Transplanting Mormon Tea to the new pond

Last spring we finally got the little pond set up and today my helper transplanted a bunch of Mormon Tea from the bottom of our rock pile where they were about to be covered by rocks and caliche.

Next we’ll transplant some gopher plants between the Mormon Tea and the critters will finally have some privacy while drinking.

When we first set up the pond I thought we made a mistake because it drains on the UPPER side.  It turned out that’s perfect because I can fill the pond and then it overflows to water the surrounding plants.

There are several fruit trees in this area and I am almost done converting everything to flood watering.

10/12/20: October was HOT last year!

This red racer enjoyed a drink at the little orchard pond on the last warm day 11/4/20:

Hope it sticks around!

I bought a trail cam months ago, but so far none of my helpers have been able to set it up and we’ve all been so busy!

In February I should have a lot more time and catch up on thousands of pics and video I’ve taken last year.  And I’ll finally install a new theme and fix this site up again.

Unfortunately, I started posting in the FaceBook permaculture and gardening group,  where everything disappears, just because it’s quick and easy.   I’ll try to repost our major improvements and construction over the last few years.

The last couple days have been so beautiful and the wind today wasn’t ice cold — it felt like spring!

Add to our bare root fruit tree order for discounts

Fruit Trees Ordering Info
We’ll probably order from Bay Laurel Nursery at They have a TON of info online and so many varieties. However, as they are out of stock on many trees already, I’m also looking at Peaceful Valley
Bay Laurel Nursery DISCOUNTSmost trees are $22 to $28, semi dwarf trees cost more than full size trees and multi grafted trees cost quite a bit more.
The following discounts apply to trees only – Fruit, Flowering and Nut:

  • 5 to 10 – 5% off
  • 11 to 15 – 10% off
  • 16 to 20 – 15% off
  • 21 or more – 20% off

SHIPPING: $25 for ONE tree, or $6.50 per tree if ordering 4 or more.
Shipping Discounts on Trees

  • For orders of 10 or more trees, 10% off shipping charges
  • For orders of 20 or more trees, 15% off shipping charges

I read and it’s so complicated, I decided to see what does well in Meadview (see for some pics) and I looked them up at Bay Laurel Nursery:

Babcock Peach – Semi-dwarf
Longtime favorite white fleshed, freestone peach. Sweet and juicy, aromatic, subacid. Ripens mid July. Widely adapted: low chilling requirement, yet not early blooming. [important here because we often have late hard freezes.] 250-300 hrs. Self-fruitful. Available on Cit. $27.95
Granny Smith Apple – Semi-dwarf
From New Zealand. Large, late, green, all-purpose, very popular apple. Crisp, tart, excellent keeper. Requires long summer; thrives in hot climates. Prolonged bloom; good pollenizer for other apples. Ripens in Oct./Nov. 500 hours or less. Self-fruitful. Available on M111. $26.95

So I’m looking at trees with similar chill requirements and we’d like to get a Babcock Peach. With the Granny Smith ripening in October / November I’m concerned about freezes. We are at 3800 ft elevation, Meadview is a few hundred feet lower. I’m sure we have quite a few more chill hours than Meadview.
I just talked to the owner of the Babcock Peach and he got most of his trees from Willis Orchard and the Babcock came from the Home Depot (he got lucky!).  Unfortunately, he has no idea which rootstock he has for any of his trees.  While the Babcock did so well last year, a few years ago he got almost no peaches because we had a late hard frost.  And that’s why one should have SEVERAL fruit trees.
I also looked at Peaceful Valley trees and at they list a peach with 600 chill hours as growing well in the Central Valley, Cal. Isn’t it colder here than in the Central Valley?
And unfortunately, Peaceful Valley also sold out of many varieties already.
ROOTSTOCK – the most important criteria and why I’ll NEVER buy a fruit tree at the Home Depot or Walmart again.
Bay Laurel’s Babcock Peach rootstock:

Citation (Cit.)
Peaches and nectarines dwarfed to eight to fourteen feet, apricots and plums dwarfed to twelve to eighteen feet. Very tolerant of wet soil, but not drought tolerant (induces early dormancy in dry soil) so needs very regular water in hot climates. A top dressing of mulch can help maintain soil moisture. Resists root-knot nematodes. Induces heavy bearing at a young age. Very winter hardy. Strong and well anchored. Pat. No. 5112 (Zaiger)

I called Bay Laurel and found out that they also had the Babcock Peach on Lovell rootstock, but it’s already sold out! They recommend the Lovell rootstock for our area:

Lovell (Lov.)
Vigorous, standard rootstock for plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots, prunes, almonds. More tolerant of wet soils than Nemaguard, also more cold hardy [we get single digit temps every few years]. Susceptible to nematodes in sandy soils. Provides good anchorage and high degree of disease resistance. Unpruned tree height of standard varieties 15-25 feet. Size can be controlled further with summer pruning.

They MIGHT be able to get a few more on Lovell rootstock. Didn’t think that they’d be sold out already!
Obviously, you won’t get fruit if you don’t have a pollinator UNLESS the tree is self-pollinating.
Bay Laurel:

If, after following the enclosed planting instructions, your plants do not leaf out and grow, we will replace them one time, the following season, provided you pay the cost of shipping and handling.

Both Peaceful Valley and Bay Laurel have a June 1 deadline to report dead trees for replacement the following season.
I can see already that we’ll be ordering again as soon as they start taking orders (November for Bay Laurel.)
If you’re interested to add to our order now or in fall, please post here!
Also, we plan on ordering more berries, kiwi, figs etc. from Hartmann’s, here is last year’s order info:

Tree of Heaven – Chinese Sumac – Stink Tree

We bought several of these trees in Golden Valley a couple years ago and they were sold to us as “California Shade trees.”  They were about 2 – 3 ft tall and grew to 6 feet in the first year and to about 8 or 9 ft now.  Last year we bought a couple more.
I had people tell me that they stink.  Since our trees aren’t up wind from the house, I’ve never smelled anything.  Apparently they emit the odor only at certain times.
I didn’t their real name until I saw one at Angela’s blog yesterday and she sent me the link to her post Tree of Heaven with a closeup of a leaf with the nodules that emit the stink.   I checked the leaves on our trees and sure enough, they had those same nodules.  Apparently all our trees are males as I haven’t seen any flowers at all.


They sure like water and the more water they have, the faster they grow.  Directly behind the sumac on the right is the little cattail pond with our gray and rain water and it used to flow to the sumac on the left.   We planted the sumac on the right late last summer and it was about 2.5′ tall.   This spring I changed the overflow from the cattails to the sumac on the right and as you can see, it’s as tall as the tree planted a year earlier.

We planted one little sumac a couple years ago in our lower garden and it has not received much water.  However, we now have three sumacs there and since I installed drip irrigation a couple months ago we hope that they will grow fast too.  I’ll try to transplant the two little babies.
We had a great monsoon season this year and more rain than I can remember since I moved here in 2000:
They started growing fast in spring, but then the high winds broke several new branches.  Of course they grew right back, but you want to plant them where you won’t risk any damage to buildings or other plants.
Many people hate these Chinese sumacs with a passion, but they’re the best trees I have found for our climate — in the right place.
They grow fast with lots of water, don’t die if they don’t receive much water, took the cold to 3 F last winter,  lost a few branches in the wind, but thrive like no other tree.
However, they must be planted away from septic systems, pipes and foundations and they are alleopathic similar to walnut trees.  In many areas they are considered an invasive species as they spread through suckers and seeds and are very difficult to eradicate.  Of course that’s NOT a problem in the desert as we just don’t get enough rain for the trees to get established without irrigation.   We had several suckers that unfortunately got eaten by rabbits.  As with reeds and bamboo, there is no possibility that they’ll invade the desert.
I love the lush look and wish they were evergreen as they’re part of our privacy screen.
We planted several other trees and shrubs close to the Chinese sumacs since we didn’t know that they are alleopathic.   Those trees and shrubs didn’t die (yet) but also were not exactly thriving.  That’s probably because they didn’t get much water until we got the monsoon rains in August and now most greened up and are growing too.
They also have medicinal properties and Chinese medicine uses every part of the tree.  A lot more info is at

Trees and shrubs from the Nevada State Nursery in Las Vegas

We went to Vegas to pick up a work bench for a friend and decided to go to the NV state nursery.  We got some plants in October 2010 and MOST survived.  It was unfortunate that we planted right before the extremely cold winter and some plants froze.   Since we’re not expecting any major cold spells, we decided to get some more trees and shrubs..
Amazingly, I had just read about the medicinal use of horse tail and they had exactly one.  Their plants are very affordable, $3 per 1 gallon pot.  We spent $66, so that’s 22 plants.
They’re still in the hoophouse:

The large pot has willow cuttings from last year and we’ll probably start to plant some of the new shrubs tomorrow.
While the nursery is open to the public, you have to certify that the plants will only be used for certain purposes such as erosion control, wind break, attracting wild life, etc.  Here is our bill including the listing of all plants they have.
A great deal and yes, they sell to Arizonans.  What do the state of Arizona, the university and extension do for us?
No plant sales and not even soil xenical uk buy tests.
So I highly recommend checking out the NV state nursery.  It’s north of Las Vegas in a very nice park with lakes and many birds:

Getting there:
It’s actually VERY easy to find.   Take 93 to Henderson (it turns into 95) and stay on it all the way through Vegas. Do NOT go on 15, stay on 95 and take the Durango exit.
Then take Durango until you see the brown sign for the park and follow the signs.  There is NO charge for visitors going to the nursery, which is all the way in the back.
The Google map:


Miracle tree: Moringa – drumstick

We planted several Moringa seeds last winter and two sprouted.   Both did not look good most of the winter and one finally died.  Of course we had them in the greenhouse, they had mites a couple times and it was touch and go.
A few weeks ago we finally put the survivor outside and it started to grow.   It's in one of the veggie beds now and unfortunately we can't plant it in the ground because it would freeze.

We planted a bunch more seeds, but NONE sprouted.  We would love to have several Moringas, keep them in large pots and overwinter them in the greenhouse.  And I'd like to plant a large Moringa in the ground in a sheltered corner, maybe it would grow back in spring.

Here is an interesting article about Moringas: Continue reading “Miracle tree: Moringa – drumstick”