Thursday, August 28, 2008

For the Arizona Gardeners or those who just want to be....

I have a hard time believing that it is time to plant my winter garden next week when it is still 105 degrees outside, but I must get out the shovel and rake and get to work. It always seems to creep up on me and I end up planting late. Late means that it gets cold early on and the plants won't grow as fast. So, I have been determined this year to get it done early. I ripped out the old plants last week and the soil is just waiting for nutrients, a little tilling and some beautiful seeds and plants.

For those of you who are gardeners or who are ready to start your first crop, here is the low down:

Get the ground ready. Get it nice and fluffy, add in some manure with mulch, some gypsum if your ground is hard and clay like and some sand. Then, if you dig and do not see any worms; google online for some "red wiggler" worms and order yourself a batch. Worms are the best thing you can do for your garden. They break down the soil and aerate the dirt. Very important for good healthy plants. Now, water the soil a bit and let it sit for a few days before you plant so the fertilizer won't damage the plants. You want to plant when the temperature starts to fall closer to 100 degrees. For a winter garden, here is what to plant and keep in mind, this is for Arizona folks:

Broccoli: My favorite! I like to use plants, not seeds.
Cabbage: I also use plants because cabbage is slower growing
Carrots: Plant seeds and space them out a finger width
Collard Greens
I plant seeds and plants to stagger the crop. For the seeds, I cut the tops off the tender plants and use the baby leaves leaving the plant in tack to keep growing.
Onions: I use white onion bulbs for green onions
Peas: Look for the Fall Pea seeds
Spinach: Plants or seeds

I love a garden and the more I learn about nutrition, the more I understand why I need one. I know what is put on my veggies in the garden, I know that they were ripened naturally and I just feel good knowing that I have a food source. Food that is ripened on the plant has far more nutrients than those in the stores that were picked early to ship. There definitely has been seasons where gardening just wasn't my "season" when I just had too much going on. We can't do everything and sometimes just need to let some things go like homemade bread or sewing. So, if you are feeling guilty from reading this post that you need to go out and garden; take it all in stride. If it is not your season, do what you are supposed to and garden when the time is there. It is definitely therapeutic for me and pretty to look at but it does take time.I love to get my kids involved. My favorite part of the garden is the carrot harvest. My neighbor kids also love to come over and help since it is so far removed from us now to work in the dirt and see something edible come up. I give them all stations; a carrot pulling station, a cutting station to snip the greens off, the scrubbing station for the first wash and then a rinsing station. They love it and I love watching them love it. I can taste my fresh broccoli now!

1 comment:

Lindsey said...

I was just talking to my mom about this and I said you just plant really early in the Spring, like March..How little I know. I am sure glad i know you so I can get it right! :)