October Gardening in Phoenix

S+J's visit  -- Desert Botanical Gardens

So, you want to plant a garden but live in the great Sonoran desert. Don’t know where to start and/or don’t want to eat grilled javelina with prickly pear sauce? (You should really give prickly pear another shot. It’s delicious! Skip the javelina. They are in the rodent family.)

June garden harvest

One of the beauties of living in Phoenix is we have four complete growing seasons. With enough shade and water, you can grow year-round on the desert floor. This is so very rare and I’m pretty sure it isn’t included in the tourism material, as it should be. As if growing your own food in a time of mass seed production, corporate food processing monsters and the complete craziness that McDonald’s hamburgers cost less than an organic apple — in Phoenix, it is also easy. The seasons also make it a joy to sit out on my 2 seat patio set and admire my handy work.

Stay away birdies

I promise you easy peasy gardening that can produce handfuls of basil, buckets of tomatoes, squash, sunflowers, onions, garlic, carrots, rosemary and more. I can promise this because I’ve grown all of these with such a tiny space, it’s miraculous. When I started I was sure that I was going to need a big space for my garden, I even started looking for landscape construction services that might have been able to help me with the space I needed. I live in a shoe box-size home with a giant, oppressive HOA. When the evil money suckers weren’t looking (or apparently responding to my countless letters about changing the landscaping from grass to desert appropriate landscaping), I took over a couple community areas and began renegade gardening. I put seeds and tiny plants in the ground, covered them with compost and coffee grounds, watered with care and quickly began harvesting. Don’t forget about your lawn during these months, it’s just as important as your tomatoes! You can quickly see if you’re in one of Lawncare.net service areas for some tips!

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

2-7-09: Front Veggie Garden Planted

Tomato hedge to be teepeed

The tomatoes go wild

The tomatoes go wild

Thankfully, I keep my neighbors happy with handfuls of tomatoes, sprigs of fresh herbs and lemon pies and cookies when the lone tree is in season.

If you are interested in:

These classes typically cost $10. The networking, however, is priceless. You’ll meet other folk who are interested in the same things, having the same struggles and have found solutions. You’ll end up swapping seeds and compost, sharing loaves of homegrown zucchini turned bread, and finding a community of people in Phoenix who are so incredibly kind and well intentioned. I am really thankful to be a part of this ever-growing circle of like-minded friends.

Homemade pesto

Homemade pesto

Homemade pesto

Homemade pesto

Homemade pesto

Also, you don’t need Birkenstocks or a car that runs on used french fry oil to participate. There are people of all walks of life who love to garden. You must only have a willingness to learn and share.

As for what you need to garden — Starbucks free coffee grounds, a shoe box (or other container), water and seeds. I recommend this seed source. They are Tucson-based and a cooperative of dedicated gardeners. I also recommend planting heirloom seeds, taking the PPG seeds saving course and not giving a dime to the corporate seed companies that are genetically modifying nature. (Fuckers.)

Onions

Cilantro

Beets starry!

Pretty pommies

To be fried!

What to plant?

From October 1-15:

  • Globe artichoke
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Green snap peas
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Corn
  • Dill
  • Endive
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Melon
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Onion
  • Oregano
  • Parsnhip
  • peas
  • Peppers
  • Radish
  • Sage
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip

Shoot me an email if I can help encourage you in any way to get going. Remember kindergarden when you planted the bean and grew a little plant? It’s still that easy. It’s also a great way to show an appreciation for desert living. Growing your own garden is one of the most spritually fulfilling things I’ve ever done.

~K

{Also, shame on you Congress. SHAME! For the subsidies that make corn prolific and the family farm rare.}