PLG Log 4/18/15

What we did today:

  • Cleaned up after this week’s high winds.
  • Planted artichoke from 4” container (Star Nursery) on top of sunken bed.
  • Watered
  • Weeding: False barley (Hordeum murinum), silverleaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium), tumble mustard (Sisymbrium altissimum), tumbleweed/Russian thistle (Salsola), common rye (Secale cereale) or wheat, annual bluegrass (Poa annua).  (Tentative IDs)


What we observed:

  • April brings winds.  How can we harvest this energy?  Look to plants that use wind for pollination and seed dispersal. Pay attention to air patterns.
  • Pollinators are very active now.
  • Many seedlings planted 3/28 have been eaten by critters [Jericho Romaine (GF), Daikon radish (source?), Chichiquelite (NSS), etc.] In some cases, leaves are gone but stems remain. These seedlings may survive with intervention.
  • Bisbee Black cowpeas (PLG saved) are performing well.
  • Amaranth varieties (NSS) planted 4/2/15 around top of sunken bed are germinating.
  • Basil transplanted from 4″ container (from Sprouts Market) into herb spiral is doing well.
  • Cowpeas, hibiscus, strawberries, artichokes, asparagus, herbs, and flowers are performing well. Looks like amaranth will thrive, too.  Update:  Hollyhock, not hibiscus.
  • So far, it looks like we will be able to count on these crops for saving seed: Amaranth, hibiscus, cowpea, artichoke, arugula, cilantro.  Update:  Hollyhock, not hibiscus.
  • Ready to harvest (Note:  Do not harvest if saving seed):  Strawberries, hibiscus flowers, artichokes, sorrel, chicory, lettuce, thyme, sage, pansies, calendula.  Update:  Hollyhock, not hibiscus.
  • What’s in bloom:  Hibiscus, aloes, brittlebush, mesquite trees, snapdragons, daisy in herb spiral, pomegranates, alfalfa, ocotillo, some opuntia cacti, globemallow, calendula, pansies.  Update:  Hollyhock, not hibiscus.
  • Weeds: See above, and Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon), field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis), lambsquarters (Chenopodium berlandieri), filaree (Erodium cicutarium), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), sowthistle (Sonchus ssp.), prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola), and common mallow (Malva neglecta).  (Tentative IDs)
  • Can any of these weeds become our allies in the garden, or is removal the best option?
  • Critters: Lacebugs have arrived and are found mostly on sunflowers. Weevil seen on shade structure. Large rust-colored dragonflies are present. Cochineal scale continues to infest prickly pear cactus in southwest corner of garden. Mockingbirds are very active now (with fledglings.) Small perching birds are very active (sparrows, etc.)
  • Artichokes continue to host aphids and swarms of flies. Pay attention to this seasonal mini-ecosystem. What can we learn from it?
  • Think about a long-term management plan for the bindweed growing in the northeast corner near the jujubes. One expert (source?) suggests a 3-year plan involving tilling every 2-3 weeks during the growing season. This will eventually starve out the roots. Is this a course of action we want to take?
  • Think about a management plan for the Bermuda Triangle.


What to do next time:

  • Can/should we acquire more seeds and do a follow-up planting of crops sown on 3/28/15?
  • Increase water to sunken bed? It may not be receiving enough water to sustain seedling growth.
  • Put floating row cover over seedlings to stop critters from eating them.
  • Continue spreading screened compost.
  • Plant melons, cucumbers, squash under fruit trees.
  • Plant sunflowers?
  • Install dried sorghum stalks (stacked by north wall) to support purple Yeome beans if needed.
  • Observe and record what is germinating, what is being eaten by critters, etc.
  • Continue weeding (mostly grassy weeds, currently.)
  • Screen wood mulch before spreading.
  • Transplant artichoke from sunken bed to top of sunken bed.


Water meter reading: 268,192

PLG Log 4/11/2015

What we did:

  • Planted luffa seeds by shade structure.  (Seeds from Springs Preserve spring plant sale, Bernie.  Seed source?)
  • Started Planting tier 3 of sunken bed:  Purple Yeome string beans (NS/S)
  • Planted basil from 4″ container (from Sprouts Market) in herb spiral.
  • Watered garden
  • Spread compost
  • Volunteers Jeremmy and Allene returned for more spring planting.  Many thanks to you both!

What we observed:

  • Artichokes are producing their crop of edible flower buds.
  • Germination of seeds planted 3/28/15:
    • Sunken bed, Tier 1:  Bisbee Black cowpeas (PLG saved) (high germ.,) Jericho Romaine lettuce (GF) (some germ.), Daikon radish (source?) (some germ.)
    • Sunken bed, Tier 2:  Chichiquelite (NSS) (high germ.)
    • Some seeds may have been planted too far away from drip emitters.
  • Germination of seeds planted 4/2/15:
    • Top of sunken bed:  Amaranth (NSS) (just coming up)
  • No germination of gourds yet.  Heavy, damp mulch with lots of roly polies may be a factor.
  • No germination of flowers around shade structure yet.
  • Sunken bed is on the dry side.  Adjust water?
  • Mesquites are blooming.  So is desert buckwheat.
  • A mockingbird–a fledgling?–was walking around, stretching/rolling wings.  Many small perching birds were sighted.
  • Fly population continues to increase around artichokes.  Many are about 1/4″ long, iridescent.  Multiple species, maybe.
  • Trees and grapevines continue to leaf out.
  • Jeremmy and Allene proposed the idea of egg-painting and an egg hunt for kids in the garden next spring.
  • Water meter read: 267,498

What to do next time:

  • Plant 1-gal plants from Springs Preserve spring plant sale?
  • Continue spreading screened compost in planting areas.
  • Plant artichoke on top of sunken bed.  Sunflowers, too?
  • Install dried sorghum stalks (stacked by north wall) to support purple Yeome beans if needed.
  • Observe and record what is germinating.
  • Continue weeding.
  • Screen wood mulch before spreading.

Volunteers Allene and Jeremmy plant purple Yeome string beans in the sunken veggie bed.




PLG Log 4/2/15 (Thursday)

What We Did Today:

  • Planted birdhouse gourds (PLG saved seed) where fig tree died, and under one mesquite (southwest corner of garden, by covered swing.)
  • Planted amaranth varieties along north and northwest rim of sunken bed (Paiute, Mano de Gato, and New Mexico varieties, all from NSS.)


  • No germination from 3/28 spring planting yet.
  • Sparrows or sparrow-like birds very active in the garden from 11 a.m. to noon.  Dive-bombing sunken bed and its upper rim for seeds, including fallen sorghum seeds.
  • Should we cover the sunken bed with floating row cover or other material when seeds are planted, to protect seeds from birds?  How can we protect seeds from ants?  (See below.)
  • Mound or mounds of tiny golden ants (about 1/16th-inch, Pharaoh-ish, ID?) on western end of north rim of sunken bed, where ‘New Mexico’ amaranth was planted.

What To Do Next Time:

  • Spread screened compost in planting areas
  • Plant remaining spring seeds–1 artichoke on rim of sunken bed; purple Yeome string beans in 3rd tier of sunken bed
  • Install dried sorghum stalks (stacked by north wall) to support purple Yeome beans if needed.
  • Observe and record what is germinating
  • Continue weeding
  • Screen wood mulch before spreading

Water Meter Log:  266, 624

PLG Log 3/28/15

What We Did Today:

  • Planted spring veggie seeds in sunken bed
    • Front tier:  Red-cored Chantenay carrots (NSS), Bisbee black cowpeas (PLG saved), Creole red onion (NSS), purple orach (NSS), white icicle radish (GF), French breakfast radish (GF), Jericho Romaine (GF), Astro arugula (GF), Daikon radish (source?)
    • Middle tier:  Chiltepin (NSS), chichiquelite (NSS), Bulgarian carrot peppers (QHF), Queen Ann’s Lace (JP’s grandfather, Reno), tomatillo (NSS)
    • Back tier NOT YET PLANTED:  Will  plant purple Yeome string bean (NSS), glass gem corn (NSS), Magdalena Big Cheese squash (NSS).
  • Planted coyote gourds under mesquite trees.  (Seed source?  Collected in Las Vegas?)
  • Around the shade structure, planted wild red poppies (QHF), showy penstemon (P. pseudospectabilis), and Happy Hummingbird Mix combo (Wildlands Restoration) of showy penstemon (P. pseudospectabilis), Parry penstemon (P. parryi), Palmer penstemon (P. palmeri), firecracker penstemon (P. eatonii), Gooding’s verbena (V. goodingii), lemon beebalm (Monarda citriodora), and hummingbird bush (Beloperone guttatus)
  • Weeded under mesquite trees (the weed looks like barley grass) Update 4/4/15:  Tentative ID:  Hordeum murinum
  • Watered
  • Big thanks to volunteers Jeremmy and Allene for all of your time and effort today!


  • Ladybugs, bees, and flies are still all over artichokes
  • Trees and grapevines continue to leaf out, looking very healthy

What To Do Next Time:

  • Spread screened compost in planting areas
  • Plant remaining spring seeds
  • Observe and record what is germinating
  • Continue weeding
  • Screen wood mulch before spreading

Water Meter Log:  266,271

Volunteers Jeremmy and Allene plant seeds of dryland-adapted vegetables.


PLG Log 3/21/15

What We Did Today:

  •  weeded sunken bed, under nut trees, around sign and herb spiral
  • cleaned out sorghum stalks
  • added greens to compost pile #2
  • planted hibiscus and Jerusalem artichoke
  • watered
  • gave a tour to a group of teenage girls with a group home


  • Loads of ladybugs throughout garden
  • Ladybugs and bees and flies all over artichokes
  • Jujubes are sprouting

What To Do Next Time:

  • continue weeding
  • spread screened compost in planting areas
  • plant spring seeds
  • screen wood mulch before spreading
  • bring hummingbird food and hang feeder
  • add steer manure to compost bin #2

Water Meter Log:  26,556


Freshly screened compost made on site! Ready to spread for spring planting.


Multi-generational ladybug love fest on the artichokes.

sorghum stalks

Dried sorghum stalks ready to be repurposed as trellising poles for summer beans.


Getting ready for spring planting at the PLG by weeding and brewing sun tea.

PLG Log 3/14/15

I’m very glad we have a timer back.
I sifted a little bit of compost so please spread it out where need be or let me know where it needs to go. If we need some more the other one may be ready to sift as well. The one I did today needs some green, it’s mostly all twigs and pine cones now. There’s quite a bit of brown on the outside that can be added.
– Joseph

PLG Log 11/21

chihuahua in the garden with radishes husband in the garden with alfalfa

What we did:

  • turned compost 2
  • hand watered
  • removed alfalfas on grape lane
  • wrapped aloes in burlap
  • trimmed grapes

To do:

  • Irrigation Overhaul: replace irrigation clock, mend zone 1 PVC pipe, check tree zone
  • plant bulbs
  • screen compost 2 and spread in garden
  • continue removing alfalfa
  • print final versions of signs
  • paint N wall taupe
  • harvest amaranth, artichoke sunflower seeds


  • Sunny and slightly breezy
  • Jujube 2 and fig look dry
  • Pallet storage area being used as a step to get over the fence.

Breakfast in the Garden Recipes


permaculture, breakfast, mesquite, pomegranate, prickly pear, almond, local

Cheers to you for enjoying the fine flavors of the Mojave desert at our fourth annual mesquite pancake breakfast, hereby granted a bit of brevity with the new name Breakfast in the Garden. If you brought home some mesquite meal of your own to try, replace 1/3 of the flour in most baking recipes for a treat as wholesome and tear-jerking as a southwestern sunset. Share your mesquite creations with us with the hashtag:


Try mesquite meal in your pancakes next time you have pancakes with the family! Prep the wet and dry ingredients separately and then whisk together until just combined to keep fluffy.  Cook on a slightly lower temperature than normal to prevent the sugars in the mesquite meal from burning. Add a topping of pomegranate syrup and sliced almonds. Enjoy!

Mesquite Pancakes for Diners

  • ⅓ cup mesquite flour
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Mesquite Pancakes for Vegan and Gluten-Free Diners

  • 3/4 cup flour Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour
  • 1/3 cup mesquite flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg replacer (we used 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed meal mixed with 1 tbsp. water and chilled in the fridge for at least 15 min to create a tasty binder for the batter)
  • 2/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter