Posts Tagged With: Arizona

 
 

Always Ready to Party

I pass this house on my bike rides either coming or going. I slow down as I pedal past. I try not to stare but it’s difficult not to. You see, it’s still a bit dark when I’m going past and strands of white twinkle lights light up the yard. That’s not something you normally see on an October morning.

I should mention it’s the back yard, not the front. I have no idea what the front of this house looks like. I should ride over that way and see sometime, I suppose. Many of these homes were modestly built out of cinderblock during the fifties, nearly identical inside and out.  Quarter or half-acre lots back up to this part of the trail which serves as a power line easement and passes backyards filled with dozens of stories and even more questions.

This particular back yard captures my imagination and holds it hostage.

Photo by Codo (The passion of the mariachi) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) ], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Codo (The passion of the mariachi) [CC BY-SA 2.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

In the slowly brightening sky the outline of a mariachi band plays against the twinkle lights. More specifically, life-sized, rusty looking metal statues of a mariachi band face the back of the house. There’s no actual music. But the feeling of a song just ended hangs in the yard like a fine morning mist.

Several matching rust colored umbrellas stand at ease amid various patio tables. A small swimming pool reflects light on to heavy tied-back patio curtains.

In contrast to the perfectly manicured yard and setting, two vintage cars and a small lawn tractor sit nearby. A row of desert trees skirt along a white fence.

I imagine that on closer inspection I’d find a more than adequate barbecue set up, a fire pit and a mini bar.

The interior of the house usually stands dark and silent. Oh, how I’ve wanted to stop and take a photo. But that seems intrusive and paparazzi-ish. So I haven’t any images to share. I hold only a mental photograph I snap every single time I ride past. Somehow, I’m sure, a photograph wouldn’t capture the vision I see and feel.

While walking in the ordinary light of day past this home the magic pull of this back yard holds far less sway on me. It’s just another backyard in the sunshine. I’m not sure what it is but there’s something about the pre-dawn light that makes it all feel as if someone just sprinkled pixie dust over the entire site.

Photo by MzScarlett / A.K.A. Michelle from Missouri (Ice Tea) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by MzScarlett / A.K.A. Michelle from Missouri (Ice Tea) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In that early morning hour I sense I’ve always just missed the last snippets of a long night of whispered conversations, laughter, ice clinking in glasses and wet footprints leading away from the pool. I suspect I’ve missed out on serpentine stories and long jokes with intelligent punchlines. The only taste I get of the party just finished hovers lightly as the scent of creosote in the chill early air.

Do I think this household throws a party every night that last long into the wee hours? No, not at all.

What I do think is they have managed to capture the essence of a nightly party and hold it there in a quarter-acre space. It must conjure wonderful memories to look out from the kitchen window of that home and see ghosts of guests long since departed. What joy it must bring to remember, amid the twinkle lights, friendships and family, chatter and music, stars and breezes.

Clearly I’ve romanticized and idealized what happens at this home. Whatever really goes on, whoever really lives there, I don’t want to know. I’d rather keep what I’ve imagined and call it truth.

I wonder if I could create something similar. Surely I don’t need a metal mariachi band to capture that sense of excitement and wonder at daily life. Maybe something as simple as candlelight and music softly playing at dinner, even if it’s meatloaf on the menu. Perhaps a strand of twinkle lights draped along the patio and plugged in every night, party or not, just for the sake of celebrating life.

I’ll have to give this more thought. Is this just a Better Homes and Gardens or House Beautiful photo shoot I’ve stumbled on and can’t possibly recreate? Or is there something real there, something in the idea of celebration that I could blend into my daily walk and talk? It’s an intriguing idea.

Party on, my friends, party on.

~~~

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” 

– John Lubbock

Categories: Celebration, Family, Fun, good ideas, Holiday | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vortex, S’mortex

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful to live in the desert.

I don’t often feel terribly thankful for that. Brutal best describes summers here, and sometimes Spring and Autumn, as well.

Feeling grateful for mild warmth, not blasting heat or mean cold.

Feeling grateful!

But today, while most of the country dug out, or slid around or hunkered down in the onslaught of another polar vortex, we desert rats enjoyed eighty degrees. The windows stayed open all day, a breeze tickled the wind chimes, I watered my garden, walked the grand dog after dark without a sweater on and generally enjoyed perfectly pleasant weather.

I don’t say that to brag or to make others feel jealous. I really, truly do feel thankful that I don’t have to endure the meanness of temperatures in the teens. I couldn’t feel more happy that I’m not digging out a car from a snowdrift, or attempting to navigate roads covered in ice and snow.

Photo By Sage Ross (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By Sage Ross  [CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

I spent a few decades in weather like that and it got old. Sometimes I fantasize about living somewhere with four distinct seasons. And then I visit somewhere that leaves me shivering regardless of how many layers I put on and the fantasy goes away for a while.

The icy chill that runs down my spine as I watch the news and weather reports about the rest of the country reminds me how thin my blood runs now that I’ve lived in the desert nearly twenty years. Once I liked the idea of shoveling for the exercise, or building snowmen, or the muffled sounds when snow falls. Now it simply makes me wince.

I planted radish, carrot and lettuce seeds on Saturday. Tiny green fruits grace the four-foot tall tomato plant in my garden. Jalapeno and green peppers ripen for salsa making. The oranges are just now turning from green to orange. And the flowers, oh my,  seem to double in size and amount almost every day.

A day like today serves as compensation and grand prize for enduring the onslaught of summer’s temper tantrum.  A few months of perfection with a few days of chilly and a Phoenix winter sounds just fine to me. Thank you, Typhoon Nuri, or God, or Mother Nature or all three! I appreciate the sweetness of the desert today.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, phoenix | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Open the Windows

My flowers are loving the cooler weather, and so am I.

My flowers are loving the cooler weather, and so am I.

Guess what?

It’s gardening season!!! Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance!

Yessirreebob! In the desert climate of Arizona, it’s time to put those seeds in the ground. I get tingly all over just thinking about it.

Tingly might be overstating things a little.

Who wouldn't rather spend time with this beauty than a pile of laundry?

Who wouldn’t rather spend time with this beauty than a pile of laundry?

There’s just something about getting my hands in the soil, helping Mother Nature with her tasks, watching the little nothings of seeds become shiny orange carrots, rich red beets, curly green spinach. Sure, I admit that it’s work, but anticipatory work. Work with an outcome you can see and that lasts. It’s nothing like doing dishes or laundry or mopping or any other sort of indoor chore that already needs  redoing within hours, if not minutes after finishing.

I’d almost always rather be outside than inside. If I were rich I’d pay a glorious someone big bucks to keep the housework under control so I could frolic in the garden, mow the grass, plant bushes, trim trees, map out square foot plots of wonder and green stuff. I’d eat outside every meal I could, with a big shady umbrella for day time and candlelight in the evening.

Oh wait. I could do part of that now, without a house helper. Nothing’s stopping me from taking breakfast out to the patio table and breathing in the (finally) cool morning air of fall.

Surely I can ignore a few chores indoors and let my feet take me outside more often, to clean up the summer’s detritus and prep a spot for some waiting fall plantings.

Patio lights

Patio lights! (Photo credit: life is good (pete))

And evenings, well, sure, they’re a bit busy for me, but still, I could light a candle or two out back and sit in a lawn chair, look up at the stars, breath out the days dusty worries and breath in some oxygen freshly exhaled from the nearby orange tree. Or I could head out front to the porch swing and watch the world wander past at the park, catch a glimpse of a hummingbird getting its last sip from the feeder before settling in for the night.

I could probably even read a chapter or two by candlelight, or patio light if I thought about it.

It’s that priceless time of year in the desert with only good things to anticipate and summer’s heat a fading memory. It’s open window season, music wafting out into the yard season, planting hope season.

Categories: Gardening, Nature, Outdoors, phoenix | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fighting Fire and Loss

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am thankful for firefighters. I stand in awe of such willingness to rush into danger, the unknown and the chaotic.

On several occasions they brought relief and reassurance, along with their skills and knowledge.

Firemen at work

Firemen at work (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My son was still an infant being cared for during the day by my mother when a house fire broke out in midwinter in their home. I raced from work to the home I’d grown up in, all the while seeing a pillar of black smoke marking my destination. The roads were snow packed and icy in our neighborhood and blocked off by the police. As I ran the last two blocks to my childhood home, the smoke changed from black to gray to white. I ran beside huge hoses pulsing with much-needed water to douse the flames.

I stood by  helplessly at the neighbor’s home across the street as a gaping hole over the garage and kitchen smoked and sputtered in the huge sprays of water from those hoses. How grateful I felt then that someone had trained and prepared and was willing to help in such an emergency. Thanks to the quick response of the firefighters that day, more than half of the house survived the fire so Mom and Dad rebuilt.

Later one of my brothers became a firefighter. I learned through him how often these men and women show up for emergencies real and perceived. I learned how much of the job is psychologically difficult, seeing such suffering, dealing with death regularly, working with loss and heartache and tragedy. I gained even greater respect for firefighters as I saw things a bit more through his eyes. He became a hero to me.

My own children have needed the resources and cool-headed quick response of these angels. Twice they have come to my home for different reasons and both times treated me and my family with kindness, reassurance, professionalism, honesty and courtesy beyond what one might expect in an emergency. They also bring with them a feeling of hope that’s difficult to describe.

Just two years ago there were angels and heroes of all sorts, firefighters included, who saved my son from a car fire.

I have a dear friend (who helped save my son) who needed these resources three times in one month. Once for a house fire, then a week later for her husband who fell off the roof . The third time the firefighters arrived at the same grocery store to shop where she had been the moment she learned her little sister had committed suicide a few days earlier. Like angels they talked with her as she walked inside, heard her story, offered condolences and made her feel safe and cared for. Pretty amazing, if you ask me.

Firefighters prepare for prescribed burn

(Photo credit: Coconino National Forest)

This weeks horrendous loss of almost an entire crew of firefighters clutches at my heart and takes the breath right out of me.

Where does such tenacity and courage come from? What kind of person willingly goes in toward what others are running from?

If words could bestow honor and gratitude worthy of such people I would pour out volumes. But words seem inadequate in the face of such sadness and loss. My condolences to their families. My thanks to them and all their brothers and sisters who give and serve so selflessly.

Categories: Death, Gratitude, Gratituesday, Hope | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pleasant Peasant Pheasant

Bird feeder

Bird feeder (Photo credit: Matt Peoples)

There is a Pheasant in my backyard.

Or a Grouse.

It comes and goes, from backyard to backyard. The one behind ours has a bird feeder, so it visits there often. And from what Jim, my neighbor two doors down says, it’s taken up residence behind an Oleander in his yard.

I took photos, to document this odd phenomenon in the dry desert. But the photos show what looks like a pile of rocks amid a bunch of rocks. Desert landscaping will do that.

Either way, Pheasant or Grouse, it just isn’t normal to see a bird this size, here in the crazy heat  part of Arizona.

“Pheasant populations persisting in Arizona are largely confined to agricultural areas having a relatively high humidity (e.g., citrus orchards in the Yuma and Mesa areas) or high enough in elevation to escape the desiccating heat of Sonoran Desert summers. In such locations, a rooster will acquire a harem of from one to three hens, with mating commencing in early April. By mid-May most of the hens are nesting and of no further interest to him, and he will abandon his territorial patrols by the end of the month. The peak of hatching is during the last week of May, the most arid time in Arizona, which is one of the reasons why pheasants have not become established here”

Female pheasant 3

Female pheasant (Photo credit: scyrene)

Based on photos, a bit of research and some common sense, I’ve decided this odd duck of a bird is a female Pheasant. Grouse tend to hang out up on the Mogollon Rim, high country as we call it here.

I feel bad for this bird. Clearly, she’s out of her element and won’t do well when the heat really settle in, unless she can find her way to a citrus orchard somewhere in the area. The nearest ones are about five to eight miles away.

I’m always amazed at how wildlife adapts itself to the intrusions and weirdness of humans.

English: taken at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

At the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we first moved to Arizona fifteen years ago, it was fairly common to see a Fox trotting through an open field. It was much more common to see open fields that many years ago. The housing boom hit Phoenix with a vengeance  and most of the open areas around us disappeared in about four months, give or take a year or two.

I often saw Jackrabbits of a substantial enough size that I’d do a double take. I’ve seen a Mountain Lion at the Riparian Preserve. The “Rip”  borders a canal which is significant. Lined with a dirt road or even asphalt or concrete paths, the canals here are like an open invitation to wildlife from the foothills to come on down and play the city game. Poor misguided critters!

I’ve noticed some people seem to have wandered from their normal habitat into the suburbs and cityscape. These are people who prefer solitude , silence and privacy. I think sometimes I am one of those misplaced creatures.

The sound of sirens, the constant hum of traffic, crowds, stress of every hue, all combine, sometimes, to make me wish I lived in the mountains in a secluded cabin with a well hidden dirt access road.

I feel a bit misplaced and out of my element.

But I’ve adapted. I grow wildflowers. I have a backyard garden. I have a hummingbird feeder. I disappear into other worlds through books. I enjoy what music I can find in the suburban bird chatter of Dove, Grackle, Finch, Towhee and Mockingbird. I visit nearby open spaces and green areas. I walk. I ride my bike. I dream of the mountains.

I wonder if the Pheasant in the backyard feels the same way.

Wish I could help her find her way back to where she belongs without upsetting the natural order of things.

It could happen.

Categories: Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Have Never

Grand Canyon, Arizona. The canyon, created by ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have never been to Disneyland, or Disneyworld.  I have been inside the Disney store at the mall.

I have never visited the Grand Canyon in the fifteen years we’ve lived in Arizona.  I saw it when I was thirteen and not yet afraid of heights.  I wrote poetry about it, even.

I have never jumped out of an airplane and never intend to.

I have never ridden in a hot air balloon.  Not so sure I want to do that. Although it looks peaceful, the height thing might get to me.

I have never traveled outside of the United States.  Unless you count British Columbia on a day trip.  I guess you could, it’s Canada, after all, right?  You’d think I’d have made it to Mexico by now, but haven’t had much reason, money or desire to do that.

I have never been overseas either.  That’d be cool.  I’ll have to start a bucket list, maybe.

I have never met anyone really famous.  That’s okay by me. They’re just like every other person except a bunch of people know who they are, right? Yeah, sour grapes here.

I have never been to a big rock concert.  This holds some interest in the back of my mind, but not enough to really do anything about it.

I have never successfully ridden a skateboard.  Tried once, landed on my backside.  Snowboarding, I suspect would end up the same way but with more dire consequences.

I have never spent more than three seconds upright behind a boat trying to water ski.

I have never had a conversation in a foreign language.  I’d like to change that.

I have never gone cliff diving, or cliff jumping.  There’s that afraid of heights thing again.

On the other hand…

I have spent a night in the wilderness alone.

I have gone rock climbing at five months pregnant.

I have experienced the joy of skiing many times.

I have watched a grandchild being born.

I have known the love of a kind husband.

I have reveled in the beauty that is Alaska.

I have been part of friendships that lifted me and helped make me whole.

I have enjoyed the blessing of extended family reaching out in many directions.

I have had the once in a lifetime amazement of being on a cruise ship on the ocean.

I have kayaked in the ocean.

I have been involved in something bigger than myself.

I have firsthand seen the wonders of Yellowstone Park multiple times.

I have lived in many different places in the United States and found all sorts of wonderful.

I have driven a snowmobile, and a motorcycle.

I have ridden my bicycle long distances, even conquered a pretty big hill a few times.

I have given birth and held those miracles in my arms and watched them become adults.

I have felt the exhilaration of a second wind that comes when running past exhaustion.

I have felt satisfaction, holiness, peace, joy, serenity, contentment.

I have been changed by some experiences that are unspeakable, unshareable.

I have tried to be true to myself, honest with others, kind, helpful, real.

I think the “haves“ outweigh the “have nevers”.

Categories: Gratitude, Joy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Side Road to Gratitude

It’s Gratituesday!  Today I am thankful for National Parks, State Parks, Preserves, Wildlife Refuges, and all those other places set aside and protected and cared for.

There are a few road signs I’ve noticed over the years that point the way to a nearby point of interest, or state park, or other like-minded place.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  Odd named places that you have no idea about.  Or places you’ve heard of, or maybe even seen on TV or looked at photos of, but have never visited.  There are many like that around here.  Some close, within an hours drive, others maybe three or four hours away.

I’ve lived in Arizona for fifteen years and haven’t visited the Grand Canyon yet.  I know there are people from around the world who go to great expense and effort to see something I live so close to. All I need to do is get in the car and I’d be there by lunchtime.  I’ve seen it, when I was thirteen years old.  Blew me away, with its incomparable size, beauty, color, mystery and timelessness.  Perhaps I’m afraid that original experience will somehow be tainted, or changed by another visit.  Maybe I’m just lazy, or busy, or afraid of heights now.  Maybe a little of all of those reasons or more.

I recently took the left hand turn into a small state park I’d seen the sign for.  Sounded intriguing. Finally followed through and visited. It’s called Tonto Natural Bridge. It’s “the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. The bridge stands 183 feet high over a 400-foot long tunnel that measures 150 feet at its widest point.”

I took over one hundred photos.  Most of them didn’t do the place justice, mostly because it’s much more than a two-dimensional experience. MSH and I took the time to really explore, notice details, stop and think about what we were really seeing.

At one point we found a flat rock midstream and sat down, ate an orange, rested, had some water.  Then we let ourselves lie back and look up and felt transported.  I know that sounds silly.  But the way the clouds swirled in a kind of mimicry of the opening above us felt orchestrated and serendipitous.  A bird flying through the camera shot seemed unlikely, but it happened and felt like more than great timing or luck.

It felt like a sacred place, as such hidden gems sometimes do.  I felt blessed, rested, lifted, rejuvenated, lightened by having been there.

I think now I’m more likely to take a detour next time I see a sign for one of these preserved places.  Hurrying less brings its own reward, but sometimes, it can lead to something truly rewarding. Slowing down and turning off the main road can offer a reason for gratitude.

 

If you’d like you can click on a photo to see a closer view.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dew Drop In

Dew drops

Dew drops (Photo credit: Moyan Brenn)

Dew is on the grass today.

“Yeah, so what?” you might say.

But in a desert climate, dew is a glorious thing.  It means visible water.  Dew means moisture in the air.  Dew is life-giving around this part of the country.

At a sharp, early angle, the morning sunlight on the dew gives it a frost like glow of whiteness.  A kid on his way to the bus stop short cuts through the park and leaves a dark trail of footsteps through the dew, clearer than a path through snow.   His shoes will be sodden through most of the morning.

The sun rises higher, the shadows shorten, the dew begins to evaporate.

Am I silly to wax poetic about droplets of water on grass?  Maybe.  Yet there is nothing so miraculous as those tiny drops of hydrogen and oxygen molecules in that perfect recipe.  In one drop an entire rainbow resides.

A smattering of water from the sky, at just the right season of the year, can prompt thousands of smaller-than-a-dime frogs to emerge from their yearlong underground slumber.  A miniature migration of froglets push their way from one puddle to another puddle for reasons unknown to us mere mortals.  And then, the rain subsides, and the little hoppers migrate underground again.  All that from a bit of rain.

The desert literally blossoms after a rain.  Cacti drink deeply and plump up., agave plants send growths skyward,  blooms appear on spiny plants, flowers pop up out of cracks and crevices and bare patches.  It’s the desert giving out a visual sigh.

The part of the desert I live in has been temporarily reclaimed from the typical scrub and scrap and dust by canals, irrigation, concrete, electricity, pavement, and row upon row of almost identical houses.  If the water went away, so would the people, like so many flowers after the desert rain.

I suppose that’s true of any area of civilization.  Water is the one critical ingredient for success.  Just those two simple hydrogen molecules combined with an oxygen molecule are all that keep it together for us.

My wonder and awe at the dew on the grass doesn’t seem so odd I think.  Perhaps the dew deserves an homage, a song in its honor, a statue in some park, at the very least a day on the calendar to celebrate its immense power.

Imagine that.  We’d all go around saying, “Happy Dew Day! or “Happy Water Day!“  Then we’d all drink a glass of water in honor of the lowly, mighty water droplet.   Just briefly, once a year, we’d recognize how our life teeters on the rim of a cup, acknowledge out reliance on water and honor the idea that we thrive in its presence.

I hope you notice and enjoy the water in your life today.

Raise a glass, and then drink up.

Categories: Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Gardening for Arizona Summer Survivors and Other Interested Persons

African Daisies from my front yard last February

It’s gardening time in Arizona.  Hard to believe but true. Most of the northern hemisphere has already experienced an early taste of winter, a dash of snow, some frost, some dang is it really that time of year again driving.

Here in this odd pocket of strangeness that is the desert southwest, (no I’m not going to capitalize it) we are finally coming into our own, emerging from our air-conditioned caves, cars and hovels, to the bright new season that is sanity.

There is a good reason the town is named Phoenix.  A mythical bird that rises from the ashes.  That would be us, the desert rats, I mean, dwellers, the real survivors.  We don’t sneak away during the heat and come back later when it cools down like the snowbirds have the luxury of doing.  But that’s just me being bitter.  Sorry.

We come out in droves once the temperatures begin to stay below 90 degrees and the night-time temperature dip into the 70’s.  This morning it is a brisk and chilly 50 degrees if I step outside, which I’m not going to do since I’m still in my jammies. Yes, I said, chilly.  It’s a sixty degree difference from the 110’s we, ahem, enjoy, during the summer onslaught.  So yes, 50 feel chilly.

With such reasonable and lovely temperatures outdoors we Arizonans begin to think life is once again livable and endurable and we head outdoors to do all sorts of things we can brag about to our northern neighbors.  We post photos on Facebook of ourselves in the pool on New Years Day even though the water truly is too cold for swimming.  We throw some steaks on the grill in January and call a sibling to incite more rivalry, which we miss dearly.  We plant a garden and text or online chat about the tomatoes we just ate fresh off the vine in February.

And then we wonder why we get so many visitors in the winter.  Go figure.

I digress.

It’s gardening season.

In honor of that, I’m sharing a batch of information and websites from a recent very amature class I taught about Arizona gardening.

It’s handy stuff if you’re interested in growing anything here in the desert, from a solitary pot of flowers, to an all out miniature farm in your backyard (which MSH would love, but I won’t allow.)

For those of you in the wintry states, it’s a bit of interesting reading if you like gardening.

A California poppy, from amidst the rocks of my front yard.

I might make a quick mention that if you want wildflowers to bloom amidst your rocks or elsewhere you have another week or two to scatter those African Daisy seeds or California Poppy seeds.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have not planted my garden yet this year.  I’m a slacker, yes.  At least this year I am.  I could give you all my lame excuses but that would be boring.  I’m happy to try to answer any gardening questions you might have if I can, but honestly, all the websites below are where I learned ninety percent of what I know about gardening here.  So check them out and learn.  Then grow!

Phoenix Area Gardening Basics

Sun 6 hours minimum is needed for a healthy garden.  Protection from afternoon sun is ideal but not absolutely necessary

Soil lots of compost/organic matter and gypsum added to your soil (6 inches deep) or buy several good potting soil mixes to spade in together

Season consult the planting guide for what to plant when (cool season or warm season)

Seeds – buy seeds that indicate early crop.  Store for up to 3 years if kept in a dry, cool spot, like inside your house. Dollar store kinds are fine. Our growing season is short, very short, hence the need for early crop varieties.

Water a timer hooked up to a sprinkler or drip system is easiest.  Deep watering on a regular schedule will promote a strong root system and a healthy plant.

The early stages of one of my square-foot garden beds, sadly, not this year.

Square foot gardens You will only need 20 percent of the ground you would use for the row-and-furrow method. Lay out your garden in 4-foot-square boxes (or multiples like  3 x 4, 4 x 4, 4 x 8) so you can reach in from either side. If you have a box along a wall or fence, then make it only 2 feet wide (or multiples like 2 by 4, 2 by 8, 2 by 12) because you can only work the garden from one side and you won’t have to walk on the soil.

Use Miracle-Gro garden soil (or any other high quality gardening soil) – about four bags of 2 cubic feet each per box. If you have more than three 4 by 4 boxes, call Pioneer Materials and order sandy loam soil. It costs only $45 (at least a couple years ago it did ) for delivery of 1 cubic yard or more. Tell them how many square foot you will need, times 6 inches deep to figure volume. (http://www.melbartholomew.com/  (This blog is by the original guy who invented square-foot gardening!)

Containers Many plants do well in pots, especially herbs, tomatoes, peppers.  Just keep a closer eye on watering needs

Gardening Websites

*Timely Tips – what to do each month, problems you might encounter, and how to solve them.  Includes lawn care and some tree info. http://cals.arizona.edu/maricopa/garden/html/t-tips/t-tips.htm

*Herbs – azherb.org  This site has great tips for soil preparation and discussions about herbs specifically and gardening generally

*Maricopa County Cooperative Extension – Anything you could possibly want to know or ask about gardening in Maricopa county.  http://cals.arizona.edu/maricopa/garden/html/general/hort.htm

*Flower planting guide – What to plant during which months, and bloom  times.  http://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/az1100.pdf

*Square Foot Gardening  http://www.melbartholomew.com/

Categories: Gardening, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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