The single biggest mistake people make is – believe it or not – the dirt they use. Placing seeds or plants directly in the dirt guarantees an unsuccessful garden. Not all is lost, however, with a little planning and learning. Ponder these steps:
Step 1 – Understanding your soil. There are five components to healthy soil and “dirt.” While it is an important part, it is only a small fraction of the success in your garden. Fixing your “dirt” problem is as easy as…well read on.
The five components of healthy soil are—drum roll please—dirt, air space, water, organic matter and soil life. Building healthy soil is a simple thing to do. Add organic matter to your garden, and lots of it. With organic matter you are essentially making a place for air space and water to get into the dirt and bring in an incredible amount of soil life in the process.
Let’s say you have a garden bed – that does NOT have Bermuda or nut grass growing in it. The simplest thing to do is to add 6 inches of compost or Premium Potting Soil to the top and plant. YES it is that easy. By not digging you are saving your back and adding compost that your plants can thrive in. In the long term, the roots of the plants will do your digging for you. It works! I promise.
If you do have a garden space with Bermuda grass or nut grass you need to completely dig it out or within a few months of watering and fertilizing you will have a nice crop of grass growing and no veggies.
Step 2 – Make your garden thrive. Nutrient dense great tasting food for your garden will virtually guarantee a success. So what qualifies as good garden food? Worm castings, mycorrhiza and Azomite.
Worm castings (worm poop) is one of the most incredible fertilizers you can add to your garden. Often called “gardener’s gold” – it bring nutrients and soil life to your future plants.
Mycorrhiza is a fungus and by adding an inoculant of it to your garden you are jump starting an incredible amount of fungal life to your soil biology. So next time you see that mushroom growing in your garden – don’t get rid of it! It makes for a very healthy soil!
Azomite is essentially rock dust that is jam packed full of micronutrients that will have your plants thrive and will pack you food with incredible vitamins.
Step 3 – Download the free planting calendar at PlantingCalendar.org. This will assist you in planting the right plants at the right time.
Most of all remember that growing food in the desert is an experiment. Learn what you can, experiment away and most of all—have fun.
Greg Peterson is the owner of The Urban Farm. The Urban Farm is his home and 1/3 acre property located in the heart of central Phoenix. Peterson offers podcasts, has fruit tree pop-up nurseries and other workshops throughout the year to teach and encourage others to start their own urban farm. Visit urbanfarm.org for more information or like them on Facebook.