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Arizona gardeners! 5 Replies

Started by Kris AZ. Last reply by Douglas Plotkin Aug 16, 2010.

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Comment by Deborah Hamel (Z9a-9b Arizona) on March 15, 2012 at 3:33pm

I am excited for the possible rain. The new transplants, pineapple guava and seedlings will enjoy the moisture, as long as the rain is not too violent.

Grant- Thank you for sharing photos of your nasturtiums and the stories about their position and habit. I had not thought of them for my gardens until you mentioned them. Please keep them coming.

Comment by Grant, Scottsdale,Arizona Zone 9 on March 15, 2012 at 10:21am

Here's a couple of fun pics.  One is a nasturtium that is climbing up a small grapefruit tree in my back garden.  I love the bright orange blooms--the vine is almost six feet tall now and shows no signs of stopping.  I love it.


The other is a Gasteria x Aloe hybrid (called a "Gasteraloe"), the variety is 'Green Ice'.  It blooms each late winter for me, with occasional repeats in summer.  It makes a nice substitute for Aloe variegata (the "partridge breast aloe") which often struggles in summer here.  You can easily see from its foliage that one of its parents was A. variegata as it has very similar patterns, but again, it is immune to anything our weather can give it.  I've had this particular speciment for four years and it's done GREAT with afternoon shade and water twice a month.



Happy gardening and keep those umbrellas handy for Sunday, Monday and early next week!


Comment by Grant, Scottsdale,Arizona Zone 9 on March 14, 2012 at 12:49pm

Fun updates, all!  Congrats on your gazania flowers too, Kirsten, aren't they just so easy, and fun?  What colors are you growing?  We'd love some pics if possible. :)  I've got a ring of rusty orange ones around a small orange I grew from seed, plus a few big pots full of variegated-leaf orange flowering gazanias too, and the occasional self-sown one here-and-there in my garden.  Such upbeat, happy plants and flowers!

Debbie, your raised beds sound nice, and smart!  It can be a challenge to keep critters from our produce, can't it?  We're looking forward to lots of pics and updates!

Good luck with your pineapple guava, Deborah, definitely keep us posted.  I love Baker Nursery too, it's always such a fun place to visit and learn and shop. 

Looks like the weather will be warm and wonderful for several more days, and then a serious chill down with a high percentage of rain here in the Valley by Sunday and then early next week.  I've still got some rain water in my 75 gallon rain barrel, but it would be nice to replenish it a bit.  Here's a quick pic of some containers on my patio.  Wilson the tennis ball included to show size.  My garden smells of citrus all the time right now, with a nice addition of pansies and nasturtiums in the day, and sultry petunias at night.  I love it!


Happy gardening!


Comment by Nancy Mumpton - Phoenix AZ (Z 9) on March 13, 2012 at 7:10pm

I love Baker's too. I just wish it was closer to my house. It's quite a drive from Sun Lakes!

Comment by Deborah Hamel (Z9a-9b Arizona) on March 13, 2012 at 12:34pm

I decided to try planing pineapple guava along the shaded fence to create a visual barrier. The folks at Baker's Nursery, as always, helped me make the choice. I'll let you know how it works in the summer months to come.

If you have the time, just drive into Baker's Nursery, it is a blaze of color! Just being there, around so many happy plants and such supportive staff members, made my day.

Comment by Grant, Scottsdale,Arizona Zone 9 on March 13, 2012 at 10:08am

Good morning everyone!  I hope you are enjoying the magnificent weather this week!  I'm enjoying the last of my navel orange harvest, plus lots and lots of lettuce and Swiss chard and lemons too.  The garden is awash in blooms (I posted a photo album for March if you're curious).  It's a great time of year here in the garden, isn't it? 

Here's a simple plant with a simple bloom:  good old Gazania.  I planted a bunch of the same variety around a small grown-from-seed orange tree and they're all starting to bloom right now.  Such easy, colorful, low-water leafy plants for this climate. So easy to root from stem cuttings too. 

Happy gardening!


Comment by Deborah Hamel (Z9a-9b Arizona) on March 11, 2012 at 1:32pm

Kirsten- Here is the recipe my grandmother followed (She liked serving it as a sheet cake to groups of guests.):

Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake


2 C all-purpose flour

¾ C Hershey Cocoa Powder

1 t baking powder

1t baking soda

¼ t salt

1 C water or milk

3 large room temp. eggs

1 t vanilla extract

1 ½ sticks room temperature butter (unsalted best)

1 ½ C white sugar

1 ½ C sauerkraut, rinsed and drained or patted dry

½ C chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

Frost with your favorite chocolate, fudge or cream cheese frosting recipe, or the recipe you use for your red velvet cake frosting. In “America’s Best Lost Recipes” they suggest the following recipe:

4 C semisweet chocolate chips, melted

1 1/3 C mayonnaise

1 C sweetened, shredded coconut

1 C chopped pecans


Mix all dry ingredients accept the sugar in a bowl. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar together until fluffy. Mix all wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry and wet ingredients alternately into the butter-sugar mix, make sure they are combined before adding more. Once combined, fold in sauerkraut and nuts.

Bake in a sheet pan or three 9” cake pans. 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.

An online search yields several recipes that are all pretty much the same, only some suggest other brand name cocoa powder.

Comment by Grant, Scottsdale,Arizona Zone 9 on March 11, 2012 at 11:47am

Hi everyone!

Debbie, welcome to the group!  We hope you'll post lots of pics and updates!  This is a great place to spend time, learn, share, and chat.  We're super happy you joined us! What can you tell us about your current garden and/or houseplants? We'd love to see/hear more. :)

Deborah, thanks for sharing about your favorite photographer, his work sounds really neat!  Your salted cabbage is wonderful!  I am absolutely going to make a batch myself this week.  Thanks for sharing the pic and the recipe!! 

Kirsten, the sauerkraut recipe sounds great too.  I may have to give that a try (I just bought commercial kraut yesterday, LOL).  Thanks for that as well! 

Just for fun, here are two plants blooming away in my garden right now.  One is a mini-petunia (Calibrachoa) 'Cherry Star' and the other is an orange Cyrtanthus brachyspinus.  Like regular petunias, the Calibrachoa blooms nonstop for me November through mid-May or so.  The Cyrtanthus (used to be lumped in with Clivia) makes a nice flush of blooms in late winter, with occasional blooms all summer long.  I hope you take a look and enjoy. 

I'm going to start capturing these great recipes.  Thanks again for the fun posts and recipes!

Happy gardening,


Comment by Deborah Hamel (Z9a-9b Arizona) on March 10, 2012 at 10:50pm

Kirsten-150 people??? Wow! I'll bet it is a fun time. May I ask what recipe you use to make your sauerkraut? Would you be willing to share, or is it an old family secret?

I have been having such success growing white cabbage, I would love to plant more next year, but I don't exactly know what to do with it all. I tried planting it in various areas around the property, so it was ready to harvest at different times, luckily. It likes full winter sun, 90 days produced 6-7 lb. heads.

Side Note: My grandmother had a wonderful chocolate-sauerkraut cake recipe that I am going to try with some of the Salt Cabbage. It turns out like the red velvet cake, a little sour, and the texture of the cabbage is like that of coconut, only without the sweetness.

Comment by Deborah Hamel (Z9a-9b Arizona) on March 10, 2012 at 8:13pm

Welcome, Debbie. I have found this group to be very supportive and inspiring with respect to anything garden in Arizona. Members share experiences and ask for suggestions. Enjoy!


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