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August 24th, 2015:

Day 85/90 – Becoming an Urban Farmer

Day 85 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I learned about urban gardening!

Rosie enjoyed her first visit to Changing Hands

Rosie enjoyed her first visit to Changing Hands

My condo has a good-size concrete patio. Since we moved in, I’ve wanted to do something with it besides brush Rosie on it. A few years ago, I was impressed and envious when my friend Thomas did all-edible landscaping around his house. Especially now that I’m eating less processed foods and more vegetables, I thought it would be fun (and hopefully relaxing) to plant a small garden.

Tonight Rosie and I got a basic education on desert gardening at a talk by Greg Peterson of The Urban Farm at Changing Hands in Tempe called “Jumpstart your Fall Garden.” Greg told us how to have healthy soil and the best types of sun exposure for growing things. One of his key lessons was “observe your surroundings.” Pay attention to what’s growing, where it grows, and what microclimates are in your garden area. My concrete patio gets western sun exposure which should be good for gardening from mid-September until early May.

One of the most encouraging things Greg said was, “I’ve killed more plants than you have.” Historically, I’ve been afraid to grow things because I have a track record of killing plants – including a cactus. My goal with my garden is to have the experience of tending plants and I hope I break even in regards to what I spend setting up my garden (and I’m doing it on a budget) and how much food I harvest from my plants.

Greg also told us about the free desert planting calendar on his website that tells you the best time to grow certain plants. Based on his calendar, I should plant broccoli, cucumber, green beans, garlic, and peas this winter and hold off on planting squash, peppers, and melons until the spring.

I hope to devote some time during the next few weeks to observing where the sun hits my patio, getting pots, soil, seeds, and plants and setting my garden. Greg also suggested that we name our urban gardens. I wonder what I’ll call mine.

In case you missed it: Day 84 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Doing my own thing.