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Changing Hands

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.

Excited for Independents Week 2013

Independents Week is coming up June 30 – July 7, 2013. I’m really excited for this week of celebrating independently owned business by getting awesome discounts. Since I joined Local First Arizona last year, I’ve learned a lot about the benefits of supporting local businesses. When you shop locally, not only are you supporting “the little guy,” you’re keeping more money in the local economy. I was amazed when I learned that for every $100 you spend at a big box store, only $43 stays in the local economy. When you spend $100 at a local business, $73 stays in the local economy.

LFA Infographic

To celebrate Independents Week, Local First Arizona created the Golden Coupon program where dozens of Local First members are offering a 20% discount if you shop with the Golden Coupon.  The list is pretty extensive and diverse.

Here are some of the places I’m most excited about using my Golden Coupon:

The Dhada: This little Indian restaurant in Tempe will blow you away. Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with Indian food; everything here is fantastic. This was the first place I made sure was on my calendar for Independents Week. Some of the other great restaurants that are accepting Golden Coupons include Fez, Coronado Café, House of Tricks, Tryst Café, and Duck and Decanter.

Urban Cookies: I’ve been looking for an excuse to indulge my sweet tooth. This is an award-winning bakery and they make gluten-free cookies and cupcakes.

golden-couponAZ on the Rocks: I really like this rock climbing center in Scottsdale. The staff is friendly and they have auto-belays so you can climb by yourself if you are so inclined. I’m really happy that this place is on the Golden Coupon list.

Zia Records: Independents Week will hopefully be my first of many trips to Zia Records. They are known for being a great place to buy and sell CDs and DVDs and for finding obscure items that aren’t available in other stores or hellaciously expensive if you buy them online.

Write On’s: This charming stationary and gift shop in Phoenix is part of my family. This is my go-to place when I need a greeting card or a classy gift. The women who work here are like a set of aunts. I love shopping here.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the full list of Arizona businesses that are accepting the Golden Coupon for Independents Week. It’s a great excuse to try someplace new and explore what’s available your community. Yes, even Carter Law Firm is participating in this year’s event.

For those of you who don’t live in the Phoenix area or are looking to get out of dodge, a lot of businesses in the Cottonwood, Flagstaff, and Tucson areas are also accepting the Golden Coupon.

Update: Be sure to check out these last minute additions that are accepting Golden Coupons – Jamburritos, Brand X T-shirts, and Changing Hands.

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