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Why All The Folderol

Posted by Susan Stoltz on


My mother could never grow a tomato. She tried every single year and never had even one. Nobody knows why. Did she plant them in the wrong place? The wrong dirt? The wrong way? We’ll never know.  Tomatoes stumped her for years. When I began to garden obsessively, I decided, despite my jaded opinion of growing tomatoes, that I would give it a try. I read books, articles, joined tomato growers support groups, and got as much information as possible before I ever planted one.  I had no real trouble with tomatoes. I could grow them big or small.  I take great care of the tomatoes. I plant them, space them adequately apart, feed them organic tomato food, stake them...

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Exploding Papayas

Posted by Susan Stoltz on


  I love papayas. I spent part of my childhood on the island of American Samoa in the South Pacific. Papaya grew everywhere, and we, as a family, had an endless supply. Why I’ve never tried to grow them myself is a mystery, so I decided to give it a try. I began to see them pop up around the Phoenix Zoo and I asked where they got them. “We grew them from seed we got in the commissary,” my horticulture friend explained. That’s all it took. I had no idea that papaya came in many sizes shapes and colors, and that some are male and female, while others are bisexual…. it’s complicated.  Papaya can be tall or dwarf, but their benefits...

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Curvy Cactus

Posted by Susan Stoltz on


  I’m on the hunt for the twisted and echinated or, technically, covered with spines, bristles, or bristle-like outgrowths. In other words cactus, the Twisted Cereus cactus to be exact. This cactus is fantastically beautiful, in a twisted sort of way! Cacti are fascinating. Besides the fact that there’s little maintenance involved with cactus, they come in an overabundance of shapes, sizes, and colors. There’s a cactus out there to suit every personality! They also have very interesting names; Pencil Cactus, Cathedral Cactus, Balloon Cactus, Candelabra Cactus, Feather Cactus, Mexican Fence Post Cactus, Old Man Cactus, Pineapple Cactus, and the list goes on and on. In fact there are approximately 2000 kinds of cacti and I find them all intriguing....

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A Plethora of Peas

Posted by Susan Stoltz on


  The first time I planted peas I hadn’t the vaguest idea how many I needed in order to harvest enough for one helping! I sowed four plants and waited patiently. The excitement began as first the blossoms and then the peas began to appear. I soon learned that I needed more plants…. many more plants. So, this time I planted lots of peas… a plethora of them to be exact. With more than sixty plants I can get an entire serving just picking the ones that are ready to shell. However, the second mistake I made was starting too late. In my growing zone, 9B, earlier is better than later. Peas like it cool and unfortunately our heat came...

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