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Friday, June 12, 2015

Organic Gardening in the Desert

When my wife and I were first married, we were living in Illinois. One spring we decided to stick some tomato plants in the ground. We never watered them, we never fertilized them, and we ended up with an abundant harvest from those two little plants. A few years later we moved to Arizona. We stuck two tomato plants in the ground, fertilized them, watered them, sang to them, and they fried in the Arizona sun. We quit gardening. A few years later, we tried again. Through trial and error, I have had some successful years and some less than successful years. This year is successful; check out those tomatoes. You may think that this is a stock photo with enhanced color and wax coating for that sheen. But I assure you that that is an undoctored photo taken of tomatoes picked from our garden this morning. We also had a bumper crop of artichokes, hot peppers, lemons, and our apricot tree blessed us with two apricots.

Based on our experiences, here are some of the things that we have learned along the way.

1) Patience is a must. It will help you through the failures, and will make the things that grow in your garden that much better. Read more about gardening patience here.

2) The theme of patience lends itself to the practice of weeding. I hate weeding, but it is a must when gardening organically. Read more about weeding here.

3) Mulch, manure, and compost are all fantastic tools in the tool belt of the organic gardener. You can read about the importance of poop, especially in growing melons, here. Likewise, you can read about the importance of fighting weeds with mulch here.

4) Gardening is a great way to spend time with kids outside. This morning my 4-year-old and I picked the tomatoes highlighted in this post, and we had a great time doing it. Her shrieks of "Look at this one daddy!" warmed my heart. Kids love picking, and digging, and playing, and spending time, and it makes gardening that much more enjoyable. Read more about gardening with kids here.

I have found that organic gardening can be easy, if you're willing to do a little work dealing with bugs, weeds, and the occasional plant that gets fried by the sun. So roll up your sleeves, put on your wide brimmed hat, and enjoy your gardening. And please let me know what successes you've had with your gardening!

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