DIY floral design.

Today I decided to “Prune” the garden if you will…

Flowers and greens from the yard!

At home floral design!  I started with a small ceramic red rectangle  vase I got at the Salvation Army a few weeks ago ($2.00).  Filled it with water and a touch of lemon lime soda (my grandmothers trick for extending the life of your flowers… you can also use a little sugar).

I added: Pittosporum and Ivy from the back yard.

Pit & Ivy

Then added Daisies & Snapdragons from the front yard.

Daisies & Snaps

And last I added Ranunculus, Delphinium, Moxie and a couple Marigolds from the bird bath garden.

Ranunculus and more...

Can’t wait until the Roses start blooming…

She who walks between the rows…

LEFT: Radishes - RIGHT: Carrots

So here’s the verdict on the watering by osmosis vs. watering overhead experiment.

Before Thinning

Watering by osmosis (i.e the carrot seeds) didn’t work for me.  The seeds never came up.  Its because either the seeds dried out, were planted too deep, or blew away (we did have some heavy winds).  In any case, we will have radishes and LOTS of them!
The radishes sprouted exactly as the package said, about 5 days after they were planted.  I put them in the ground, created shallow trenches on either side and watered them with a fine mist overhead everyday until they came up.
(see photo at LEFT).



On the 9th day they were 1/2″ -1″ tall and it was definitely time to “thin” the rows… But I just couldn’t see the point in aborting all of those “would be” radishes so I got creative.  These were the tools I set out with:  One little Rake, My trusty gardening gloves and a pencil (see photo at RIGHT).

Originally I intended on maybe planting them where the carrot seeds had been (Right Side), but after getting down and dirty I decided to take advantage of the rows in between.  Since watering by osmosis clearly wasn’t something I was going to continue doing.



When I put the seeds in the ground I basically just drew a line in the soil and sprinkled the seeds along that line.  BOY was that the WRONG thing to do.  When the sprouts came up they were only about an 1/8 of an inch apart at best.  I needed to thin them to roughly 1″ apart.

To do this I had to be careful to pull up each sprout individually by one of the 4 little leaves.  Easier than is sounds, but still time consuming, all the while being careful not to touch the trunk.  Then with my pencil I created shallow holes all along the little trenches on either side of the row.  I then transplanted as many seedlings as I could.



If things go well we should get 300 radishes all together from this modest 3’x3′ planting area.  Not bad!  Considering we’re about 10 days from when they went in the ground we should be feasting like rabbits in about 15 more days!

So we’ll see in a few days if the “trench seedlings” live through the water collecting in them.  But if it works, it’ll be a great way of taking advantage of a small space.

Next:  We’ll explore propagating some Ivy for my friend Hank’s yard!

Flowers Galore!!

I know my blogs have been hit & miss this week, but my sister is in town and we don’t see each other that often.  I’ve also been reeling from the Hound Dog induced DESTRUCTION of my would be flower sprouts.

Lets check one of the Flower Gardens in the front yard… Here’s a before photo 2/13/11:

Flowers-Right Before


One Sunday afternoon after staying in the night before (thus saving $100 or more that we didn’t spend at the bar) my sweet husband and I decided to tackle the front yard.  We started with this spot, just under the window that looks into our living room.  Its on the North East corner of our house and gets the morning sun, but is also shaded by a LARGE olive tree in the center of our lawn.  It took about 3 hours to turn the soil, add compost and mix in 4 three-cubic ft bags of top soil.  Here’s an after photo and we’ll break down what was planted…

Flower-Right AFTER


All in all it took us from 11am-ish to 5pm-ish to work the dirt, plant flowers, relocate a bench that was in the backyard when we moved in and add a couple of round stepping stones that we found.

Here’s what was planted L-R:
Snapdragons – Multi colored pack of 18. $12.95 (LOWES)
Primrose – Yellow 4″ pots $1.95 (LOWES)
Gardenia Bush – Large $19.95 (LOWES)
Mexican Bird of Paradise – Large $19.95 (LOWES)
Tulips – Yellow 4″ pots $3.95 (LOWES)
Daisies – Yellow 4″ pots $2.95 (LOWES)
BENCH – FREE – Backyard
Snapdragons – Multi colored pack of 18. $12.95 (LOWES)
Primrose – Yellow 4″ pots $1.95 (LOWES)
Gardenia Bush – Large $19.95 (LOWES)
Mexican Bird of Paradise – Large $19.95 (LOWES)
Tulips – Yellow 4″ pots $3.95 (LOWES)
Daisies – Yellow 4″ pots $2.95 (LOWES)
Jasmine – Yellow 4″ pots 3.95 (LOWES)
Jasmine – Yellow 4″ pots 3.95 (LOWES)
Gardenia Bush – Small $7.95 (LOWES)
Gardenia Bush – Small $7.95 (LOWES)
Snapdragons – Multi colored part of the pack of 18. $12.95 (LOWES)

And here is an updated photo of the garden I took today 3/19/11


Since we first planted I added Mint, Oregano, Sage, Parsley, Mint and Strawberries. Everything is blooming and growing.  The Tulips finally lost their petals and soon I’ll plant some forget-me-not seedlings over the top of them.  My goal would be to be able to identify the spot where my bulbs are for next October when I fill the whole bed with bulbs and cross my fingers until February when they start to come up!

Here are a few more photos:





Next: time lets check out what’s coming up in the veggie garden!

Saint Patricks day from the garden!


Sprouting Garden

Sprouting Radishes in the garden!

I’m pleased to announce that the Radishes are up!  The Carrots still haven’t surfaced, but they needed 10 days and the Radishes only needed 5.

Also the sprouts I planted in the togo containers and put on top of my husbands shop light in the garage have come up too!  Zinnias, Lavendar, Forget me nots and a couple others.

This is just a quick post, I can’t type and drink beer at the same time.

Happy Saint Patricks Day!!  While I love nature & animals, I HATE snakes… so if the stories are true, I’m particularly down for this holiday.  Not to mention it involves my third favorite thing to do in the world – DRINK BEERS!

Have Fun, Stay Free.

Teenagers love my compost (and teenagers love nothing!)

This was an email I received yesterday from a my friend Stephanie Henderson, who teaches Science to high school students in the Clark magnet program.

“Hi Roxie,    I thought you might like to see these  pictures of the soil lab from my Geology class.    None of the kids are in the witness protection program or anything, so it is ok if you want to use the photos on your blog as a way to further the appreciation for the awesomeness of compost.    Some of them were quite enthralled and want to try it at home, several commented on how good it smelled, they all were picking it up to feel it.   A few wanted to know if there would be a way to make money with a home compost pile!   Anyway, you did what you could just like a good hummingbird, and now there are more hummingbirds out there! ”

Here are some photos of the kids and my compost! –


Tomorrow:  we’ll check out all the sprouts coming up!

What I learned on Saturday…


Camellias at Plant World.

My sister is visiting from Boise, Idaho and just got here today. So I’m just going to post some of my notes from the Leslie Doyle – How to grow tomatoes workshop I attended on Saturday.  If you have questions, please ask or visit her website at:

First things first, Leslie HIGHLY suggests following ALL of the directions in  her book:
Growing the Tomato in Las Vegas in Terrible Dirt and Desert Heat” by Leslie Doyle. Its available at Plant World, online or directly from the author.

My Notes:

When choosing your seeds you have two very different options – Determinate or Indeterminate.
Determinate: This type only sets fruit once, so If you want to grow large tomatoes all summer long, you’ll be picking, pulling and re-planting for the fall growing season.
Indeterminate: This type of “vining” tomato (more on that later…) will grow and set fruit all the way until the first frost.  Her suggestion is the Hawaiian Tropic variety. 

Once you’ve chosen your seeds, Leslie suggests purchasing her Seed Starting Mix, it retails for $14.95 at Plant World but since it almost doubles in size with the addition of water it is actually a bargain (I bought some today.)

After you have the soil, pick up a few of the plastic “to-go” style containers (or cookie containers).  Plant 1/6″ deep and keep moist with a spray bottle

Her suggestion is to set them on top of a shop light (pictured) for fastest germination (sometimes as fast as 24 hours).  When the sprouts have grown and have 4 little leaves on top you can transplant!

I bought little peat cups to put them in.

According to Leslie you should plant around the 3rd week in April.  I already messed that up by putting my store bought plants in the ground a few weeks ago.  Oops!

When the 3rd week in April rolls around, you should spread “Sliver Mulch” around the plant like a bed sheet (available here).  It looked to me like a sheet of tinfoil, but its apparently the way to go.  The Silver Mulch reflects heat, not light so it keeps your roots cool, your plants safe from insects on the ground and with the process called “Transference” (more in a minute on that)… the plants stay cool and happy all summer long.

You might have noticed that I didn’t mention Caging or Staking.  What the heck? Right?
Wrong!  Leslie Doyle suggests allowing your tomato plants to grow in a heap.  Yep, a heap!
Thats why its so important to choose one of the “Indeterminate” varieties, because they are “Vining” and will climb all over each other, creating a big pile of tomato plants!

Through the process called “Transference” the roots take the water in from the ground at 75 degrees, and shielded from the summer heat, essentially by their own vines, the inner area of the heap stays 75 degrees from the humidity the vines let off.  Sounds good to me… can’t wait to see it in action!

There is so much more to learn from Leslie I definitely reccomend attending one of her workshops, buying the book, visiting the website or all of the above.  I learned a TON in one hour… and hopefully it will pay off in Tomatoes!!

Tomorrow: I’ll post pics of the Radish seedlings that have sprouted!!

The re-education of Roxie Amoroso.

Today I got schooled… and loved every minute of it.

We hit the ground running, picking up Lopez and heading out to Broad Acres swap meet.  Where I scored a sweet pitch fork ($4.00)… and heard a fantastic story about an urban youth holding another fellow up by the neck with the afore mentioned implement of death.  Plus, a lovely gift for Gilby.  Lopez picked up a Muno shirt, SCORE!

Leslie Doyle

Image courtesy of

I was pleased when we were heading back to the Hotel Amoroso with enough time to spare for me to finally catch one of the weekly workshops that Plant World offers on gardening.  Todays theme: Leslie Doyle – The Tomato Lady.  The hour I spent listening was awfully educational and embarrassingly humbling.   The experience was free and I’ll go over all of the notes I took in tomorrows blog.  Until then, you can visit her website the Sweet Tomato Test Garden.

After a quick trip to the dollar store where I picked up some fertilizer, flower seeds & peat cups for seedlings cheap ($4.00)!  Oh, and Tamales I bought out of a ladies trunk in the parking lot for tonight’s dinner, we reconvened a the house.

With the usual suspects just happening by, we had an impromptu Mexican Fiesta and everybody stuck around until I announced I was finally putting on the documentary DIRT!


Dirt! the Movie

I’ve been talking so much about.  Please watch this movie.  Even if you’re not a gardener, even if you’re not an environmentalist and most of all it you’ve lived your whole life in a city.

Its a simple reminder that if we’re all doing the best we can, we can accomplish a lot.

Thats it for tonight.  Its the weekend, and I love my family too much to stare at this screen much longer.  Hope you’ve planted well this weekend.  I ironically do LESS gardening on the weekend than I do during the normal week.

Tomorrow: we’ll go over some of the tricks that Leslie Doyle has up her sleeve when it comes to planting in Las Vegas.

Punk Rock Carrots & Radish’s

In the same day Uncle Tony gave me a 1/2 bag of potting mix and everybody’s favorite ex-roadie Hank gave me some Palm & Cactus soil!  That almost made up for the fact that my husband hijacked him to go shooting on the day he was going to help me garden.
the gift of dirt

the gift of dirt.

But its cool.  Hank and I are both unemployed… so I see many days of dirt digging and heavy lifting in our future.

I announced today that I will only be doing a few shows a month in order to focus on my true passion: Gardening.  I’m not sure how well received that was… but DIY Gardening seems like a pretty punk rock thing to me and also a natural progression for a girl thats lived a life like mine…

So anyway, the gift of dirt inspired me to pick up some Carrot, Radish, Zinnia and Lavender seeds today.  I’ve never had any luck sowing the seeds straight into the ground so this will be an experiment of sorts.  I’ve done the research and fashioned two different style beds to see which works better.  You’ll notice in the photos that one has fewer rows and


The Seeds

deeper trenches so that the seedlings (carrots) can water by osmosis.  This method I picked up as a child by watching my uncle J-air garden.  The second (radishes) are planted in several rows with shallow trenches that I will water gently with the spray setting on the hose.

We’ll see which one does better.  I guess if I were a true scientist I would of used the same variety for both.  But like my good friend Stephanie says ‘it is the process, not necessarily the product’.  So as long as they both produce something, I’ll be pleased.


Compost update:  Ladies & Gentlemen… its heating up!!  Over the last couple days we’ve added grass clippings, kitchen scraps and about 15 cups of spent coffee (donated by the nice folks at Starbucks).  When you put your hand in the center its hot!

North Garden Before




North Garden After







Tomorrow: I get to watch the documentary DIRT!

The happy fenced tomato.

Miss Alabama

Miss Alabama - Plant Annihilator

Today the tomatoes got fenced in and I’d like to introduce you to the reason: Miss Alabama Amoroso.

After the new plants soldiered through the hellacious wind storm we had on Monday in Vegas, they were accosted Tuesday by everybody’s favorite hound dog! She took out two lettuces and broke the Roma tomato clean in half.

So my ever supportive and loving husband picked up some sweet fencing at Lowes today. It’s about 48″ high and does a great job repelling dogs and 2 year olds alike!

So now that they’re safe, let me tell you all about the method to my tomato planting madness:

Step 1. Prepare the soil. Seriously, there is no “too long”. And being a dirt lover, I almost suffer from planting commitment issues. I could turn and add, add and turn the dirt for months…

Step 2. Select (and read up on) the varieties of tomatoes you’re going to plant for the first season, usually the type with a shorter maturity time. Cherries are always a good choice if your not a reader.

Step 3. Buy the plants! They should be as wide as they are tall and make your car smell like you’re a marijuana enthusiast on the ride home from the nursery.

Step 4. Dig a hole twice as deep and wide as the container and fill it 1/4 of the way up with compost then sprinkle a little Bone Meal in the bottom.

Step 5. Put em’ in the ground!! Ideally this would be after the 1st of March or the last freeze of winter (check your farmers almanac). You can always cover them if its wrong.

Step 6. Water thoroughly.

Step 7. OPTIONAL – Protect from DOGS & 2 Year olds!

Tomatoes Fenced.

Next: we’ll check out the other areas of the yard that need a little help!

A Gift!

My Lover told me to go answer the door.  When I opened it this is what I found!!

a gift!

A Gift from the Garden Faeries!!

Here’s what the note said!

The Note

The Note the Faeries left.

This will really come in handy tomorrow when I tackle the rest of that crab grass!