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Oct 20 / Jeff

Time for Fall/Winter Planting

It’s that time of the year again… except I am a little late to the party this time. Unfortunately, we have been experiencing a lot of unseasonally hot weather this year, with 95F+ temperatures up until this week when Mother Nature finally decided to cool down. That means it’s a perfect opportunity to get some of the cool weather crops in the ground. So, I rolled up my sleeves, got my hands dirty, and started revamping the garden.

First and foremost, I redid the irrigation system. Previously, I was using 1/4″ poly tubing with those 0.5GPM in-line drip emitters made by Orbit Irrigation. Let’s just say I am not a fan of Orbit products. Why? Well, to put it plainly, they suck. I  mean seriously, plastic parts are cheap enough to make, so why cut corners to save yourself another penny or two? I have had a lot of bad luck with their fittings and drip emitters. For example, I have experienced broken 1/4″ couplings, tees, and elbows, simply because they were so thin and cheap. Attention Orbit Irrigation – It’s not good if I can bend your fittings with my bare hands. I have also experienced bad drip emitters that break apart under normal operating pressures (25 psi). I am honestly surprised that Lowe’s still sells their crap. So now I go with Toro and DIG Irrigation products from The Home Depot. Yes, they cost a little more, but you can tell the quality is a 1000% better. For my garden, I am using 1/4″ Toro Blue Stripe tubing with the built in 0.5GPM drip emitters spaced every 6″. It’s a very cost effective solution that works very well. Enough of my ranting, let’s see what my garden looks like right now…

 

Pretty pathetic looking, but give it a few weeks. You’ll see…

Can you identify the plants in the picture?

2 Comments

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  1. David & Cindy / Nov 8 2010

    Hi Jeff,
    So glad to stumble across your website while trying to figure out if vegetable gardening is possible in AZ (we live in Apache Junction on 1-1/2 acres). If we may we would love to have an chat sometime — in person if possible so we can see how you do things.

    Currently we have only four citrus trees in their first year of any production at all. We sure have looked at them a lot though… and even petted them and talked to them a bit. 🙂 Also, because we’ve seen what the local woodpecker population has done to our neighbor’s fruit we’ve built a 12′ high enclosure of bird netting and 50% shade cloth (on the top) as a 1st step in the process of hopefully keeping some fruit on the tree without holes pecked in it and provide some rabbit protection. There is some room for some veggies in there for several years while the fruit trees grow.

    We’re not starting entirely from scratch in raising veggies. We came from the east coast where at one time we managed a 500 acre “hobby farm” (a farm owned by a rich guy who wanted a country retreat while enjoying the tax benefits of a working farm). At that farm we raised a small (30 x 60) vegetable plot with about 10 crops in it. After tasting the fruit of our labors we were hooked. Wow, what flavor!

    Since moving to AZ in 2002 and becoming semi-retired we’ve longed to figure out how to enjoy some of those delicious eatables. We have no soil at all here, just crushed granite it looks like and colechie (sp). So however we start it will be about making some decent soil.

    If you would enjoy a get-together chat at your convenience, as we would, and you are within a reasonable distance then please give us a call or drop us an email so we can arrange it.

    Thanks so much
    David and Cindy

    • Jeff / Nov 8 2010

      Hi David,
      Thank you for taking the time to stop by and share your story. Sounds like you have some challenges out there, with the hard soil and animal pests. Of course with any garden, you need to start with a good foundation – the soil. There are 2 ways you could go about this:

      1. If you have the time, manpower (or machine power), and money, I would dig up your current soil, remove most of it, and replace it with a good mixture of compost, topsoil, and other amendments such as peat moss and organic fertilizers. As you can imagine, this will require some serious work. However, you will have the ideal garden soil.

      2. If you want to do something a bit easier, you could implement raised bed gardens. Instead of having to deal with the hard soil and granite mixture, just build a garden on top. I suggest using 2″ x 8″ boards as the borders and filling it in with a good mixture of compost, peat moss, fine grade mulch, and organic fertilizers. The benefits of this method include easier maintenance and cleaner appearance.

      I am surprised the woodpeckers are interested in the citrus. Perhaps they are getting desperate? Bird netting works best, so you have the right idea.

      Feel free to drop me an e-mail at jeff@greenthumbjeff.com. I would be more than happy to talk more or see what my schedule is like.

      Jeff

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