Leila Blair

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since Feb 23, 2016
I am a single senior woman living on 4 acres in SE Arizona.
I am trying to create a perrenial permaculture oasis in the desert.
I started 20 years ago, so my evergreens are now 40 ft tall.
Now planting fruit and nut trees and bushes as fast as I can.
I have 7 dogs, 3 cats, and 10 chickens.
I am in heaven when I'm in my garden planting something.
Palominas, az
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Recent posts by Leila Blair

I  occasionally sprinkle a little on my dogs kibble to control parasites.
2 months ago
I grow purple sweet potatos in large metal trash cans. No digging, no weeding, no bending over to harvest. It's not a huge yield, but im.only 1 person, so dont need alot.
I have wild sorrel growing where it gets water . It dies dimown in winter but comes back.
Asparagus, rhubarb, artichokes, sunchokes, berries, wood sorrel, opuntia cactus, purslane, wild mustard. All perrenial on my 4 acres in SE az.
100 degrees in summer, down to 10 degrees in winter at night. I protect chard , kale, mizuna, by using tomato cages and throwing quilts over.
7 months ago
I live in SE Arizona, and I have a forest garden. The 4 acres came with mesquite and yucca. Over the years I've discovered globe mallow, sorrel, desert marigold, purslane, daylilies, mullein, dragontail, wood sorrel, pepper plant, devils claw , amaranth, and lots of things I cant remember right now. These all arrived uninvited.
But I started planting 20 years ago, so now have 45 ft pine trees, fruit and nut trees, medicinal herbs, cactus, agave, and lots of perrenial and annual vegetables.
I stopped mowing about 15 years ago, unfortunately not before I could stop my ex husband from mowing before seeds were set. One of the many reasons hes an ex.
Cant help but wonder how many plants I lost because they didnt have a chance to propagate.
I love my desert/forest/jungle. Its wild and prolific and beautiful!
8 months ago
Moth mullein is a good respiratory tea. I have COPD, so I ad it to the desert mallow, lemon balm and yarrow I have growing and make herbal ice tea.
10 months ago
We have wild mustard greens everywhere here in SE Ariz, and I love them, in soups, salads, or just in my mouth as I'm walking.
I juice the prickly pear fruit, freeze it, then add to mineral water to make prickly pear soda pop.
We have lambsquarters but im.not crazy about the flavor.
Also alot of moth mullein, desert mallow, amaranth, sorrel, wood sorrel, dandelions.
We also have alot of lizardtail. Dont know if its edible to people, but my chickens LOVE it!
10 months ago
I've been using spent oyster mushroom bags from a grower to grow mushrooms.
She has stopped selling them, so will have to buy spores online now.
For substrate I'm vacillating between Bermuda hay I buy for my goats, very old wood chips, or oak leaves I can gather from An oak forest. I used all of the above to make my starter bed, o g with coffee grounds. Looking for advice.
1 year ago
About frost:
since i go down to 10 degrees ive developed several tricks.
when i first planted my guavas i piled dead yucca bases around the trunks then threw old blankets and quilts over the tops. In spring had to cut off about 7 " of dead tops, but they lived. Dont have to protect now, theyre healthy and productive.
Ive collected a HUGE lot of glass cake toppers, cheese toppers and tall glass vases to use as cloches. I cover the young veggy plants with those and throw quilts over them at night.
Taller plants get tomato cages with sheer curtains durung the day and quilts at night.
i have a 6x8 greenhouse with a gravel filled  sink hole in the floor and grow light and big Chistmas lights.
It stays REALLY warm in there and was working great for starting plants until the mice tunneled in and started eating everything.
To thwart the grasshoppers i have a collection of wire trash cans to put over veggy plants.
i obviously spend ALOT of time in thrift shops, swap meets, garage sales gathering all this stuff. i also have 3 old wringer washing machines planted with chard, parsley and onions. They have tomato cages with sheer curtains over to keep birds out. Tomatos and potatos are planted in metal trash cans and covered.
1 year ago
i have a PVC drip system and it works pretty good, but i still have to drag hoses around and deep water some trees. The pineapple guavas are fine with just the drip, but the nut trees need more water.
i use 4 way splitters with shorter hoses on a long hose so i can water 4 trees at a time. That way i can leave it on overnight or when im gone all day.
My veggy garden is a 30 ft circle so i can use a sprinkler. Also use a sprinkler in the hazelnut guild.
And i have a hose system going to my  newer pine tree
guild. The older ones have hit ground water so dont have to water them anymore.
And i have volunteer mulberries and peach trees coming up everywhere. I give lots of baby trees away.
just found 3 four foot mulberries under the pine trees, gave the middle one away, leaving the other 2 there.
And these are all from a volunteer mulberry! ive never planted one!
ive been here 25 years and have 4 acres, so i can go crazy. But the back acre is fenced off for my miniature horse and 5 Nigerian goats.
my biggest problem is finding frost hardy food plants. i go down to 10 degrees on winter nights. Even had frost in the middle if MAY! A few burned leaves on my biggest pecan tree and the newest rhubarbs.
if you stay above 30 degrees try to find some Arivaca avocado trees. Makes me crazy that im too cold for them!
1 year ago
You can usually get free mulch from your local transfer station. If you dont have a truck, take a trash can, put trash bag in and fill up the bag. My back can handle about 6 bags,at a time. And find people with goats, horses, sheep, etc to harvest poop from. I use the same bag method from a neighbor with horses.
And start planting perrenials. I plant 2 year crowns of purple asparagus in the tree wells of every new tree. Buy on Amazon.
Also artichokes, and rhubarb. Im eating all 3 right now!
I have them planted in my hazelnut guild.
ive also been known to pick up bags of leaves left by the road on trash pickup day.
And you can call tree trimmer companies, they have to pay at the transfer station to dump their chipped trees. ive had them dump them in my yard for free.
1 year ago