Connecting Greater Phoenix gardeners with information that helps put xeriscape principles into action.

Holes in Saguaros and Saguaro Boot

Boot from the Carnigiea giganta (Saguaro)Someone was telling me other day that a friend had filled a hole in their Saguaro cactus with cement.  I wasn’t sure I’d heard this right, so I asked him to repeat and…YES!…someone had filled a hole in their Saguaro with cement.  Good gravy!

So…holes in Saguaros are mostly put there by birds (sometimes moths) seeking to nest.  The Gila Woodpecker drills smaller holes about halfway up the cactus, while the Gilded Flicker drills bigger holes up near the top of the Saguaro.  The birds may drive you crazy and the holes may look ugly, but it’s part of nature.  Think of it as a mini-nature preserve!

Anyway, those holes will eventually heal over into a hard callus in the shape of a “boot” to seal it off from the Saguaro’s water supply. Some Native Americans used these boots to carry water.  But beware…it is illegal to collect these boots from Arizona’s deserts.


Raised Vegetable Gardening in the Monarch Garden Box

Monarch Garden BoxI have boatloads of space for vegetable gardening, and can easily expand if I need to.  But if you’ve got a small space, you can still plant vegetables and herbs in raised beds, boxes and containers–even in the desert!

A friend just pointed me to the Monarch Garden Box, a really great idea for a small space.  Made locally here in Arizona, these boxes stand around 3 feet high, making them easy to work in.  They’re generously sized at 4′ x 2′ with a 12″ depth and they’re made from pest- and rot-resistant redwood.  I believe they’re also on wheels so you can easily move them around.  (Or wheel it around the neighborhood to show off your prized veggies!)

Add some good quality soil and, with some good planning, you can get more than a few plants in these guys for a steady supply of fresh stuff!



Blue Stake: Call Before You Dig

Fall planting is just around the corner, so now’s a good time for a reminder about getting your yard “blue staked” if you’re going to be doing any digging.

Just dial 811 at least two days before you dig, and they will send all local utilities out to mark utility line locations into your property.  You will need to provide your name, address and e-mail address as well as contact information for any subcontractors. And you will be given a ticket number and a list of utilities who will respond.

The service is free to all U.S. homeowners…and it’s Arizona law.  Not getting your property “blue staked” and hitting a line can not only result in service disruption and injury, you may also be liable for repairs and fines.

Need more info?  Visit Arizona Blue Stake, Inc. for a comprehensive list of applicable excavation projects and Blue Stake symbols and colors used by utilities.