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!
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.
Twenty-five years ago, I would take a morning walk with my young children. Each day we would pass an elderly man working in his big, beautiful garden.The old man would sit on the ground in the shade of his mulberry tree, thinning his carrots or weeding between the cabbages. This man let me stop and inquire; He let me just sit and watch and learn.
This is what we need now. Neighbors that are willing to learn together. Gardening is an art, it takes time, effort and passion. Many of us have been doing this for years, others are ready to begin. It's time to plant a garden. It's time to put our hands in the earth and bring our food back home.
The idea came to me last spring. Our five year old peach tree was once again demonstrating what abundance really means. For two weeks, we picked, peeled, bottled and froze our luscious Desert Gold Peaches. In the meantime this ''new" organic movement was finally blossoming. I knew people would really appreciate fresh, homegrown peaches right in their own neighborhood! I know this is not a new idea, but you really don't see it very often these days.
Our first step was to make a sign. Then we bagged our peaches, set up a table, and asked for $3 a bag. I put four bags on the table and within an hour they were all gone. On Saturdays we offered a special treat that became a favorite, peach cobbler. Finally, my peach harvest was over. At the grocery store, later that week, neighbors would stop me and tell me how wonderful my peaches were!
Really, all gardeners could be doing this! Each neighborhood is like a small village. We should be able to share our gifts and talents whatever they may be. As gardeners, we can share planning and information. We can offer hands on experience, knowledge and support. We can sell, trade or exchange our harvest. I would like to think that one day this may even evolve into a neighborhood farmers market. So where do we start? In our own backyards. One seed at a time.
Where do we start?
This blog was created as a resource for local neighbors to connect and support one another. If you are a gardener, or are interested in becoming one, or if you are a neighbor that would like to have access to organic produce from around the corner, we invite you to join us. We believe that this can be a fun experience, and although providing food for your family and possibly your community is not new, this generation is in the process of re-learning the age old art of gardening. If you have a garden blog or would like to create one for others to view please contact or send your link to Jill@SweetLifeGarden.com
"Twenty million Americans answered the call to plant Victory gardens. 40% of all that consumed was produced in the backyards of America. Citizens considered their gardens a community effort and a national duty. Victory gardens were vegetable gardens planted during World War II to ensure an adequate food supply for civilians and troops. The goal was to produce enough fresh vegetables through the summer for the immediate family and neighbors. Any excess produce was canned and preserved for the winter and early spring until next years victory garden produce was ripe."