Blog

Bringing a Mum Back to Life

For my birthday, my bestie got me a potted mum plant. It had flowers on it and it was cute. The store that potted it used really bad soil that did not keep moisture well at all (dried out very quickly) and between the time my friend bought the mum and gave it to me […]

How Marigolds Bloom

This is the first time I have ever planted marigolds. In the past, I put all my focus into vegetables. However, this year I changed my tune and I have loved putting marigolds in most of our raised beds. Marigolds are great companions to vegetables because they bring bees and other goodness. I am glad […]

African Spear Plant

African Spear is the common name for Sansevieria Cylindrica. It is also known as the snake plant (its leaves look like snakes). This is a succulent plant that requires little water and also less sunlight than other succulents do. I bought it in a tiny little pot. Today, I pulled it out after it had […]

Four Varieties of Cherry in One Tree

We planted a tree in our back yard that is four varieties of cherry grafted as one tree. This allows the tree to be pollinated more successfully. It is blooming now. The fruit comes in green and often hidden among the leaves. Then, it will gain its color. How I Keep Bugs and Birds Away […]

When Mushrooms Appear

When it rains a lot in one week or when a plant some decay, mushrooms appear in our garden. Mushrooms often appear in our day lilies because day lilies have a natural cycle of a part of the plant dying and a new part of the plant coming up the next season. This season, however, […]

Hairy Vetch Sneaks Up On You

One day I was weeding our path from the front gate to the back gate. We made this path with crushed sand. It’s finer than decomposed granite. I’ve noticed that it’s similar enough to a litter box that all the neighborhood cats use it as their luxury bathroom. But I digress. Weeds also grow in […]

Flowering Bergenia

Bergenia flowers are some of my favorites when it comes to flowers. The color is a vibrant magenta. The leaves of an Bergenia plant are much greater in size than the flowering stem that emerges. Bergenia leaves are large all year round. In the winter, they turn a dark reddish brown. The lower leaves die […]

When Succulents Flower

Once it had started raining, and the holiday season had started, I ignored my succulents for several weeks. I don’t have to worry about them drying up in the hot summer sun, and they don’t get overwatered by the rain, being under the eaves. Water and humidity blow their way and they do well by […]

Dragon’s Blood for Landscaping

One of my favorite plants to incorporate into landscaping is Dragon’s Blood. My sister-in-law taught me about this plant and she helped plant several in our landscaping. It works as a ground cover, but you can’t walk on it. It’s decorative. Dragon’s Blood is the common name for sedum spurium, which is misleading because it’s […]

SunSparkler Sedum Lime Zinger

I have a pot that hosts a low-profile succulent called SunSparkler Sedum, specifically the Lime Zinger. The SunSparkler is a variety in the Sedum genus, which is part of the Crassulaceae family. It is hardy and meant to be planted outside where it can spread. I live in Zone 9, so the winters here are […]

Baby Toes Succulent

I first learned about the Baby Toes succulent at Trader Joe’s! I just hadn’t seen this variety of succulent at any nurseries nearby. Baby Toes is a succulent that looks like little toes. Baby Toes is the common name for Fenestraria Rhopalophylla. Succulents and Sunshine teaches, “This ‘window-leaf’ succulent grows tubes instead of rosettes, with […]

Scarface

Guest post by Alecca Jackson We have a drey outside our bedroom window. It housed a small mother and her new baby squirrel when we first moved in. Each year more dreys appear (and the coir and hay in our hanging plants mysteriously disappear). What started as just “Mr. Squirrel” became “Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel” […]

Deltoid-Leaved Dewplant

A few years ago, I acquired a deltoid-leaved dewplant, the common name for oscularia deltoides. It is so named because of the triangular, or really pyramidal, leaves that it has (deltoid being the name of that pyramidal shape). This succulent grows best outside and can weather low and high temperatures if cared for appropriately. It […]

Little Pickles Through the Months

“Little Pickles” is the common name for Othonna capensis. It is a succulent in the Asteraceae family (genus Othonna). The leaves (which are fleshy) look like tiny pickles and it ranges in color (green to pink to purple) based on the environment. I grow this outside in a pot right against my house so the […]

Trionfo Violetto

Last year, I grew a bean pole variety called Trionfo Violetto, or “purple triumph.” It is a variety whose bean is solid purple and very long (some as long as a typical new #2 pencil, which is 7 inches). The plant looks lovely with its contrasting purple and green elements, such as the purple beans […]

Lemongrass: It’s About the Stalks, not the Leaves

I’ve had this lemongrass plant for over a year. It has been through one winter in the garage and I am surprised it survived. Lemongrass love warm weather. Recently, I decided to cut the lemongrass to enjoy its beautiful smell in the house. I have smelled the plant and it smells great. So I cut […]

Fig Biscuits

I got some fresh figs from family recently. They keep their figs in egg cartons to keep them from getting squished. I used gluten-free Bisquick and the biscuit recipe on the box to make fig biscuits. I scraped the insides of a dozen figs and mixed in a few tablespoons of brown sugar and then […]

Getting Rid of a Poison Oak Rash

This summer, someone in my family got poison oak on his clothes and without knowing it, he transferred some of the oil from the plant to his body and developed a rash. We tried cheaper alternatives that just weren’t working well, and when you have that sort of itch and pain, you need something that […]

How to Garden in Bad Air Quality

One thing I am adamant about is not being active outside while the air quality is unhealthy. Lately in Northern California we have had some bad air quality across all tiers, yes even hazardous (the distinctions are excellent, good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy, very unhealthy, and hazardous). The Dixie Fire is north of […]

New Zealand Tomatoes

Our neighbor started New Zealand tomatoes from seeds and gave me one seedling just a few inches tall. I had tried to grow tomatoes from seed this year, but they got too hot in the sun one day and didn’t survive. I still have a lot to learn about starting tomatoes. All other plants seem […]

Matsushima Peppers

Let me introduce you to a variety of pepper that is very rare. It was cross-pollinated, and is partial jalapeño. A friend gave us a small plant, which is doing well so far in one of the raised garden boxes. My friend calls it the “Matsushima Pepper.” I asked my friend for an explanation of […]

Propagation Station

I have been getting into propagation lately. I wrote recently about how to propagate Ajuga. Today I organized what I call my “propagation station,” and perhaps you need one too! Something I had to learn the hard way was how important it is to label and separate varieties of plants. When I first started propagating, […]

Give Your Cantaloupe Plants a Lot of Space

Last year, I grew French cantaloupe from seed. Then, I dehydrated the fruit into a crispy, thin fruit leather. It was delicious and different than the typical flavors of strawberry or apple or apricot. This year, I decided to grow melon from a start I found at the store. The melons that are coming off […]

Protecting Against End Rot

End rot is one of the most common problems I have had, and we have nutrient-rich garden boxes. Even with the best soil, I need to supplement. End rot often happens when plants don’t have enough calcium. End rot has a few signs. First is simply a “rotting” of the end of the fruit or […]

Sun Sugar Cherry Tomatoes

We grew so many tomato plants last year that I didn’t have room for the Sun Sugar tomatoes (a type of cherry tomato) that I bought. So, my sister grew them. I got a taste and they were so good I decided to make room for them this year. This week, there are finally some […]

Propagating Strawberries

Strawberries are possibly the easiest plant to propagate. Maybe even easier than succulents. When I first received my strawberries from my sister Kelly, they were starts in a bag with water. They had long roots. Kelly told me that once my strawberries were mature, I could start some of my own. I remembered this and […]

Crimson Night Raspberries

Crimson Night raspberries are a deep red and we grow them with Red and Double Gold raspberry varieties. Crimson Night is a variety of raspberry that was first available for purchase in 2013. The variety was invented and introduced by Courtney Weber, Cornell small fruits breeder and associate professor of horticulture. This variety is patented: […]

Heirloom Pineapple Tomato

Pineapple Tomatoes are one of the most delicious varieties of tomato. They have a solidness to them, not the seeds-floating-in-mucus type. They are great diced for tacos, sliced for sandwiches, or even whole if you’re the type to bite right in like a vampire. I grew this plant from a start, not from seed. Earlier […]

Watermelon Cucumber Salad

Watermelon Cucumber Salad is one of my favorite summer salads. It is healthy and doesn’t require any dressing. Ingredients Watermelon Cucumber Feta cheese Last year, I used cucumber from my garden. I diced watermelon first and add it to the bowl. Then, I chopped up lemon cucumber and added it. Then, I crumbled feta cheese […]

Little Pickles

Of all plants, I have the most varieties of succulents. I like how hardy they are—and I can go on vacation without getting a plant sitter. They survive for days without attention or water. One of my favorite varieties of succulent is “Little Pickles,” Othonna Capensis, also known as “Ruby Necklace.” Little Pickles can appear […]

Zucchini Fritters

Our zucchini plants have been producing a lot. I gave away some zucchinis, but I still had many left. My 97-year-old neighbor recently taught me how to make zucchini fritters so I can use my zucchini. I hope you enjoy this zucchini fritter recipe. This is roughly the recipe she taught me. She and I […]

How to Give Your Blueberry Plants the Best Soil

In this post, I am going to talk how I plant blueberries in the right soil so that they can thrive. We have two varieties of blueberry plants in a garden box together: Sunshine Blue and Pink Lemonade. What I share is applicable to blueberries in general. These are my personal experiences growing blueberries, not […]

Tree Poppies

Tree Poppies, or Matilija Poppies, are native to California and northern Mexico. They are very tall flowers (the tallest stemmed flower I have been in the presence of) with delicate white petals. They bloom in the spring and summer here in Northern California along a short hiking trail. The poppies I have seen are the […]

Horsetail

Horsetail, which is the English name for the genus Equisetum, is a genus that comprises fifteen varieties, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. It is also known as “scouring rush.” The horsetail is the only living genus in the class Equisetopsida. This is a prehistoric plant, and the only of its kind to survive to this day! […]

Fuzzy Baby Melons

We had some room in one of the garden boxes and I saw some melon starts at the local hardware store, so I decided to purchase and plant one. I started French melons from seeds last year and that process was successful. I even dehydrated some melon, which was really cool. We had many small […]

Ajuga Propagation

I have three potted Ajuga plants in my back yard that have long stems with leaves growing off of them. This usually means that they are ready to be propagated. I cut the start, which it has a “V” shape to it, and set the bottom of the “V” in water for a week or […]

Painted Garden Signs

This week, I have been painting garden signs! They are fun to make. If you want me to make some for you, contact me for pricing. Otherwise, read below for how to make them yourself! First, I buy wooden stakes that are 1/4” thick and about 12” long. Really, 10-15” long works. The stakes need […]

How to Deter Birds from Your Fruit

There are two ways I know of to deter birds from eating your cherries, raspberries, strawberries, etc. The most effective is to use a net, but that doesn’t have the best aesthetics. If you have many fruit trees and want to get as much fruit as possible, go with the net. However, there is a […]

Juicing Your Vegetables

I love juicing! My all-time favorite juicer, which has been an amazing worker for over ten years, is my Breville Juice Fountain. Breville Juicers are amazing. They really get all the liquid out of the vegetables and fruits. I like a little foam on top of my juice, but if you hate foam, the juicer […]

Dehydrating Your Lovage

Lovage is basically a French celery. It’s four times as flavorful as the traditional celery I’m used to in an American grocery store. So, you don’t need a lot of it. I cut the leaves off so I only have the stalks left. I feel like Morticia Addams when I do this. Oh, and remember […]

Sewing My Own Garden Belt

I’ve noticed that garden belts online are not customized to my exact needs. So, I made my own! I used yellow duck canvas. Once I finished, I threaded a military tactical belt through the back because I wanted a heavy duty clasp. The sewing machine that seems to hold up fir this type of work […]

Double Gold Raspberries

You may be used to eating raspberries that are red or red-purple. Did you know there is a gold variety? This variety is called Double Gold and it is light yellow or orange when ripe. We planted these along with some Red raspberries (the cultivar is called “Red”) as well as with some Crimson Night […]

Drying Herbs

I love to dry herbs. This is especially useful when you can’t eat at the speed your plants are producing. I love my Cosori Food Dehydrator. It has been great because it is square-shaped (the round dehydrators waste corners of counter space) and has the volume for drying a lot of herbs at once. You […]

Dried Cantaloupe

I enjoy dehydrating fruits and vegetables that aren’t typically sold dehydrated. While it’s easy to get dried apricots, for example, it’s difficult to find dried cantaloupe. Since our melons have started producing, I decided to try dehydrating some of the fruit. I used my own melons from the garden to make the dehydrated fruit. I […]

Green Horned Caterpillars

Called hornworm caterpillars or other names, the green horned caterpillars are awful. They eat our plants! They start out really small, and they come out at night to feed. So during the heat of the day they are hidden. We learned that a black light is effective for looking for them at night. You have […]

Be Nice to the Praying Mantis

Recently, I found a praying mantis in plain sight sunbathing on a zucchini leaf. If you ever see a praying mantis, you might be tempted to say “Eww a bug!” However, you will want to be nice to the praying mantis. What does a praying mantis eat? Other bugs. It is a hunter. So, similar […]

Growing French Cantaloupe From Seed

I was given some French cantaloupe seeds from my sister Kelly and directions on how to plant them. She told me to put a few seeds in the mound and see what grows. We had some cold weather come through at the start, so to protect the seeds, I put clear bags on top to […]

Red Belle and Sparkler Radishes

This spring, I planted two types of radishes: Red Belle and Sparkler. The Red Belle variety of radishes is solid, bright red and best picked on the young side before they get too big. Sparkler radishes are half white, half red. I gave away most of my radishes because, unlike other vegetables, you have to […]

ice cream in a heart-shaped dish

Strawberry Basil Ice Cream

We are growing so much basil in the garden lately, and it grows so quickly, that we need to find creative uses for it. This ice cream is made with a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker (mine is the white model), which makes life so much easier for me than an old, wooden, hand-crank ice cream […]

Bouquet from a Friend

Recently, a friend gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers from her garden. I don’t grow many stem flowers, so this was a nice treat. The colors are vibrant and the types of flowers in this mix go well together. This bouquet includes sweet pea (purple and pink) and rose (red).

Gardening in the Evening

One of the best times to garden is in the evening. You can avoid getting a sunburn, it’s cooler so you don’t overheat on hot days, and the photos of your vegetables and plants turn out well (photography is worst in the middle of the day because of glare, shadows, and other harsh lighting—try evening […]

Hügelkultur

We had some Honeyberry bushes to plant, but our property is just rock and red dirt. Very few plants can survive in the mountain that we seemingly live on. So, we had to dig out all the rocks and dirt (which took weeks) and then finally fill in the hole with something that could sustain […]

About Me

I’m “Farmer Sally Ann,” according to my neighbors. I have lived in big cities for a few decades, and now I’m learning how to thrive in a small town in Northern California with a plot of land and some seeds. I love to grow, harvest, and make my own food. Here, I share what I’m learning so that if you’re new to this too, we can learn together!