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The garden and I have come to an understanding.  I pay close attention and it will feed me.  A little.

Keeping the kitty OUT of the beds was my first feat.  Laying garden fencing panels over the beds has proven to be very beneficial!  Tacky but beneficial.  Not only is the kitty defeated but the vines love being above the cool damp ground and have, so far, laughed at the afternoon triple digits.  For some beds I laid plastic green fencing on the ground and planted in the holes (black eyed peas) or cut it in strips and fit it around existing plants (peppers and asparagus).  So far it has kept Mr. Orange (bad cat) at bay.  

Another learning curve was 'over watering'.  I am learning to read my plants leaves, particularly the peppers and butternut) and back off a day when blotchy yellowing occurs on their leaves.  In one day they are back to deep and beautiful.  Also,   I am relying less on the water gauge and more on my own sense of feel, digging up a bit of earth with my trowel.  

Finding ways to shade my lovelies as the heat intensifies is my next challenge.  My tomatoes were being badly sunburned so out of desperation, I placed a camping table astride the bed and draped it with a sheet.  Instant shade!  Ok, tacky for sure but honestly? I have had to put pride on the back burner and do with what I have.  I don't see this as a permanent solution but it has saved my tomato plants.  I wish I could canopy the entire garden with netting!  

I have banned the pest control man from my backyard.  The lizards are prolific now as are the preying mantis and these really cool pale tan spiders that scatter when I water. 

There is no shortage of bees spreading pollen.   Birds entertain us day and night at the feeders, water baths, and hanging foraging flower seeds.

I have two more volunteers I am trying to identify.  I believe one is a Mexican Fan Palm (there are actually two, one start I just found two days ago) and the other is probably a noxious weed getting ready to spew seeds all over my unsuspecting yard.  I am a sucker for anything green that wants to live in my space so until identified it stays.  

I am in love with my garden.  Odd and homely and gorgeous, it is a gift from my Creator; a quiet retreat at first light to prepare my heart for the day, a gleaning place for foods I know are clean and healthy  Soothing and restful at the end of a long day, it is a place to witness creation over and over again. 

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Comment by DePhane Marcelle on October 6, 2014 at 4:27pm
We do love our garden as well, however the chicken's get into it so quick. The only thing we could enjoy was our water hyacinth, mint, basil, swiss chard & a few other edible succulent's..
Comment by De Ann on August 1, 2014 at 6:14pm

Gravel!  Yes!  I understand gravel and NO there was none in my back yard.  It was just an empty lot waiting for me to dig holes and pour in love.  :-)

I am NOT a student but a high desert country gardener that God has transplanted in the city.  This site has been invaluable to my successful growing of anything in the Valley of the Sun.  If your aim is to meet other permies you couldn't be in a better place.

Comment by Elizabeth Raghunandan on August 1, 2014 at 10:29am

I liven in an HOA subdision too. Maybe I should of said "pebble stones", the little ones that is in almost every back yard in AZ.  I am from South America Birtish Guyana, sometimes we say bricks or stones. But you are right, they are different kinds of stones/bricks.. bigger and smaller. In a few years I am hoping to move from here to a more sustainable area with better soil, where I can develope a garden that will yield. May I ask, are you a student? I am a student with Regenerative Leadership Institute, taking a course in Permaculture Design. I haven't met anyone here in AZ who is a permie. I tried to but they were too far away from where I live.

Comment by De Ann on July 31, 2014 at 7:37pm

Hmmm.  I think I misunderstood.  Are you speaking of taking down a brick wall??  I am in an HOA subdivision surrounded by brick walls.  I have been considering a small grass patch in the middle of the yard just to cool it down a bit.  The plants I had hoped to grow on the wall to cool it have all failed.  I will keep trying...

Comment by Elizabeth Raghunandan on July 31, 2014 at 4:53pm

Thanks, I think I am going to start removing some of the bricks, with son beating down they give off too much heat. I think I am going to place some windmills around the plants to keep them cool, hopefully the winds blows.:)

What a challenge it is to plant in the valley.

Comment by De Ann on July 31, 2014 at 3:01pm

Hahaha!  No bricks.  :-)  

Comment by Elizabeth Raghunandan on July 31, 2014 at 2:07pm

Oops! I am sorry my bad, I mispelled a word. I meant "bricks."

Comment by De Ann on July 31, 2014 at 1:58pm

Liz, I googled "breaks' so I wouldn't seem horrifically under-educated but to no avail.  I have no idea what I may or may not have removed. :-P   My backyard is backfill that wouldn't sustain a weed had I not dug in my beds and filled them with top soil and manure and such.   This is my second summer of learning what the sun destroys and what it doesn't.  My 'shaded' tomatoes finally gave up and died along with the pineapple sage that was doing sooo well.  Sadness.  Still, the small victories are encouragement enough to keep me planting and planning. 

Comment by Elizabeth Raghunandan on July 31, 2014 at 12:18pm

Your garden looks great! Did you remove all the breaks before you started planting, or you didin't have any? Mine is small, I have four raised beds I started out with. I am experimenting to see how this is working out. The sun is frying some of my plants so I had to cover to give it shading. I am still working on implementing other plants, since I want my backyard to look more tropical like. Liz

Comment by Cynthia Carter on June 27, 2014 at 3:28pm

Nice. :)  Mine's kinda frying in the sun these days, so it's nice to see someone else is getting some goodies out of their plots. :)

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