Sunday, March 27, 2011

Raised Bed Garden Update

It's only been three weeks since we planted these raised bed garden boxes. I stopped by the other day to take a look. I thought you might like to see what I saw. Aren't they purty!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Brick Raised Beds

There's nothing like a new raised bed to get you off to a good start this spring. We just finished these beautiful brick raised beds for friend and local water store owner, (Water Connection), in time for the rain to bring a good soaking to the newly planted seeds. Denise's new garden site has plenty of sun and is located right outside her kitchen door for easy care and harvesting.

The beds are four by ten feet and two feet high, just the right height to sit comfortably and reach the center of the bed. We used old Phoenix brick to coordinate with the house and add to the character of the central Phoenix home. 
 The boxes or planters were nice and deep and we had lots of room with which to work. First we filled them with Baker Nursery top soil, and mixed in a little sand. Then, we layered a combination of leaves, manure, mulch, Singh Farm compost, straw, and a few bags of Patio Plus potting mix. Lastly, we added organic amendments; bone meal, blood meal, kelp and  humate.
A timer and drip line were installed. This all sounds quick and easy, but there was a lot of digging and shoveling and turning!
Of course, the fun part is choosing the seeds and transplants. Start small and plant what you will eat. Here's Daisy, the Water Connection Store dog and his owner, a happy, new gardener!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March Groundwork

There is nothing like a wet and wild spring to awaken your earthly instincts! The Spring rains have brightened everything in the garden and I don't know about you but, I cannot find one reason to stay inside on days like these.There are a few more days until the official first day of Spring arrives. For most people this day isn't particularly important, but as a gardener, it's a day in the year that always makes me pause and think about how significant this day would have been to our ancestors. If you had to totally rely on your knowledge of gardening to survive, you would celebrate this day too. This year the Spring Equinox arrives on March 20th at 7:21pm. That's when the sun is positioned directly over the equator, making the length of the day and the length of the night equal. From this day, the days gradually grow longer and warmer. Spring is here!

With a few seeds and some nice, loose, rich soil, there's no way you cannot expect abundance in the days ahead.

March to-do list~

  • Sow seeds for lima and green beans, black eyed peas, sweet corn, cucumbers, jicama, melons, squash, sunflowers, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes. Transplant artichokes, eggplants, tomatoes and peppers.
  • Prepare soil for spring planting. Add compost, mulch, well-rotted manure, or other organic matter and turn into soil.
  • Pull weeds before seeds form.
  • Watch for garden pests. For aphids try hosing plants with water, or use natural aphid spray. 1 Tbs. Dawn dish detergent, 1 Tbs. vegetable oil to 1 gallon of water. Add to a spray bottle. Spray top and underside of leaves in morning or late afternoon.
  • Feed roses a half a cup of Epsom salt and rose food, always water well.
  • Trim old, woody or dead wood from herbs. Transplant basil, chamomile, chives, lavender, lemon balm, lemon grass, oregano, sage, rosemary, and mints.
  • Sow seeds for poppy, marigold, hollyhocks, cosmos, sunflower and zinnias.
  • Continue to plant container roses, deciduous fruit and citrus trees. Add compost or mulch for extra nutients to tree wells and water deeply as trees leaf out.
  • Thin fruit on deciduous fruit trees (apples, pear apricot and peach) to 4 to 6 inches apart.
  • Now is the time to plant sweet potatoes, they are easy to grow but just make sure to provide lots of sun and space in your garden.