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Hello from the Desert

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Hello from the Desert

Post  Dreaming of Green on 1/16/2013, 2:53 pm

Hello all,

I am looking for help and advice for growing veggies and herbs etc. successfully in the desert. Originally from the mid-west I am/was a decent gardener. However, all rules change here and I have yet to be able to adapt to these growing conditions.

I am currently working on building my SQG beds and have also looked into different types of shade structures I can build to protect my efforts from the relentless sun. Most of my back yard has full sun exposure (west facing) so I have very little options for shade from the house (all or nothing actually), and no trees to speak of Sad In MI, I was of course, looking for sunnier spots to grow in, so again this is a big change for me.

Looking forward to learning and growing Very Happy
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Dreaming of Green

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Re: Hello from the Desert

Post  Kelejan on 1/16/2013, 4:34 pm

glad you\'re here Dreaming Green happy hi
It sounds as though you have a good grasp of the need for shade in your desert. I am sure you know you need to water much more frequently and deeper. Others will be along in a bit to give you advice for desert conditions and answer questions for you.

Me, I'm looking at two foot of snow that's likely to stay around for another two months at least Sad
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Re: Hello from the Desert

Post  Lemonie on 1/16/2013, 5:36 pm

welcome I have no experience w/ desert circumstances but remember seeing pics of someone's garden last summer that did a "pond bed" I think they called it on top of their sandy area. I have a similar "wicking bed" which basically has a bottom cistern to hold water and containers that poke through from the top garden bed into the water cistern. The containers are lined with absorbant materials (I use old comforters and cushions) that wick the water up to keep the bottom of the garden bed moist. I sure wish I had pictures to share of this, but you can probably find them if you search a bit on here. This has really helped me to conserve and limit my watering since their was less loss from top evaporation. I will also be trying different forms of mulching this year to see if that helps too. Sounds like you've got some good ideas for shade. Have you checked w/ your county Cooperative Extension office for varieties that do well in your area?
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Lemonie

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Re: Hello from the Desert

Post  cheyannarach on 1/17/2013, 1:54 am

WElcome to the forum Dreaming of Green!! I would say mulch and I would also look into a soaker hose for watering! I have no desert experience though so take it or leave it! Happy to see a new face here, keep us posted on your progress!
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Re: Hello from the Desert

Post  jkahn2eb on 1/17/2013, 8:03 am

I'm a midwest transplant (no pun intended) to the desert as well, though I didn't garden until I was down here. You will LOVE it, even though specific growing seasons are shorter you eat from your garden year-round. If your weather is similar to Phoenix, these two calendars are spot on: [url=http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/az1005.pdf ]http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/az1005.pdf [/url] and http://www.gardeninginarizona.com/calendar.html

Shade cloth from Lowe's/Home Depot is a must in the summer here in Phoenix from June-September. Look for my threads Under A Desert Shade Cloth. During summer I water once in the early morning and just before the sun sets. In winter, I water every few days.

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Re: Hello from the Desert

Post  Dreaming of Green on 1/17/2013, 9:35 am

Good Morning, I'm Michelle by the way. I forgot to mention that in my "Hello" post.
Thank you all for such a warm welcome and the encouragement already.

[ I have no experience w/ desert circumstances but remember seeing pics of someone's garden last summer that did a "pond bed" I think they called it on top of their sandy area. I have a similar "wicking bed" which basically has a bottom cistern to hold water and containers that poke through from the top garden bed into the water cistern]

Thanks Lemonie, I will be looking into to this for sure. I have been traversing around on the treads and haven't found it yet. I am still looking Wink

Soaker Hose - Check, Shade Cloth - Check Thank you Kelejan, cheyannarach, and JKahn2eb

I Love the planting calendars, already saved and printed for my notebook.

Kelejan, I understand the long winter.... Born and raised in south west lower MI, spring takes forever to come. Hang in there and force some nice bulbs, they make even a cold day brighter!

Have a great day everyone
thanks
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Dreaming of Green

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Re: Hello from the Desert

Post  Lemonie on 1/17/2013, 5:45 pm

@Dreaming of Green wrote:[ I have no experience w/ desert circumstances but remember seeing pics of someone's garden last summer that did a "pond bed" I think they called it on top of their sandy area. I have a similar "wicking bed" which basically has a bottom cistern to hold water and containers that poke through from the top garden bed into the water cistern]

Thanks Lemonie, I will be looking into to this for sure. I have been traversing around on the treads and haven't found it yet. I am still looking Wink

I found it!
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t5716-experiment-to-deal-with-pure-sand-and-high-water-bills?highlight=SFG+in+sand
Now, I just hope I posted that link right. Embarassed
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Lemonie

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That was amazing!

Post  Dreaming of Green on 1/17/2013, 7:01 pm

Thank you so much for finding that and giving me the link!!!

I now have lots and lots to think about. I was going to build my beds out of some landscape brick that used to hold up my retaining wall, however, after reading through all of that I may be using those for the "ponds" and building wooden boxes after all... hummmmm

Water is a huge concern here, I need to find a rain barrel too. Not that i've seen rain since November or was it October? It has to rain eventually, right?

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Dreaming of Green

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Re: Hello from the Desert

Post  cheyannarach on 1/17/2013, 7:11 pm

My hubby found a cool DIY rain barrel on pinterest, I will see if he pinned it and post a link!
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Re: Hello from the Desert

Post  Lemonie on 1/17/2013, 11:13 pm

Oh...love all the gardening things I'm finding on pinterest....lots of SFG boards are popping up recently. Smile I totally hear you about the water issue. That was part of my agreement w/ hubs it that we could do a garden as long as it didn't kill our water bill. That was the whole reason I went right for wicking beds and why expanding my rain barrell system is on top of the list this year. PLUS, it turns out that the best spot for the garden was over 50' away from the spigot. silly me If I may throw in some advice, if you're doing a wicking/pond bed, be sure to have a floater stick for your water fill pipes that will measure the water level. I'm adding that this year as well so I don't have to guess (and usually be too late) on when to water. I'm not certain on what works best for this, but probably styrofoam or corking on the bottom of a dowel or piece of clothes hanger with different colors on the stick to indicate water level. :scratch:
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Lemonie

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Re: Hello from the Desert

Post  Mike aka Gunny on 1/17/2013, 11:47 pm

Howdy from Yuma,
Michelle, check out www.sonorangarden.com Don is an SFG instructor and is in the tri-city area. He will be a good source for you to pick his brain.
Mulching heavily is also an option for water retention. My little homestead channel on youtube has a vid on sunken beds which is another option.
I was jerked up in the Santa Cruz area of California, a much more pleasant area for gardening. One of my step-fathers was an avid gardener and I was at that age where paying attention was not an option and missed out on a excellent education. Say la vie. Anyway welcome to the group and the desert, it will be a rewarding experience on both counts.
As you have already seen this group is outstanding, always read to help and hold your figurative hand in the rough spots.
BTW, beware of the deadly mesquite thorns. They will puncture almost everything, especially tube type wheelbarrow tires and your feet. The bright side is that mesquite is a very healthy food source. Check out desert harvesters (google search) to learn more on our desert edible plants.
Sorry if I'm rambling on. Had a med change and having a bad reation. The horrible itch. Been awake for about 60 hours and am seeing 4 of everything.
Anyway again welcome and above most all else, have fun.
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Mike aka Gunny

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Re: Hello from the Desert

Post  Triciasgarden on 1/18/2013, 5:30 pm

glad you\'re here Dreaming of Green! As they say for us here in Utah on commercials to get us to conserve water: "We live in a desert you know". Well we live in a desert and have to conserve water but we also get the seasons here. I know you don't there and understand some of your weather as I have spent time in Arizona visiting family. It's different than living there though. I saw some photos of people who use shade cloth and I will try to find that, unless someone beats me to it, lol

It sounds like you are getting some great advice and I am sure more will be on the way!

Gunny sometimes its the little extra tidbits we add to our posts that make this forum so great! I hope you can get past that horrible itching and get some sleep soon!
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Re: Hello from the Desert

Post  Gunny's Garden on 1/18/2013, 5:53 pm

Thanks T
I gave myself a good rub down with hydrocortizon and took enough benadryl to sink a huey. Slept 16 hours. Now good to go. That stuff was not good, the doc said it was between a narcotic and an nsaid. By my reaction it miniced a narcotic. So we learn as we go.
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Gunny's Garden

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Re: Hello from the Desert

Post  plantoid on 1/19/2013, 8:09 am

@Lemonie wrote:Oh...love all the gardening things I'm finding on pinterest....lots of SFG boards are popping up recently. Smile I totally hear you about the water issue. That was part of my agreement w/ hubs it that we could do a garden as long as it didn't kill our water bill. That was the whole reason I went right for wicking beds and why expanding my rain barrell system is on top of the list this year. PLUS, it turns out that the best spot for the garden was over 50' away from the spigot. silly me If I may throw in some advice, if you're doing a wicking/pond bed, be sure to have a floater stick for your water fill pipes that will measure the water level. I'm adding that this year as well so I don't have to guess (and usually be too late) on when to water. I'm not certain on what works best for this, but probably styrofoam or corking on the bottom of a dowel or piece of clothes hanger with different colors on the stick to indicate water level. :scratch:

Perhaps a long 1/2 thick plastic tube or thin walled aluminium tube with a rubber bung in the ends or a glued on end caps etc. Or if your fill tubes are of large enough bore a urine specimen bottle with soem sort of plasric straw glued on the top .
Styerene can become water logged so can cork , unless you seal them well with several coats of waterproof varnish or oil based paint.
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Re: Hello from the Desert

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