Howdy again!

9 Apr

Greetings from the Sonoran Desert!

Although we haven’t been updating our blog, we have been busy in our garden.

We hope to find an opportune moment soon to write and share with you more gardening life…
In the meantime, here are photos of what we’ve been up to:

2010 album

2011 album (watch for updates!)

See all our Photos on Flickr

Happy, healthy day to y’all!

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Tweetup at La Indita

20 Apr

Last Sunday morning, @Tucsoncheap posted an article about inexpensive Mexican restaurants which sparked a discussion on Twitter about good mexican food in Tucson. La Indita became a focus of our discussion, which lead to the idea of having a tweetup there.

Tucson Tweetup at La Indita Restaurant
Dates: Tentative

Location:
La Indita
622 N 4th Ave
Tucson, AZ 85705
(520) 792-0523‎

Besides parking on 4th Ave, there is a parking lot behind the building. It’s located on the first street East of 4th Ave. called Hoff Ave. (looks like an alley). It’s easy to find with google maps.

RSVP
Since we wouldn’t want the folks at La Indita to be surprised over our arrival, we will call them for reservations.

Send us a direct message @OrganicGardenAZ or email us.

La Indita Restaurant

Purple Asparagus

9 Apr
Two Purple Asparagus from our Garden

Purple Asparagus in our Garden

As we wrote on twitter this morning: the purple asparagus in our garden never makes it to the kitchen. We eat the spears immediately after harvesting.

Through out early April, we anticipate savoring these treats from our garden. Sweet, fresh, mild – this asparagus is our kind of candy.

Purple asparagus tastes sweeter than it’s green cousin because it’s higher in sugar content than green asparagus. What makes them purple? Cancer fighting phytochemicals called Anthocyanins are responsible for their beautiful purple hue.

Asparagus is well known for its medicinal properties. Asparagus is a diuretic and laxative with a beneficial effect on the kidneys, liver and bowels. Nutritionally, asparagus is rich in vitamins C & E, folate, potassium, and fiber.
Nutrition Data for Raw Asparagus
Growing Asparagus

About five years ago, we planted one-year-old purple asparagus crowns (rhizomes) in March, when the freezing weather had past. Asparagus is a deep-rooted crop that prefers a soil pH of 6.5-7.5. We planted them in a slightly raised bed filled with nice loamy soil incorporated with plenty of organic compost and a mix of chicken and goat manure.

Asparagus is long-lived crop that can be productive for 15 years or more if well tended. We are sure to mulch and water the asparagus well through out the year (water logging isn’t a problem here in the desert). Every early February, after we clip away the fern debris, we lightly scratch in a 2-inch thick layer of organic steer manure over the entire asparagus bed.

A year later we were able to harvest our first purple asparagus. The best moment to harvest asparagus is when they are the width of one’s thumb, and a height of about six to eight inches. We prefer to cut the spear with a knife at the soil surface.

At the end of the harvest season, we leave a few mature spears to grow out. These asparagus spears will grow into a beautiful, tall fern, re-charging its crown for the next harvest season. During the late season, our female plants bear red seed-bearing fruits.

Treat yourself to this wonderful vegetable. Now is the time to put your asparagus crowns into the soil.

With consistent care and patience, asparagus will reward you every spring with spears bursting with flavor and nourishment for many years to come.

Purple Asparagus

Purple Asparagus in our Garden


Pin It

Desert Gardening Books

16 Mar

Celebrity Numerologist, and recent Arizona transplant, Tania Gabrielle twittered us asking if we have any book suggestions for organic gardening in the desert.

We looked through our library for the most well worn and well loved gardening books in our collection. Here are our finds:

Desert Gardening by George Brookbank
Desert Gardening

From caliche to zucchini, this is the definitive guide to desert gardening.

Brookbank started out as an Agricultural Officer in Africa; figuring out how to protect crops from elephants and monkeys. For many years he worked at the Extension Garden Center if the University of Arizona. Brookbank has been writing Gardening articles in Tucson newspapers since the 1970’s and has been in various local radio and tv shows.
The information he has compiled in this book is priceless. If you could only buy one gardening book, this should be it.

* We especially like the desert gardener’s calendar: garden projects for every week of the year.

* We reccomend all of George Brookbank’s Books: “Desert Landscaping: How to Start and Maintain a Healthy Landscape in the Southwest” and “The Desert Gardener’s Calendar: Your Month-by-Month Guide” – Find more great books like these at the University of Arizona Press

Extreme Gardening: How to Grow Organic in the Hostile Deserts  by David Owens  Extreme Gardening: How to Grow Organic in the Hostile Deserts

Occasionally, we get to watch David “Garden Guy” Owens on the wacky “Good Morning Arizona” show on KTVK, Phoenix. He’s a real gift to desert gardeners, with a wealth of organic gardening tips.

Let it Rot!: The Gardener's Guide to Composting by Stu Campbell Let it Rot!: The Gardener’s Guide to Composting (Third Edition) (Storey’s Down-to-Earth Guides)

Fortifying desert soil is crucial for a healthy, productive garden. This is the classic how-to book on the various methods of composting. It’s an easy, educational, and entertaining read. “Let it Rot” is a great resource for gardeners of all skill levels.

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond by Brad Lancaster Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands (Vol. 1): Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life And Landscape

Don’t bother signing up for that expensive permaculture class when you can use this book, your own insight and imagination and transform your home into a hydrophilic paradise. Written by Tucsonan Brad Lancaster, “Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond” is a three-volume guide on how to conceptualize, design, and implement sustainable water harvesting.

We hope these books will enrich your gardening adventures.

Feel free to twitter us: @OrganicGardenAZ

Obama’s Farming Agenda

21 Jan

This morning, at our computers, with coffees in hands, we read the agendas of the President Obama at whitehouse.gov

Some highlights for us are the plans to help family famers, support organic agriculture, and encourage young people to become farmers.

“Ensure Economic Opportunity for Family Farmers

  • Strong Safety Net for Family Farmers: Fight for farm programs that provide family farmers with stability and predictability. Implement a $250,000 payment limitation so we help family farmers — not large corporate agribusiness. Close the loopholes that allow mega farms to get around payment limits.
  • Prevent Anticompetitive Behavior Against Family Farms: Pass a packer ban. When meatpackers own livestock they can manipulate prices and discriminate against independent farmers. Strengthen anti-monopoly laws and strengthen producer protections to ensure independent farmers have fair access to markets, control over their production decisions, and transparency in prices.
  • Regulate CAFOs: Strictly regulate pollution from large factory livestock farms, with fines for those that violate tough standards. Support meaningful local control.
  • Establish Country of Origin Labeling: Implement Country of Origin Labeling so that American producers can distinguish their products from imported ones.
  • Encourage Organic and Local Agriculture: Help organic farmers afford to certify their crops and reform crop insurance to not penalize organic farmers. Promote regional food systems.
  • Encourage Young People to Become Farmers: Establish a new program to identify and train the next generation of farmers. Provide tax incentives to make it easier for new farmers to afford their first farm.
  • Partner with Landowners to Conserve Private Lands: Increase incentives for farmers and private landowners to conduct sustainable agriculture and protect wetlands, grasslands, and forests.”

Also, the Obama team slammed Bush over his handling of Hurricane Katrina , stating:

“President Obama will keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and Vice President Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur.”

And:

“Citing the Bush Administration’s “unconscionable ineptitude” in responding to Hurricane Katrina, then-Senator Obama introduced legislation requiring disaster planners to take into account the specific needs of low-income hurricane victims.”

Good Morning New America!

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