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

Gardening Tip: Designing Vegetable Gardens

Garden Plan Pro for the iPadOK, so…I admit to a near-giddy fascination with high-tech gadgets.  I worship at the altar of my smartphone (I know, false god) and pray daily for a good gardening app.  I mean, I do like to draw up my veggie garden with my stash of colored pencils.  But it takes time, right?

So when I discovered Garden Plan Pro, I screamed like a 12-year-old girl seeing Justin Bieber up close.  (No, I didn’t faint.)  Unfortunately, the app is currently only available  for iPads (the iPhone version is due later in the year) and I am too dang cheap (or reasonable) to pay for an Apple product.

So if you have an iPad, check it out.  If you don’t have an iPad, there’s a desktop version available. It helps you plan an edible garden, pull plants from an extensive database, use weather station info from 20 countries so you can adapt your plant to our Phoenix desert climate, and get reminders of when to plant.  Hard to believe, but it even spaces plants correctly and provides advice on crop rotation and succession planting.

Is this too good to be true?  I just downloaded the trial and quickly drew the plan for one of my gardens.  Simple!  Now, if only they can do this for native desert and xeriscape plants suitable for Phoenix!


Phoenix Edible Gardening Resource: Extreme Gardening

Extreme Gardening: How to Grow Organic in the Hostile DesertsSo I mentioned one of the resources that I use to grow edibles in a previous post.  But this book, Extreme Gardening: How to Grow Organic in the Hostile Deserts, is written specifically for those us of who want to grow delicious and healthy edibles in Phoenix desert.

It was written by a guy (The Garden Guy) who can often be seen on local TV.  Now, it is not the prettiest gardening book around, but it’s cram-packed with the most relevant content I’ve found ANYWHERE.  Instead of consulting a resource and then checking the climate zone to see if it works here (or trying to apply info about growing edibles elsewhere to the desert), ALL of the info it contains is relative to the less-than-glorious growing conditions found in Phoenix!  (Somewhere I hear angels singing…)

The first part talks about growing conditions:  sun, water, soils, fertilizers, companion plants, etc.  Then it goes into detail for each vegetable, nut, and fruit that can be successfully grown here, including how to pick, plant, water, fertilize, protect, and enjoy each one.  Finally, he deals with how to manage pests organically.

This is one of those books that will get a workout.  I’m secretly hoping that the next printing will include a spiral binding!


The First Crop of the Season: Radishes

French Breakfast RadishesGiddy!  I just pulled these out of the garden, the first of the season.  They’re French Breakfast Radishes, and they have a milder taste than the produce section radishes…less of a bite.  I’m thinking a good breakfast would include these, some nice cheese, a hearty bread, and a bottle of wine.  I’d wake up early for that!

I didn’t have time to thin these before they matured, so they’re on the smallish side.  But I’ve got some purple radishes coming and multi-colored beets (I like color!) and round carrots…perfect for our compacted desert soils.



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