areas. I like it because it offers a completely new environment, and you can make it a big, or small adventure, whatever you feel like for the moment. It can be very easily accomplished, or a big deal. Another benefit is that you can do it anywhere in the world.  One of the things I enjoy the most with camping is to indulge in the sunset, and the sunrise with the company I’m with (usually my daughter.) It’s like a magical, golden frame to the day, and the adventure.

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Sunrise

The sunset, and sunrise in this post is from one of our last camping adventures, in November last year. The location is near Mesquite (NV,) 1,5 hour from Las Vegas. November offered perfect temperatures for this location. If you could see into the background of the three first photos you would transport yourself into Valley of Fire State Park, another marvellous place to visit. We were regulars in that park while living in Las Vegas, one of the few things I miss with the area, next to having ice cream delivered from my favourite ice cream shops 😉 

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Sunrise

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To see more fabulous sunsets, and sunrises visit my friend Terri’s Sunday Stills. I hope you are having a most enjoyable week. Stay safe my friend.

Love,

Maria  

PS. Are you intrigued by beauty of the desert? I collected my favourite places in the Mojave Desert in my illustrated guidebook The Desert Around Las Vegas – A Guidebook To Amazing Day Trips In The Mojave Desert from last year. My book gives specific, customized ideas of many amazing day-trips, several for each destination. This book, with its personal descriptions, and authentic photos of Valley of Fire State Park, Mojave National Preserve, Spring Mountain Recreation Area, Death Valley National Park, and Red Rock Canyon will inspire you, and make it easy for you to choose your adventure. It will answer questions like: If I only have a few hours, where do I go? How do I stay safe while I experience the desert? Can I bring my children? Is it dog friendly? Are there restrooms available? What time of the day should I visit? If I want to see wild horses, where can I go? Is there food and water available, or do I need to bring my own? Each place has lots of room for your own explorations. This colorful guidebook will get you there, well prepared, knowing what to expect, but your imagination is the only limit to the experience you will have!

Heatwave; Gardening And Ecological Footprint

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There is an unusual heatwave in my area with temperatures in the upper 80’s. We might even reach 90F the next four days. We surely didn’t have any summers like this when I was kid, neither did we have any winters as mild as this winter. I think these climate changes are very scary. We are doing great, enjoying our staycation, but in the bigger picture I think a lot about where this is going. I’ve always cared a lot about the environment, but I feel inclined to learn more ways of lowering my ecological footprint. What are your thoughts about this?

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My garden is loving the heat. We’ve eaten lots of salad greens, celery, cilantro, and basil these past two weeks. I saw signs that the salad is threatening to go into bloom. That’s OK, I have started new salad inside. We also eat a lot of different sprouts that I grow inside in a kitchen window. The sprouts are coming fast in this warmer weather. 

When it’s been too warm to do things outside I’ve been educating myself via YouTube about new gardening tricks. There is so many fabulous gardening channels out there. I’m also thinking about investing in a good food dehydrator, to be able to take the processing of my harvest (and all the berries and mushrooms available in the forests around me) to another level. It’s a big investment, and I am not sure that I am going to do it this year. When I do, I want to get one that will last for many years, and they are not cheap. My longterm goal is to be as self-sufficient as possible. Being able to grow a bigger garden, and have access to all the produce year round would be a game changer. Do you have any experience with dehydrating garden produce? I experimented with it a little in California, but I’m by no means an expert. I’d love to learn more.

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I planted this zucchini from seeds about a month ago. No flowers, or fruit yet but it is looking very healthy, and sure is growing. I had the pot standing on the ground, but decided that it would be nicer to get it spread out here up on the bench, with less bugs crawling all over it. I have three zucchini plants in similar sizes, one next to this one on the bench (morning-day sun about 10 hours of direct sun,) and one in another spot in the garden (day-afternoon sun about 8-9 hours of partly shaded sun,) trying to figure out the best location for each plant, since this is the first year growing here. The green that you see at the soil surface in the pot is basil. Basil is an excellent companion to zucchini. It loves the shade under the leaves. The white that you see next to the basil is crushed eggshells. The eggshells is a slow release fertiliser, a steady source of calcium that prevents blossom end rot, helps aerate the soil, and keep slugs away.  I mix eggshells into the soil while planting, and add some on the top every once in a while during the growing season. If you are free planting your veggies and have problems with slugs it pays off to spread eggshells generously all around.

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Enough said about me, how are you doing? What is the weather like where you are? What is happening in your garden?

Love,

Maria