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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 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!

Comment by Deborah Hamel (Z9a-9b Arizona) on March 10, 2012 at 5:58pm

Grant-You asked to see what I did with the cabbage I harvested, well...Salt Cabbage in the making.

This is a large, glass pickle jar filled with cabbage (5 heads) and carrot (2 large) soaking in a brine of 2T Kosher Salt, 2T White Sugar, 1 liter of clear water. Add brine to cover the cabbage-carrot mix. Cut the cabbage to your desired shape and size. I let it stand in a cool, dark place for 3-5 days before refrigerating, taste test on day 3.

Use as a condiment, side dish or the basis for a bake with sausages. One of our neighbors is from Bulgaria, and he uses large trash cans for the process. Wonderful flavor and texture!

Look online for other Russian recipes for Salt Cabbage, both making it and using it. I love spring in the Phoenix valley.

Comment by Deborah Hamel (Z9a-9b Arizona) on March 9, 2012 at 8:52pm

I am so excited, one of my favorite photographers, George Lewis from Prescott, AZ, also an avid rose grower, is in Casa Grande this weekend showing his work at the art show across from the Court House. He does the same process Ansel Adams did, the Platinum/Palladium method as well as digital. He has a way with domestic animals and children, still life and landscapes. There is so much depth and warmth in his images...

I could go on and on about George's work and what a generous man he is when he shares the stories behind the photographs.

If any of you go to the Casa Grande show, please post your thoughts and maybe an image or two for us to see.

Comment by Grant, Scottsdale,Arizona Zone 9 on March 9, 2012 at 5:13pm

Finally we're warming up again!  Such great weather today and hopefully this weekend.  I did some great hiking last weekend and plan on doing some more this weekend too.  In the meantime, here's a super fragrant super easy Gladiolus tristus just starting to bloom in my garden.  I've been growing them for several years and they just get bigger and better each year.  The scent is really, really wonderful...sort of floral mixed with a touch of natural beeswax if that makes sense, LOL.   In any case, here's a pic.  So easy and fun.  Happy gardening!

Comment by Grant, Scottsdale,Arizona Zone 9 on March 7, 2012 at 5:11pm

Right you are, Nancy!  My mistake.  It's NEXT weekend.  Thanks!

Comment by Nancy Mumpton - Phoenix AZ (Z 9) on March 7, 2012 at 4:59pm

I think the DBG sale is next weekend, the 16th, 17th , and 18th.


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