Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Gardening Season Begins...

Yes.  it's June, and now the gardening season begins....Here, in Phoenix.  If you're not willing to garden during these toasty months, keep your seat and watch the big kids play. 

I spent much of April and May in the whirlwind of house projects.  The frontyard farm beds are built and planted.  Two shade trees installed.  A new roof finally happened (perhaps the most un-nerving week of my life).  Immediately followed by some much needed extreme pruning.  So much, I didn't even compost it all.  A lot of it was bougainvillea and oleander, so no real heartbreak.  All this in preparation for the house painting to come.  
(brbrbrbr! crack-crack-crack! thud-klunk! thud-klunk! pop-pop-pop! brbrbrbrbrbrbrbr!!!!)

(With the bougainvillea fully grown, this wall is rarely seen.)

(I'm all for going green, but this might be over doing it.)

(Since when did gardens become storage units?)

With the garden converted to a garage, not much planting was in the cards.  Thus, birthed the new mission of keeping hope alive - and all my little seedlings.  The spring was incredibly nice, and summer has now arrived with muscles flexed in the shape of a lot of 110*days in the forecast.  
(Where's Hawkeye and Pierce?  This is the triage tent, right?) 

So while the house got stripped, shaved, and a new makeover, I got into some serious gardening - COMPOSTING!  Yup, this is real gardening.  If your not willing to grow your own dirt, you've just got a yard hobby.  That's the great thing about composting; it can be done anytime of the day, anytime of the year, and you're still making nice progress.  I haven't purchased a mulch/soil/amendment product in over four years.  And I have a jug of fertilizer on a shelf that I've pretty much forgotten about.  For me, it's all about sifted soil and compost tea to make a happy garden.

And the yard work just keeps on coming - but this I'm not complaining about.   Firing up the new barbecue grill garden is a little sweat time I'll gladly sign-up for.
(Vynnie the Gardener chillin' and grillin' at Xericopia!)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Is This Thing On...?

Okay, so my attempt to blog for 30 days wasn't quite successful.   I didn't think spring would require so much outdoor time.  So just a quick catch-up, here are the top ten things happening here at Xericopia:
(1) Got a new greenhouse built (yea!!).  Now all my little seedlings can suffer in the quiet comfort of shade.

(2) Started two new waves of crops.  First wave planted out was: eggplant, tomato, squash, cucumber, sunflower, hollyhock, collards, kale, and dill.

(3)  Watched my collards, kale, and dill die a slow death from aphids and powdery mildew from all that non-stop wind.  (I should've planted kites instead.)

(4)  Second wave of crops getting happy and ready to graduate: Cucumber, sun gold tomato, thai eggplant, bell pepper, hibiscus, beet, purple carrot, lemon balm, rainbow chard, italian kale.  (Oh yeah, that's how I roll in the heat)

(5)  The hotter it gets, the more blooms I see - cactus, zephyranthes, hibiscus Oh My!

(6)  Harvested our first tomato of the season.  This heirloom plant weathered over from 2010Spring and is producing like crazy. 

(7)  I learned flies have at least one redeeming quality, they pollinate strawberries.  We have been harvesting a handful of strawberries every week (damn flies)

(8)  Acquired some amazing patio umbrellas from World Market.  Now we have even more sanctuary in the garden. 

(9)  The ipomea morning glory is on the move.  I guess that means summer is really here. 

(10)  Sent Vynnie the Gardener to Bartlett Lake for a little break with friends.  Vitamin D is essential to garden health, ya know.

So thems the happs 'round these parts here at Xericopia.  Loads more to come.  Keep shady!