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Luffa. Loofa. Loofah. However you spell it, it amazes me that I’ve lived all these years without realizing that a luffa comes from a luffa PLANT! I thought they came from the ocean. They’re a gourd! I never knew.

This past summer, I began volunteering in our little neighborhood garden (Coronado neighborhood, in downtown Phoenix) and was delighted to learn that they were growing luffas. Back then, I thought it would never be time to harvest them – they wouldn’t be ready for months – but that day has finally arrived.

I snapped some photos:

The inside of each luffa is filled with seeds. I gently tapped the luffa and they spilled out (there are still lots more inside in the above photo).

I’m excited to plant them in the spring!

Pretty neat, isn’t it? I think they are so much fun.

This past summer has been brutal in Phoenix! It shows in my patio garden. Here are a few photos of the carnage:

What a mess! Overgrown yellow bells. Almost dead Morning Glories. Summer annuals limping along.

I could gloss over the ugly garden and pretend like it doesn’t exist. But this isn’t Instagram. I think it’s important for people to know that no matter what your skill level is, gardens sometimes look like this. Especially at the end of a very hot, very dry summer. There’s no shame in that.

Still, it’s time to clean it up and plant for the new season. The weather is finally beginning to cool down. I can be outside for more than two minutes without being overcome by the oppressive heat. In the evenings, it’s lovely! My first task was to clear out the summer growth to make room for my fall plantings.

I cleared away the remains of the Morning Glories, and cut the Tecoma bells way back. Then I added a layer of soil to the bed.

I also cleared the summer annuals:

(I left the sunflower because I want to collect the seeds.)

Once the beds were cleared, the plan shifted to veggies. I decided to dedicate the big bed on the patio to only vegetables, with the side ones having both herbs and flowers. In a few weeks, I’ll add new annuals to my containers in front of the house.

For now, it’s beets, carrots and radishes, all from seeds. I’m also trying red onions, which may not have time to mature before it gets cold, but I’m giving it a shot.

I like to use string to help me “stay in the lines.” It’s not an exact science, haha! Besides the seeds, I also added one small tomato plant, an early ripening variety, and a strawberry plant.

It’s not much, but this garden makes me very happy.

What about you? Have you planted a fall/winter garden yet?

Who remembers The Great Chayote Growing Experiment of 2012? 2013? 2014? 2016? What about 2017? No? Don’t remember any of them?

Perhaps that’s because they all FAILED! I’ve tried to grow chayotes almost 10 times and have not once been successful. In 2017, I wrote, “I’ll never quit you, chayotes,” and then not long after, I quit them. Because all that rejection gets a person down!

But now they’re back. I saw one at the grocery store at the beginning of February and bought it on impulse. For the uninitiated, chayote is commonly called Mexican squash, and they’re loaded with vitamins and flavor. You can’t grow them from seed – they only germinate from within. My germination rate is great – they open their ugly mugs and spit out sprouts no problem. It’s after they get in the ground that I tend to lose them. Even though they should grow practically effortlessly here in the desert.

I figure we could all use a good distraction from Covid-19, so here for your viewing pleasure is a photo journey of the windowsill life of my chayote. Prepare to be mesmerized!

Please note, to get the full effect, it helps to scroll really, really fast.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, chayote

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, chayote

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, chayote

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, chayote

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, chayote

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, chayote

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, chayote

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, chayote

Fasten your seat belts – he’s really going to get growing now!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, chayote

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, chayote

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, chayoteGood To Grow, Liza's photos, chayote

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, chayoteGood To Grow, Liza's photos, chayote

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, chayote

Ok, I possibly oversold that a tad.

But I’ll bet for the last 20 seconds you didn’t think about the virus once! And therein lies the power of growing experiments. Chayotes don’t give a shit about Covid-19.

I put the ugly little guy in the ground a couple of weeks ago. It’ll either be the beginning of his new happy life in my garden, or his death spiral. As with everything else, we’ll have to wait and see. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for him.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, chayote

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About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in Arizona, after many years of living in and owning a plant care business in New Mexico.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.

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