Tuesday, November 16, 2010

5 Tips for Growing Leafy Greens

1. Most greens prefer a loose, fertile soil. You can achieve this by adding compost to the soil and making sure all the large clumps of soil are broken up.

2. Be sure to plant the seed at the appropriate depth. Most leafy greens are small seeds and get planted at about 1/8 inch. If planted too deeply they may not germinate.

3. Leafy greens are cool weather plants. In the southwest you can plant them starting in October and through the winter. Once the temperatures start to rise above 75 degrees, they will ‘bolt’ and go to seed.

4. Extend the harvest season by planting the seeds over several weeks (succession planting). Once the first planting germinates (pokes through the soil), plant some more!

5. Harvest greens by taking the young leaves from the outside on the plant, leaving the younger inner leaves. The plant will continue to grow from the inside. If you have several plants growing on the garden of each kind of plant you can have fresh greens all season long!

The beets and broccoli rabe featured here in the pictures were planted by seed on October 17, 2010.  I have been eating the broccoli rabe already as I thin them out.  The beets are next!

Happy eating from your garden!
The Garden Goddess

Monday, November 8, 2010

Community Gardening is on the Rise in Phoenix

Community Gardening has  become a new-hip thing to do in Phoenix and surrounding cities. There are many reason for this ranging from people wanting to beautify vacant lots, neighbors getting together to do something outdoors, feeding the hungry, sending food grown to a foodbank and more.

 The problem is people are not sure how to navigate the process of starting a community garden. Creating a community garden is much more then knowing how to grow plants.  It is mainly about how to organize a group of people, secure the land and then figure out how to kept it going.  The growing part is easy after that!

There are several ways to get started on the journey.  The American Community Garden Association has many helpful tools on their website - http://www.communitygarden.org/  Here you can find step-by-step instruction as well as sample forms for leasing the land and renting out plots.  There is even a list serve where other members share their personal experiences and ask and answer questions.

On perhaps you prefer a more personal approach and want to be able to talk this through with an experienced person - well that is me!  On Thursday, November 18th I will be leading a 90 minute class entitled: So You Want to Start a Community Garden?  I will be sharing my personal experience as a garden manager, the results of my research and what I have learned as I have met with and helped other community gardens.  It is being hosted at the Maricopa County Extension Office and presented through the Phoenix Permaculture Guild.  You can see more about it here.

Then next April, there will be a conference for community and school gardens on April 1+2, 2011 here in Tempe, AZ.  Growing Communities, One Garden at a Time is the American Community Gardening Associations, Southwest Regional conference.  I am honored to be leading that effort.

I would like to know more about your ideas and questions about community gardens.  Do you participate in one now?  If so where and what is the name of the garden?  What is your experience?  Please drop me a line or leave a comment here!


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