Tag Archives: High Desert Living

Why is my soil so compacted?

Originally posted on Soils Matter, Get the Scoop!:
Hopefully, the ground in your yard has thawed by now (regrets to those who still have frozen ground!). So why is it that when you try to push your shovel into the…

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Volunteer Salad Garden

I have had a lot on my plate lately and it shows in my neglected garden.  With spring breaking out, I thought I would go out and start preparing for planting.  I was in for a happy surprise.  I let last … Continue reading

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March Planting List for Home Grown Vegetables – Town of Apple Valley, California

“What can I grow here?” is common question the circulates among gardeners new to an area.  When I first moved into my home, I started a plant list searchable by planting date in Microsoft Access.  I got my information by … Continue reading

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Mystery Blogger Award 2017

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. Continue reading

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Lupine Seedlings Emerge After Winter Rain

After years of drought we finally got good rain in the High Desert. Lupine seedlings started to emerge in December.  I have carpets of them where mud puddles collected.  Spring is on its way!

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Easy Quince Custard Pie

Today I am doing some “clean the fridge cooking” prior to going out for major grocery shopping.  I had a container of cooked quince puree that I needed to use.  Well, it sort of looks like pumpkin pie filling……. So, … Continue reading

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Gluten Free Gingered Quince Muffins

  The storm blew most of my quince off of the tree and I have a new gluten free baking flour from WinCo bulk section that I just had to tryout.  Of course, quince muffins would be my first solution.  … Continue reading

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Farmers Flood Fields to Store Rainwater. Next is Protecting it from Evaporation

Dan Charles Recently posted a story on NPR, As Rains Soak California, Farmers Test How To Store Water Underground about farmers flooding their fields with rainwater in order to infiltrate the water into store the water in soil and replenish … Continue reading

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Spicy Minty Quince Salad

One of the most productive plants in my yard is the quince.  Passersby will often stop to ask, “What is that yellow fruit hanging over the fence?”  When I answer, “Quince”, their confusion increases.  “What is that? What do you … Continue reading

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California Fuchsia (Epilobium canum) Adds Fall Color to High Desert Gardens

I took a lot of chances on planting California native plants slightly out of their natural range.  Most of them didn’t make it. One of the successes, among my favorites, was California fuchsia (Epilobium canun). I planted mine where the … Continue reading

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October Rain | Time to Sow Seed and Plant Bulbs

Its a perfect day for planting in the High Desert. We just had a nice October rain and there is 20% chance of rain for the rest of the day. It is warm and balmy with a light wind. In … Continue reading

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Rock Outcrops | Observations and Thoughts for a Desert Rain Garden

Rock outcrops show us how lush, green plants such as native cherries can flourish in a desert during a major drought without expensive irrigation water. Continue reading

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Meet VIP Member of Pest Management Team

Well, I wish the praying mantis could focus on less beneficial herbivorous insects than honey bees. Just the same, this insect carnivore,  is welcome in my garden.  This one was rather brazen and had no objection to a photo session while eating it’s … Continue reading

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What “cover crops” could home gardeners consider in the fall?

Originally posted on Soils Matter, Get the Scoop!:
Farmers across the country use “cover crops” over the winter. Cover crops do several things, depending on what is planted: Help prevent erosion and topsoil loss. Their roots, and the plants themselves,…

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Minty Mung Bean and Nectarine Salad

The resulting salad is spicy hot, sweet and tangy, minty cool, and chewy. Continue reading

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Crispy Pototo Cake Filled with Chickpea Polenta

What about putting a crispy hash brown exterior on creamy chick pea polenta? Continue reading

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A very summery quinoa salad (Citrus and mint quinoa salad)

Originally posted on Indu's International Kitchen:
Quinoa is so versatile. You can do pretty much anything with it – make quinoa upma, use in salads or even soups and also use to make burgers.! Truly versatile. Plus so healthy…

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Chia Seed Pudding and Apricot Layered Parfait

I just ran into a couple of great looking blogs featuring the use of chia seeds as a thickener to make pudding.  The puddings looked like cool tasty treats for hot afternoon snacks, after dinner deserts, or quick,  healthy, grab … Continue reading

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No Sugar Apricot Juice and Apricot Jam – Day 2

Originally posted on Caliche Challenge:
Branch Loaded with Apricots. Ingredients 2 cups condensed apricot juice (about 10 cups fresh apricots reduced to 2 cups concentrated juice) 8 cups fresh apricots 71/2 tablespoons  low or no-sugar needed pectin 2 tablespoons lemon…

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Chick Pea Tortillas Wrap-up Home Grown Veggies in Tasty Tacos

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Originally posted on Caliche Challenge:
Yummy!       If you could eat it with a corn tortilla, you could eat it with a chick pea tortilla. “No more white stuff,” my cardiologist sternly warned me.  I took to the internet for Ideas.…

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Plum Good – Call for Recipes – Please?!

This blog has a mixture of recipes that I tried and recipes that look tempting all organized in one place.  I have a mountain of plums to can and quick! They are falling off of the tree faster than I … Continue reading

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In a Pot of Pure Trouble | Chicken Shamed

So who was in the vegetable garden beating me to my own harvest? That darned Leaf! Continue reading

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Dance to the Spicy Taco Recipe!

  April 1, 2016: The Global Pulse Confederation (GPC) and its Partners around the world continue their celebrations of the UN-declared International Year of Pulses with the launch today of the World’s Greatest Pulse Dishes, a collection of 60+ pulse-based … Continue reading

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Simple Starter Compost Pile | Wire Basket

A simple way to start a compost pile is to create a wire basket.  Take a sheet of mesh fencing such as chicken wire, hardware cloth, or chain link fencing that is readily accessible.  Overlap the sides of the mesh … Continue reading

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How Some Animals Can Help Compost

Good scavengers for the backyard composting include pigeons, rabbits and chickens. Continue reading

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Spiced Quince Streusel Muffins

These muffins are fragrant, spicy and flavorful.  They make a great grab and go breakfast or snack. The use of unrefined sugars provides a caramel flavor.  The basic recipe uses drained quince sauce, which is similar to apple sauce.  When … Continue reading

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Cedar Seed Storage Box

Steps to Do Tomorrow
Cut Rabbets for Top and Bottom
Check Fit
Glue Box Together
Trim Ends Continue reading

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We Have a Vacancy: Building a Bug Hotel for Solitary Bees

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Originally posted on Mind Your Dirt:
Now here’s a project that doesn’t take too much time and is simply perfect for the whole family. The materials used for this are all items you can hunt for in parks or woods…

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What is Compost?

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, compost is “a mixture that consists largely of decayed organic matter and is used for fertilizing and conditioning land.” Simply put, compost is what is left behind by organisms that eat dead things. Biologists call these … Continue reading

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Summary of My Training and Experience Regarding Compost

My introduction to compost was a gift from my Dad.  As a farm boy and soil scientist, he had an avid interest in compost long before it became trendy.  Some of my earliest memories were of him turning and tending … Continue reading

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Fried Egg Plant aka Matilija Poppy Adds Sizzle to Mojave Gardens

  My mother introduced me to Matilija poppy when I was a teenager.  She planted one in her front garden.  The poppy didn’t exactly like where she put it, so it literally moved.  It spread by underground stems to where … Continue reading

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Surprise Visit From Pest Management Team Member

California Herps Page for Yellow-backed Spiny Lizard – Sceloporus uniformis   I was quite surprised to find a friendly visitor in my dining room this afternoon.  A rather calm lizard was basking on the tile floor.  My cat walked by … Continue reading

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My Answer to The White Crowned Sparrow

My parents came to visit when my home was relatively new.  I showed my little vegetable garden to them with requests for advice.  One problem that I was having was that seeds would germinate, and then disappear within a day … Continue reading

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Local Gardener Skips Soil: Hydroponics Garden

Turning the desert into an ‘oasis of healthy eating   The Victorville Daily Press released an  interesting article about a local gardener who uses hydroponics to grow his vegetables.  Good read. By Rene Ray De La Cruz Staff Writer Posted … Continue reading

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Burrowing Barrier Effective: Chicken 1 Mouse 0

Shortly after applying the last batch of cement, observations of mice droppings went from common to briefly incidental. My best hunter, Apricot, suddenly put on weight. Her egg production went from intermittent to slightly over one egg per day. Continue reading

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Desert Natives Nursery​ Delivers

If you are tire of spending money on plants that don’t belong here and ultimately die, a local nursery operated by horticulturists with expertise in the local ecosystem is a wise investment. For what I spent taking risks on plants that never stood a chance, I would have been better off spending more money per plant on plants that do well under local growing conditions. Continue reading

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Planning For New Gate

I purchased a “fixer upper” that needs lots of work.  Now that I am retired, I have the time to take a basic woodworking class.  I intend to build a gate for my final project.  Ambitious for a beginner, I … Continue reading

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Studying the National Electric Code with Frick and Frack

My new pullets needed to learn to not be afraid of humans.  I really needed to spend time with them for socialization training.  I also have a backlog of homework and studying from a series of medical issues in my … Continue reading

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Value of Ancient Ways – Dialog with Pat Spray Regarding His Native American Ancestor’s Use of Key Hole Gardens

For all our stunning scientific advancements, listening to grandparents talk about traditional ways is well worth while. Sure, some traditions worked out better in the long run than others. As we push the limits on technical advancements, we are learning which traditions are keepers. Native American agricultural practices that endured through thousands of years without environmental collapse are worth in-depth study. Continue reading

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Free Water in the Desert

So, I’m not the only crazy person out there who sees free irrigation water in “flooding problems” I found a great series of links to videos on stormwater and rainwater harvesting. If you want to grow more than rocks in … Continue reading

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Spiced Fruit Muffins Made with Ground Yellow Pea Flour

I found an appealing recipe for Lentil Apple Muffins on the internet.  Only one problem, it was a few days before payday, and I needed to cook with ingredients that I had in the pantry.  I was out of lentils … Continue reading

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Mojave Roadside Swale Blooms After Desert Rains

I maintained the grade of the roadside swale and added landscaping to solve problems: flooding of the intersection, unauthorized “off-roading” across my front yard, and unauthorized cement laying in my corner. An additional benefit has been free irrigation water in an area where water is very expensive. Continue reading

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Mojave Aster

Mojave Aster,  is easily one of my favorite plants.  It features large blue flowers with a yellow center.  When it opened it’s flowers in my garden this morning, I had to share it with you. My Experience Growing Mojave Aster … Continue reading

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Hen House with Adobe?  How I intend to make life better for my chickens.The Art of Superabode

Superadobe or earth bag building was developed by Nader Khalili, an Iranian American architect, writer, and humanitarian. He developed the superadobe system in 1984, in response to a NASA call for … Source: The Art of Superabode   Cal-Earth has … Continue reading

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More Awesome Links for Key Hole Gardens

Keyhole gardens are basically raised beds with an access path and built in compost column. After I published Keyhole Gardens are a Proven Strategy for Working With Caliche in Arid Regions, I got a ping back from  Mr. Jon Moore … Continue reading

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Mojave Fruits and Nuts

I have had both good success and expensive failures growing fruit and nut trees in my garden.  My Tillman Apricot is by far my best producer.  Other trees failed to survive the first year.  We can have warm winters and … Continue reading

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Iris Thrives in Mojave Gardens

None of the iris that I purchased bloomed so far this year.  The iris that were given to me, on the other hand, have been spectacular.  When I compare iris that thrived to iris that either died or failed to … Continue reading

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Gardening Applications for “Lighting & Reflections”

This gallery contains 5 photos.

these sculptures have potential for high end green houses, keyhole tops and chicken coops. ……… Continue reading

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Keyhole Gardens are a Proven Strategy for Working With Caliche in Arid Regions

I learned some wonderful strategies for working with caliche layers under poor soils from the local gardening community.  Keyhole gardens are one of the approaches.  I have seen several interpretations of the keyhole garden posted on Facebook.  Then  some Julie … Continue reading

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Make Shift Chicken Bed

I needed a quick and affordable way to house my chickens at night.  I got wire cages from a pet store, put them up on tables under the eaves of my home, wrapped them with bubble wrap insulation, and clamped … Continue reading

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Chicken Home

By request, I am posting images of my chicken’s home.  It is still a work in progress.  The aviary, made with materials that happened to be on hand, provides protection to my chickens, but it isn’t exactly pretty.  I took … Continue reading

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Meet Frick and Frack

Their assigned duties will include (with time) egg laying, nutrient processing, compost processing, pest control, chicken therapy and general entertainment. Continue reading

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Chick Pea Tortillas Wrap-up Home Grown Veggies in Tasty Tacos

Yummy! If you could eat it with a corn tortilla, you could eat it with a chick pea tortilla. Continue reading

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Great International Dishes Made From Pulses

worlds-greatest-pulse-dishes-photos features an amazing, mouthwatering photo gallery of dishes made with pulses. These labeled pictures are a wonderful one stop idea shop for inspiring web searches for new recipes.  See a photo you like? Copy paste the name of the … Continue reading

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Article Published on Need to Expand Use of Pulses.

“Pulses:
• provide plant-based proteins and amino acids,
ensuring food security.
• fight obesity due to their high fiber content.
• prevent and help manage chronic diseases such
as diabetes, coronary conditions, and cancer.
• are an important source of plant-based protein
for livestock.
• fix nitrogen, increasing soil fertility.
• are sustainable, using less water than many
other protein crops.” Continue reading

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Growing in the Zone

When I am selecting plants that I am not familiar with, knowing which zone my garden is in, can be really handy. Continue reading

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Rhubarb Provides Foliage For Garden and Tasty Stems for Pies and Jams

I bought a six pack of rhubarb from Cal Herbolds.  Searching for the best micro-climate, I planted them in a variety of places.  They didn’t do well in well drained sand with full sun. This rhubarb, on the other hand, … Continue reading

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Article in a nut shell, locally native milkweeds are good for monarchs. Tropical and non-native milkweeds may bloom at times that disrupt monarch migratory schedule.  Additionally, non-natives may invade natural habitat and destroy native plants needed by many species.Milkweed Can Be Bad For Monarchs?

Source: Milkweed Can Be Bad For Monarchs?

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Source for Milkweed.  I am not familiar with this nursery. I am bookmarking it for future references and thought that  I should share it with you.Asclepias Tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) Hello Yellow | Milkweed Plant | Plant For Monarch Butterflies

Asclepias Tuberosa – Carefree, long-lived N. American native both deer and drought resistant, and the only plant the monarch butterfly will lay her eggs on. Source: Asclepias Tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) Hello Yellow | Milkweed Plant | Plant For Monarch Butterflies

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This article supports use of infiltrating roof run off and road runoff in rain gardens.  More could be gained than free irrigation for native and drought tolerant gardens. Storing Extra Surface Water Boosts Groundwater Supply During Droughts | UT News | The University of Texas at Austin

Although years of drought and over-pumping have depleted groundwater in Arizona and California, a new study shows the situation has created underground reservoirs where extra surface water can be stored. Source: Storing Extra Surface Water Boosts Groundwater Supply During Droughts … Continue reading

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Banana Yucca Blooms for Easter

Happy Easter! Continue reading

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Holly Leaf Cherry Provides Dark Green Foliage With Little to No Irrigation

Native to California, the holly leaf cherry is a tough shrub to small tree that provides dense evergreen foliage, food for birds, shade, and depending on the location, privacy. Continue reading

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Firecracker Penstemon Adds Pop to Mojave Gardens

Of all the plants that I have purchased to date, firecracker penstemon has given me the biggest bang for my buck. Continue reading

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Botanic Gardens: Spring Plant Sale

On the weekend of April 2nd and 3rd, nearly 10,000 plants and more than 600 varieties will be available for you to purchase. Continue reading

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Peace, Love and Soil – Composting improves soil, gardens, moods, and relationships.

Peace, Love and Soil – Composting improves soil, gardens, moods, and relationships. Continue reading

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“Angelita Daisy”

“Angelita Daisy”, (Tetraneuris ivesiana Greene), provides color and food for bees almost year round. Continue reading

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Red Etampes Pumpkin Seeds | Buy Seeds by the Packet or in Bulk at EdenBrothers.com

I looked up a source for red pumpkin seeds to grow the pumpkin listed in the following recipe.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVxSXc_221g&google_comment_id=z13jwdkbkvz5glk3u22ezheofnjwg3ale&feature=em-comments I am currently looking for ways to eat without “white stuff” per instructions from my cardiologist.  There are a lot … Continue reading

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Free Days at Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens

Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden is a great place to view and purchase plants that grow well in Southern California.  Their collections and nursery include plants that do well in the Mojave Desert.  Their botanists are also a great resource. … Continue reading

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Cool Fix for Gardening on a Hot Day – Banana Smoothie for Electrolyte Balance

These tasty treats are quick, cold, and help my body handle working and gardening in the high desert heat. Continue reading

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Thank You Dad

“We are all Americans.” Thanks Dad for telling me the story and putting it all together for me. Continue reading

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