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Mar 23 / Jeff

“What do you grow in your backyard?”

This is probably the most frequently asked question by many people, including customers, friends, and family. If it were possible, I would grow everything from A-Z. Unfortunately, I don’t live on a farm. Come to think of it, I probably wouldn’t want to live on a farm. Anyways, this is a recent photo from my vegetable garden. As you can see, things are getting a bit crowded. With only 40 square feet of space, I tend to use every square inch possible.

At the bottom right are some rows of sweet yellow onions, followed by rows of baby spinach, then salad greens, and carrots. The plants with the huge leaves are brocolli. If you look closely, you can see the small heads forming in the middle of the plants. Behind the brocolli are a few snow pea plants with tons of snow peas waiting to be picked. Just outside of the picture are some rows of daikon, or Japanese white radish.

These are all cool weather vegetables, so they won’t last much longer. I will be putting in spring/summer vegetables shortly. Some of the plants I have on deck include: Tomatoes (6 varieties… yes 6), peppers (bell and jalapeno), cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, soybeans, and green beans.

How will I fit all of that in 40 square feet? Stay tuned…


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  1. Kara / Mar 15 2013

    Hi Jeff,
    Have you ever tried to grow Rhubarb?
    Thanks, Kara

    • Jeff / Mar 16 2013

      Hi Kara,

      That’s one of the things I haven’t tried yet… probably because I wouldn’t know what to do with it. Though I have heard it is hard to grow since it gets too hot in the summer.


  2. Kara / Apr 20 2013

    Hello Jeff,
    Thanks for the advice on my previous questions. I was looking at shade cloth and wonder what is the best kind to get . . . knitted, woven, or aluminet? You recommend at least 70%, should we go with 90% for our blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries? What color(s) have you found the best? Do you take your cloth down at certain times of the year and then put it back up? How do does shade cloth hold up to the wind?
    Thanks again for your help,

    • Jeff / Apr 21 2013

      Hi Kara,

      I would get knitted shade cloth, 40-50% will be sufficient. If you go 70 or 90%, the plants won’t get enough sunlight. The color of the cloth is more for aesthetic purposes, so any color will work fine. I would use shade cloth during the summer months (June – August). As long as you have it attached to some type of structure, you shouldn’t have any problems with wind. Good luck!


  3. Michelle / Feb 12 2014

    Hi Jeff,

    Do you know where to buy trees here in Maricopa county that you know are not GMO? I am looking for Peach, Apple, Fig, Mexican Lime, grapes.

    Thank you

    • Jeff / Feb 14 2014

      Hi Michelle,

      In general, fruit trees on the market are not GMO. Most of them are bred using the old fashioned technique of crossing-pollinating varieties and selecting for certain traits. I would try Baker Nursery and A&P Nursery, as they typically have a good selection during this time of year. For citrus, Greenfield Citrus has nice trees that are locally-grown. Most large nurseries carry citrus too. If you have trouble finding trees, let me know and I can special order some for you.


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