Row by Row

24 February 2020

I’m not going to call myself a gardener yet…. But I would certainly love to be one.  Growing vegetables is my passion, and I am in good company with those of you who are right now planning for the spring, looking over seed catalogs and starting plants indoors and waiting impatiently for “all danger of frost is past” outside.

The truth is, I travel too much to be considered a proper gardener.  Living in a dry climate as we do, there is much need for regular watering, so I have to depend on others (mostly my very much appreciated son Matthew) to water everything while I’m gone.  Eventually, hand watering will be replaced by automatic watering systems – which we are adding slowly as we go. 

My goal in all of this is to improve the quality of the food we eat and to reduce the cost at the grocery store.  It’s also fun to grow unique things that are not offered in the stores, even if it turns out that you didn’t really like them (for instance, mouse melons – yuk, too many seeds).  It’s also a lot of fun to share unusual plants (like walking onions – thanks to Ray in Nevada!) and seeds (Australian blue pumpkins – thanks to Shari in Colorado!) and flower seeds (Hollyhocks – thanks to Anne Marie in California  – and dwarf Hollyhocks thanks to Rebie in Ohio!)

Mouse Melon, aka Cukemelon aka Sour Gherkin – Looks Like a Tiny Watermelon, Tastes Like a Cucumber With Lime

I’m not sure which I enjoy more – the actual gardening (which I love very much) or sharing seeds and plants and advice from others who garden (which I also love very much).  I think both are healthy activities that I can look forward to doing full time during my retirement.  Most doctors agree that gardening is good exercise, but my doctor just rolled his eyes and shook his head when I asked him if my gardening counted as exercise, lol.

LaVerne Cohen asked me to post a picture of my UC-57 asparagus, developed to thrive in SoCal weather.  I bought 2 dozen 2-year bare root plants and put them in the ground last year.  I should be able to harvest some this year, there are already new shoots coming up and they look yummy!  I started with asparagus because that is one vegetable we buy and eat on a regular basis and is one of the more expensive vegetables to get at the store.

New February 2020 Asparagus Shoot, Bigger Diameter Than My Thumb!

Next is spinach!!  We eat a LOT of spinach and it is NOT cheap!!

What would you grow???


  1. Posted by: Jolynn Bales

    When I was a kid, my dad let me grow a little garden that was all my own. I grew green beans, radishes, kohrabi (so?), and cucumbers. Growing that stuff myself made me want to eat it. Even if I didn’t care for it, I’d still eat some of it because I had gone through all that trouble to grow it. I actually love green beans and cukes.
    It was a great way to get a kid to try new things!

  2. Posted by: Anne

    Jolynn – what a great way to teach a kid to eat veggies!! I wish I had done that with my boys!

  3. Posted by: Margie Hoff

    I have potatoes in my DNA.. My Mom was raised by a potato farmer. I get results, but never know when to harvest! I am going to try growing them in compost and straw when I get to our new place in AZ.

  4. Posted by: Anne

    Margie: Lots of info (good and bad) on YouTube….probably have some ideas on when to harvest! We will come out and see you in AZ some time when you get settled!

  5. Posted by: Diane in Colorado

    How about pomegranates! I hear they would do great by you. 🙂

  6. Posted by: Anne

    Diane: A pomegranate tree would take up my entire back yard!

  7. Posted by: Aileen

    What would I grow? Nothing. I kill everything. Even tomatoes don’t grow for me anymore. I am just going to come visit you, or else live vicariously through you. I love hearing about your garden!

  8. Posted by: Anne

    Better yet Aileen…you can visit me and HELP dig up some dirt!!!

  9. Posted by: Shelly Moffatt

    I have started blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. I inherited my parents homestead and we use to have a garden that was almost an acre. Now the trees have matured so I have to find a good spot for a new one. I have a couple of raised beds, I grow tomatoes, beans and I frequent my local farmers market for the rest. I also have an orchard I am trying to rebuild. Apples and Pears. It does take a lot of work. But I would rather be outside then cooped up in a house. Good luck with gardening May the sun shine and warm your soil(soul) 🙂

  10. Posted by: Anne

    Thank you Shelly! It sounds like you have a lot of (happy) work ahead!

  11. Posted by: AnneMarie Bolton

    The subject of gardening made me smile today as we cooked another of the Blue Australian pumpkins and saved another batch of seeds. The canning of applesauce, juice, and jelly is done for the season. The onions are abundant. Asparagus is beginning to appear. And the branches we pruned from the fruit trees were fed through the chipper today to add to the compost bins. Spring is almost here to my delight. Daffodils are flowering and the cherry plum tree is blooming. Hello to the bees! Nature is amazing!

  12. Posted by: Anne

    What happened to the squirrels? You must be growing enough now to satisfy them, lol! Have fun, my friend – Happy Spring!!

  13. Posted by: Connie

    I’m trying to grow Boysenberries, from the Knott Farm. All this rain! I’m just hopeful.

  14. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Connie! The rain should help….good luck with the boysenberries!

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