March 30, 2010

Gardening Arizona-style

It is finally spring: plants are greening up, Orioles have arrived, birds are building nests or already feeding young ones, and the wind picks up at exactly 11 am. Temperatures in the afternoon are in the high 70's. So, we have been busy in the yard and the garden.

A week or so ago I went to a plant sale at Tohono Chul in Tucson and bought a number of penstemons of different colors and some other small blooming herbage that needed to be planted in the back yard. In Oregon I just dug a hole, maybe added a little organic matter, and popped in the plants. Not that easy here. The soil around the house, ie the yard, was razed and compacted to ensure a stable foundation, which is not conducive to easy growing. Thankfully, due to the wet winter, the soil is not bone-dry, but Dan still has to dig the planting hole with the aid of a digging bar, and the soil is heavily amended with composted horse manure. All in all, it is surprising that the plants grow as well as they do.

I raked out the garden beds this morning, in preparation of the planting of some lettuce, arugula, carrots, beets, and peas, and reinstalled some of the irrigation. One of the blogger followers, Webb, asked for an explanation of the irrigation scheme, so here goes. Each bed is individually drip irrigated with drip lines that are laser-drilled at 12" intervals. There are 4 lines per bed (4' wide), and as luck would have it, that is just one roll of the drip line (purchased at Home Depot). The distribution head connecting to each faucet is also an HD purchase (DIG brand).

The awesome hardware cloth covers to protect seeds and young seedlings from birds and other above-ground animals are gifts from my friends Phil and Marsha, who donated them when they recently moved to New Mexico. I have yet to plant the seeds, but thought to wait until after the predicted storm due to hit here around Friday. They are talking snow ... Then again, we always do seem to have one snow storm in April.

1 comment:

webb said...

Thanks for the clearer description of the irrigation system. I need to do some type of irrigation for my garden, but just can't seem to get organized - and then we have the wettest winter in history and it takes away some of my desire to attack this problem!

And then i look at how hard you have to work to have a garden and I think, "quityerbitchin". Thing I'll go out and trim now!