by Lylah Ledner
I absolutely love to garden. Spending time outdoors, creating beauty, nurturing plants, and seeing the fruit of hard work is incredibly life-giving for me. There's nothing like creating space for a tiny seed and then seeing that seed pop out of the ground - and become a gift from heaven to your soul.
You should know that I have no horticultural degree - not even a Master Gardeners Certificate - my education has been by jumping in, digging deep, and learning/experiencing through trial and error. I think I have learned most by the mistakes I've made - hopefully, we all do.
Gardening in the AZ desert can be difficult at times, but learning what the seasons offer and learning what we can grow in some of those hotter seasons, makes a difference.
It's mid-August - and about three weeks ago, we began prepping our raised beds to prepare them for our fall planting. It's hard work in the heat and I am grateful for the volunteers that support the vision here at our farm. Prepping beds look like pulling dead stuff out, checking irrigation lines, and then layering on the nutritional supplements. Our "supplements" include a layer of compost, chicken manure/fertilizer, the season's goat bedding (best compost/fertilizer ever!), and then a layer of new topsoil conditioner.
Our raised beds are allowed to "sit/settle" for about three weeks. We will water them down as often as we can and if need be, we'll gently turn the top of the bed under.
It's hard to not get ahead of the season, but there are ways to create microclimates so you can begin planting. A 50% - 70% shade cloth works wonders over each smaller bed. With that, I have already planted starts of kale, swiss chard, and Blue Lake beans ( unfortunately, the birds are finding them, so I'll cover with bird netting).
Seeds have gone in the bed rows of Calendula, French Breakfast Radishes, carrots and my favorite French lettuce called Merveille des Quatre Saisons
Do share about your garden - what you're growing - planning to grow. Share what part of the country you're in - and your weather for growing. If you have yet to start a garden, please ask questions - if I can, I'll answer what I know.
by Lylah Ledner
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