Monday, March 02, 2015

Lectures Coming Up - Mark Your Calendars

Dear Folks,

I have 3 lectures coming up this month and next.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum
March 22, 2015
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
The Key To Successful Gardening In the Desert 

Chandler Sunset Library
March 28, 2015
10:30 a.m. - Noon
Co-Lecture with Jean Groen
Our Edible Desert
Threes Sisters and A Fourth 

Scottsdale Mustang Library
April 11, 2015
Garden Expo
Lecture 1 p.m.
Booths 10 a.m. - mid-afternoon
Snowsuits in July, Swim Suits in December 

I hope to see you at one of these events.

Get your gardening on!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Friday, February 27, 2015

Rain Coming - Good time for transplanting

Dear Folks,

With the rain coming in this weekend, it is a good time to get your transplants in - the rain will seal the soil to the roots very well and give the plants a good drink.

FYI - I have tomato and other plants and seedling starts for sale today at the Mesa Farmers Market  9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

This time of year is also prime disturbed weather conditions for hail (warm/cold/wind), so have your frost protection available to cover young plants - I like these poor man's cloches - you can also use 2 liter soda bottles.  Always clean well, so you do not have mold issues.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cardinal Hide 'n Seek, Free shipping on books and calendar expiring soon, Transplants

Dear Folks,

Mr. Cardinal played hide and seek with me among the bare/flowering apricot and plum trees - he was quite talk-a-tive :-)

 They do not visit us often - usually around this time of year or later in spring.  Sometimes with the Mrs. and a juvenile.  Just one of the delights in the garden when you have cover for them.

All of our fruit trees are now at one point or other in bloom so I'm trying to capture these delights of the day.  Our Johnny-Jump-Up lawn is starting to bloom nicely.  This picture was taken last year at this time.  The "pansy forest" is going to be even more dense this year - I will post pictures later in March/April to give you the full effect :-)

Meanwhile, my publisher's offer of free mail shipping or discounted ground shipping expires tomorrow (February 25th) near midnight.

A reminder note about my calendar.  This is the first year I've been able to produce a desert edible specific calendar and I intend to make a new one each year, with new photos and any additional tips I add.  Having said that, I would encourage you to think of this calendar as "perpetual" - all of the information remains the same for each month and through out the year

My Publisher's Free / reduced Shipping Offer


With the cooler weather for this week, it is a great time to get more of your transplants in the ground.  I will have transplants and seedling "starts" available at the Friday Mesa Farmers Market each week for the next several weeks.  It is to your benefit to get them in the ground as soon as possible.

Have a great day in the garden,

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Publisher is Offering Free Mail Shipping or Discount on Ground

Dear Folks,

My publisher is offering free Mail shipping or 50% off of Ground shipping until February 25, 2015

Don't Miss Out On Free Shipping!
Get free mail shipping or 50% off ground shipping on your order.
Cannot be combined with other offers.
Offer ends February 25th at 11:59pm
Use Code: DBS15

My page on the publisher's site.

Scroll through for pint calendar and books.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Sunday, February 08, 2015

New! MOBILE "Desert Gardening Perpetual Calendar"

Dear Folks,

Many of you know and have purchased (thank you!) my brand new Wall Calendar designed specifically for gardening with edibles in the desert.

With all of the "mobility" tech devices out there, I thought a downloadable version of the calendar would be helpful.

While the calendar is for 2015, all of the month-by-month planting information, gardening maintenance, and tips don't change. The planting and "To-Do" chores are the same next February as this February.

I do plan on bringing out a new Wall Calendar each year with new pictures from our gardens and any additional tips I can pass on to you, however both the wall calendar and the digital calendar can be treated as a PERPETUAL calendar.

So, I created a PDF version of the calendar.

See information below on PDF readers.

WHY purchase a digital edition?

Convenience!  That is the primary reason everyone has a smart phone or eReader handy.

Let's say you are out shopping and think:  "Now what plants / seeds did I need to get this month?"  Check the calendar on your device.

You are discussing things you would like to do in the garden with friends or family and you are away from home - check the calendar on your device!

Your friend or relative knows you garden and asks what to can they plant?   Check the calendar on your device!

The PDF file is $6 (the wall calendar is $16.96 plus shipping).  I think my wall calendar is beautiful and useful (and so do many of you), but something that is even more convenient for you and if it will get you growing more of your own food, I don't mind one bit if you go the less expensive way, plus have a calendar that will work from year to year.  (There is a preview under the picture on the site.)

Desert Gardening Success - Perpetual Calendar

PDFs can be read on any device which has a PDF reader, Adobe supplies these all free as a download.  You can also store the file on all of your devices: phone, ereader and computer

Here is a link for Adobe's free mobile app for smart phones and iPad

Adopbe has a free "digital editions" app for certain other eReaders

And, if you do not the Adobe PDF reader on your computer or laptop, you can get it free here.

Mac version of the Adobe PDF reader

If you would like the wall calendar here is the link for it.

You may wish to check out the PDF version of my cookbook 101+ Recipes from The Herb Lady

There is also a preview under the cover picture.

Helping you grow more of our own food, successfully!

Have a great day in the desert garden,

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Monday, February 02, 2015

Nasturtiums and a Little Magic Moment in the Garden

Dear Folks,

Thanks to almost 2 inches of rain in 3 days we turned off the irrigation water and probably won't have to start up again for about 2 weeks!  Money saved.

While touring the gardens yesterday on a bright sunny morning I discovered this delightful image - it felt magical with the water drop magnifying the veins of this large nasturtium leaf.

During the Freeze 3 or so weeks ago, many of the nasturtiums took a hit but so many were already germinating and growing under the canopy of the dieback, it does not look like we were frosted at all.

Nasturtiums are some of my favorite edibles.  They happily reseed each year filling all the tree wells and volunteering in other places, like beside the compost cinder block bed etc.  They grow and bloom from fall into early summer.

The flowers, leaves, and immature seeds are totally edible and they are used as a pest-bug deterrent by some.

So how big is "large" -- 7 inches - some slightly bigger!!

I've used my leaves to make "dolma" aka stuffed grape leaves, substituting the nasturtium for grape leaves. On a side note one of these years I'm going to have to try and catch some of our fig leaves when young and make dolma (my research found references to the original dolma did use fig leaves).

Here is the link to my recipe for Nasturtium Leaf Dolma

Flowers and leaves are a great addition to salads.  The immature seeds are a nice bite of horseradish for salads, dressings, sauces or soups.  CAUTION:  Pregnant women should limit the amount of nasturtiums in their diet.

It is not too late to get some nasturtiums growing in your garden.

Nick the seeds slightly with a nail file or similar (don't go too deep), soak over night or for 2 days and plant half to 1 inch down.  Nasturtiums germinate in the dark.

Enjoy these edibles for their beauty and flavor!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Find my wall calendar and books on the publishers site:

You can also find the books on these sites:


amazon - print

Barnes & Noble - print and Nook ebook


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Doing The Tough Stuff In The Garden

Dear Folks,

It goes without saying that we love our garden.  We love the trees, veggies, fruits and flowers.  When we have to take put plants it grieves us.  We have an orderly garden, but not a manicured one and it has been our habit when plants we enjoy harvesting from are doing well, we let them be.

The challenge comes when the encroachment of one variety into another requires us to - finally - take action.

Strawberries and asparagus companion very well together.  But after the last couple years of dwindling asparagus harvest we finally had to address the alpine strawberries taking over the asparagus territory. Sigh.

The strawberries encompassed so much of what we call the upper garden we have been able to pick some fruit pretty much every month year-round with about 3 heavy harvesting periods a year.  Sigh again.

So, Deane tackled digging out all the strawberry plants in the asparagus territory.  I saved some for some friends and may bring a bag or two of clumps to the market it they are looking okay then.

The picture shows Deane about half-way through the digging part (dig, shake off dirt, toss in a pile), and the pile of plants which I added to one of our tree wells for composting in-place.  I couldn't add these beloved plants to the dump trailer.

I picked up some replacement asparagus plants yesterday.

I know our remaining strawberry plants will continue to fruit and reproduce.  I actually may thin a little to open up the remaining plants.  Alpines do not produce a lot of runners, but do produce a lot of seed.  We find seedlings in the most amusing places - middle of the lawn, middle of the berm (that one is a hardy one since it gets no direct water!), or tucked at the edge of a tree elsewhere.

And so it goes and grows in our garden.

Enjoy your garden too, and take time to think about what the plants need.

If you need help, I'm always happy to answer your email questions (or in person at the Mesa Farmers Market), or you can find printable help at my publisher's site.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady