Friday, December 16, 2016

Fall into Winter

It's been a while, but I wanted to stop by, say "hello" and show you the beautiful fall/winter colors in the garden and orchard. Green is absolutely my favorite color, but the peach trees' golden leaves are a close second. We are ready for this change in seasons, and it is too lovely not to share.

 In late December the temperatures finally drop and the daylight hours decrease. This begins the new cycle of rest or the dormant season for the peach trees.
The orchard floor is covered with beautiful amber leaves, each variety a slightly different shade. The peach trees are starting to show their branching structure and growth. This is perfect; it makes it easy to stand back and take a look at where, and how much, will need to be pruned from each tree in a few short weeks.

Below is a photo of the orchard as we receive flood irrigation. Years ago our property was part of a commercial citrus grove that stretched for miles south of Camelback Mountain. The water from the Salt River was diverted to our area through a system of canals to deep water the citrus trees. We are lucky enough that it is still in place. It gives our peach trees at least ten to twelve inches of water twice a month.
Peach leaves aren't the only gold on our little urban farm.
In early November we harvested our third batch of honey. We are still amazed every time we pull the heavy honey laden frames from the hives. We love our bees!

There are other colors in the garden too!
Layer after layer of petals weigh this Evelyn rose down, causing the flower to droop from her canes. You can't help but smell the magnificent fragrance as you walk by.
Golden Celebration, also a David Austin Rose with a beautiful buttery shade of yellow! 
In late October we planed our winter vegetables. We cover them with tulle to keep the birds and other critters from laying eggs on the seedlings.
This is our new garden dog, Scout. She's already watching over the chickens.
The goats can't decide if she is one of them or not!
I love the faces of the little violas (Johnny Jump Ups) and try to get as many varieties as possible at the local nurseries.
In October we picked lots of Kiefer Pears. We peeled, chopped and cooked them down to pear sauce. We usually jar it and put it in the freezer. The goats wait for the cores and peelings, a favorite treat! We have lots of little helping hands to help with the harvest!
This is Pippa, our Mini Nubian born last Spring. She is has grown into a beautiful doe.

The sweet peas that I ordered from Floret Flower Farm are coming up
 nicely. I'm anxious to see how these turn out this Spring. Below, the nasturtiums are taking off too. Keeping fingers crossed that they will not freeze through the winter.
In other ventures on the farm, I have been making garden aprons for myself, friends and family. I've always wanted a garden or market apron that is short enough to easily kneel in my garden but, large enough to carry my phone, seeds, gloves or pruners with me and still be hands free. The garden aprons are made with home decor fabric and are not too frilly but still pretty. They fit comfortably on waist or hips. The Sweet Life Garden aprons are now for sale at 32.50. Message me through my facebook Sweet Life Garden fan page if you would like to order or for more information We will have an etsy page up soon!


We even have our own label!

We are busy gathering gardeners for the Spring Edible Garden Tour. If you have a Phoenix area urban garden to share or know of someone who does, please let me know, we might want to take a look!
 It will soon be time to start pruning fruit trees and rose bushes and we will try to organize a few classes to show you how we do that. Keep in touch through facebook . That is the quickest and easiest way for me to post information.
And, most importantly, we would like to wish all of our community of family and friends a very Merry Christmas and wonderful Holiday Season! May all of your wishes come true!
                                                                     Jill Green
Keep a-goin' ...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Mornings in the peach orchard

It is cool and the light is soft and there is a morning breeze that rustles through the peach trees. When you are up in the branches of the trees you can smell the sweet odor of the ripe peaches and get a nice view of the garden below. This happens once a year, when the peaches are ready for picking, and it only lasts for a couple of weeks... so we savor this time.
 We know it's time because we can hear the birds gathering and quarreling over the sweet peaches. That means we need to be up with or before the birds! We grab our boxes, baskets, buckets, clippers and ladders. My husband and I have a method, it's a two man job. One of us is up in the tree filling a basket and the other is on the ground ready to empty the basket into a larger container.
We pick the peaches when they are still firm, but have a slight give. One of the most asked question is, " how do you keep the birds from getting your peaches?'  This is how we do it. We pick them and let them fully ripen inside on the kitchen table. The peaches ripen in waves... so we are up in the trees every morning to gather the next batch of ripe peaches.
We do taste tests as we pick. This is a Desert Gold. It's sweet and the flesh is pink and juicy.
From the top looking down.
Husband fills the basket and hands it down when full.

As we pick, we clean the tree of small, hard, green peaches that aren't worth the trouble. We pick bird pecked peaches, because they attract more birds. We do a little summer pruning while we are up there to thin out some of the dense growth and bring down branches that are way too long.
A mid pride peach. We are ready to share!
Now we're ready to set up the front porch peach stand. We let our neighbors know that it's peach season! One sign for the main road and one sign in front of the house.
We fill bags, all day long!
And then, our favorite part of the whole process... friends and neighbors! Lots of new friends and neighbors!
                   Thank you, for buying our peaches! We hope they bring a little sweetness to your life!