This week, I got out all of the vegetable seeds that I had stored in my freezer. Did you know that they last longer there? I went through them all with my master gardener helper (Mom) and we separated them into 4 piles.
1. Those that need to be started inside (most need 6-8 weeks, some need 10)
2. Those that need to be started in the ground as soon as the soil is workable
3. Those that need warm weather to flourish
4. Those that just don't work in AZ. (those got put back in the freezer)
We will be saving newspapers, plastic gallon milk jugs and those fancy plastic apple cartons that Costco sells apples in over the next few weeks. The newpapers will go down the aisles between the rows of vegetables. They will keep down the weeds, keep moisture in the soil and preserve a walkway between plants. The milk jugs will go over our tomato plants after we put them in the ground, giving them an extra protection if we get cold weather past April. We will remove them as the plants get bigger. The fancy apple cartons are for starting seeds inside.
We are planning to plant early, harvest and then plant again. Once the snow melts next week (we are in AZ, so we are pretty much assured of warm weather), we will weed, till, manure, till, fertilize and then till one last time. It's a lot of work to have a garden in a desert plateau; a lot harder than it was in WA. We are, however, determined. I will post pictures as we go along. We are also keeping our fingers crossed for the weather to cooperated with the fruit trees in the yard. There are plum, peach, apricot and apple trees. Last year, a freak May freeze kill every last fruit. I have plans for jams, syrups, sauces fruit leathers, etc this year.
I try to use non-hybrid seeds when possible. I like the idea of saving seeds to use the next year, instead of buying them. Only a decade ago, I could find packages of seeds 10 for $1. Now they are about $2 per package! I have found a bunch of seed swapping groups around the country. I may join one if I have success.
I have a link on my right sidebar to a company who sells non-hybrid seeds (Hometown Seeds). If you use the coupon code thanks you will receive 10% off your orders.
I realize that not all of you have the space, time or opportunity to have huge backyard gardens, but if you have room for a pot of herbs on your windowsill or a patio pot for tomatoes, I strongly suggest you try your hand at growing some. Fresh is so much more tasty than store bought!!!
We will be planing lettuce, bok choy, herbs like dill, basil and oregano, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, poblanos, crooked neck squash, zucchini, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, carrots, beets, spinach, green beans, lima beans, peas, green onions, yellow onions, and cucumbers. If all goes well, I plan to bottle salsa, pizza sauce, dill relish, carrots, green beans, and beets. I will freeze squash, peas and spinach. I will dehydrate herbs and peppers.
How about you? Do you garden?