Living With The Changes In 21st. Century America

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Gardening In The Desert

While most of the country is deep in winter, in Phoenix it’s time to start to think of a garden this year. In the past ,I have had a little luck with container gardening. What I did not realize was that in Phoenix container become too hot in for plants to grow. My cactuses do great in the planters but tomato plants have little chance of producing a good crop if the roots are cooked. Also I read that tomato plant blooms will not produce fruit if it’s over 100 degrees.

I will be having surgery on my hand at the end of January, so I should be able to work in the garden at the end of February. I have less than 2 weeks to get the ground ready for plants.

I started to read a new book last fall called, “Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!”  by Patricia Lanza. I liked the idea of an easier way to grow my own vegetables, it made me feel hopeful. The produce in the supermarket is high-priced but has so little taste. Real tomato sell for $5.00+ a pound. I have a large yard covered with stone and plan to just start with a 4’x12″ area for tomato plants. I’m going to order heirloom plants from Laurel Heirloom Tomato Website Her websites has lots of information to share, it’s filled with Love, and you can tell she takes pride in what she does.

Lasagna Gardening is a nontraditional organic gardening method that relies on a layering method called “sheet composting.” The name “Lasagna,” comes from the way garden beds are created from layers, the same way you layer ingredients when making a pan of lasagna. Watering and weeding are reduced through the heavy layers of mulch and by planting crops close together. The lasagna layering method quickly builds soils that are incredibly rich in nutrients, resulting in higher than average garden productivity. The method also works great for container gardening.

I have done some research on the soil ph in the Phoenix area and I will need to add sulfur since our soil has a high ph. Pine needles also can lower the ph. The website “The Garden Helper” has a chart with the recommended soil ph for many of the garden plants. A tomato plant will need 5.0 to 7.0 ph to grow. After I put the garden layers together I will cover the area with black plastic to let it “COOK” till the beginning of March.

I believe gardening will add more joy into my life. Joy and happiness are part of my plan for this year. Finding balance, feeding my soul and understanding my plan are part of taking responsiblity for my own happiness. I feel if we taught our children that creating your life is like making a “work of art” we ( as a culture) would be lifted to a higher level.

Anyway…..I Love Tomatoes!