A consideration for your organic gardening adventure is its location. Since the last article, “Getting Ready to Begin Your Organic Gardening Adventure”, you have made some decisions on seeds, pots and soil. You might even have organic cucumber, squash or melon seeds nestled in organic soil in their biodegradable pots inside, waiting for the proper time to plant them outside. The more you study and learn, the more prepared you will be to get your hands in the dirt!
Your options for organic gardening placement in Phoenix are varied. Here are a few to think about.
1. Earth BOX. Earth BOX is a self-sustaining gardening system that enables you to grow your own organic vegetables, fruits and herbs anywhere. If you have limited space, the Earth BOX is for you. Whatever your space availability, this is a great way to begin your organic gardening adventure. With less effort, less fertilizer and less water you can increase your yield. They have conventional as well as organic systems – make sure you get the right one. Summer Winds Nursery has Earth BOX supplies, including the organic system.
2. Raised bed gardening. There are advantages to gardening in raised beds. As an organic gardener, you will have instant organic soil! You will be getting the most produce for any given space. Raised beds drain better and requires less maintenance. You can design and build your own or purchase pre-made units. Cinder blocks, recycled milk jugs, wood – there are many materials to choose from.
3. Container gardening. Again, if your space is limited, container gardening is for you. What you can grow will be determined by your space and how much sun you get. Remember, that sun moves every day, and come fall, it will be farther south than it is now… AZ Master Gardener has a great manual with guidelines for container gardening – please check it out!
Another important part of raised bed gardening is mulch. Mulch will conserve water and keep the weeds down. There are several organic types available, so find one that suits your needs. With the Earth BOX, you will not need it as it has a cover.
It is now July and time to get moving! Once you have made a decision on where your garden is going to be, you can begin planting some seeds. Again, beans, corn, squash, cucumbers and melons can be started! Another good resource for seeds is Native Seeds/SEARCH (Southwestern Endangered Aridland Resource Clearing House). They are a great research tool, too. When you are ready to begin saving your own seeds, their website will be a great help. NS/S is a member of the Safe Seed Initiative and their pledge is:
“Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing are necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately people and communities.”
Enjoy this month preparing for your fall garden. It may seem as though the heat it will never end, but it will, and you are going to be ready! You are embarking on a very important adventure that is much bigger than raising a garden. Your efforts are part of a movement that is improving the health and well-being of the planet and all that reside here – happy planting!