My Edible Garden

I've been gardening for most of my life and have been a devoted fan of organic gardening the whole time. It just makes so much more sense to work in harmony with Mother Nature than to fight her. Besides which it is better for the planet and better for our bodies. Here you can see what I'm planting and harvesting, with gardening hints and resources thrown in for good measure.

Garden location and background

I live in the foothills of the Arizona Desert. On the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map I'm about 8a, with average coldest winter temperatures of 5-10 degrees. That is, the coldest we ever get is in that range and it's not every winter. Some winters the last ten years we haven't dropped below 15 degrees. The coldest we've ever been, during a record breaking snow storm 40 years ago was 0 degrees.

Now that is average for my area. Exactly where I live is a bit cooler. Because my house is down in the bottom of a canyon. In the winter I only get direct sunlight from about 9am until about 3pm. Of course this means I stay a bit cooler in the summertime, too.

The soil in the garden ranges from layers of tough caliche clay, through rocks, boulders, sand and gravel. The pH is 9+. There is no measurable nitrogen or potassium on a home soil test kit, while phosphorous tests so high it's off the scale. Due to the extreme pH and high calcium content of the soil iron and other trace minerals are tied up and unavailable to the plants, causing iron chlorosis. Adding large amounts of compost, while helpful, does not correct the problem completly and I often use a foliar feed of fish and seaweed to try and keep them going. I also use a lot of blood meal and seaweed meal, even though it is expensive. I am experimenting with adding soil sulpher to lower the pH along with peatmoss, at least during the initial soil preperation.

JAN .2"
FEB .4"
MAR 1.6"

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