Ahwatukee Foothills News: Smart Gardening

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Smart Gardening

Thursday 09/05/2013
Plan now for great-tasting tomatoes next year
Posted: September 05, 2013

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Home-grown tomatoes are NOT the best-tasting ones. Not necessarily, that is.

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Saturday 08/31/2013
Improve your fall garden’s success, yield with balanced soils
Updated: September 03, 2013 - 12:25 pm

Avid Southwest gardeners see August as a time to enjoy the beauty of summer annuals, the bounty of a summer garden harvest, and the shade of the early morning or late afternoon. Southwest gardeners also mark August as the traditional beginning of the fall vegetable garden. Some fall vegetables should be planted by seed as early as mid-August: squashes like acorn, butternut and Hubbard; zucchini; melons like “Crenshaw,” honeydew, and casaba; fall sweet corn; tomatoes; peppers; and green beans. And September marks the beginning of the fall vegetable planting season — the most abundant season in desert gardening. So, preparing the garden’s soil is on every vegetable grower’s August checklist.

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Tuesday 08/14/2012
Formula for plants with heat stress
Updated: August 29, 2013 - 10:44 am

Everyone wants their yards to look their best, have lush and beautiful plants year-round. Summertime, though, seems to make us all wilt, plants and people alike. But, even though it’s hot and humid this month, your plants can thrive and stay healthy by understanding a few basics: what is plant heat stress, how do you know your plant is stressed, and what do you do when your plants have been affected?

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Saturday 07/07/2012
Monsoon management and West Nile Virus
Updated: April 04, 2013 - 2:31 pm

Each year as the monsoon season descends upon us, we see too many trees uprooted and ruined by poor preparation. With the proper planning and practices, this can all be avoided. Take time to inspect and make certain of the following preventive measures.

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Wednesday 02/22/2012
Grow food, flowers in container or raised bed gardens
Updated: July 05, 2012 - 9:45 pm

Use of container and raised bed gardens is a practical and ever popular choice with many homeowners. Integrated around your outdoor living areas, they add warmth and character to areas that could otherwise be hard and uninviting. Also, backyards are now typically smaller than years ago; therefore, containers can make an excellent patio garden. They'll add greenery, architectural interest and structure to the patio and around the yard. Container gardens also lend themselves to the renter, as well as the homeowner. Raised bed gardens also add architectural interest and structure to an area and they can also be a practical solution for gardeners with limited mobility.

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Friday 11/25/2011
Plant care, spruce up and poinsettias for the holidays
Updated: July 05, 2012 - 9:45 pm

The holiday season brings a flurry of preparatory activity in the home to give it that extra pizzazz for this special time of year: clutter gets cleaned up, the holiday decorations are set out, centerpieces and tablecloths are changed, garland swags and wreaths are hung. 

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Thursday 10/27/2011
October means it's time to plant fall flowers and veggies
Updated: November 29, 2012 - 4:16 pm

October marks the beginning of the fall gardening season. Everything in your garden will need some attention, and flower and vegetable gardens will be started.

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Thursday 09/01/2011
Sun or shade, where is the best place to plant in the Valley?
Updated: July 05, 2012 - 9:45 pm

Many of us move to the Valley of Sun from other places and don't understand how the desert climate changes the way we plant vegetables and flowers. Plants that grew back home may not grow here, so follows are some helpful tips to make gardening easier.

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Tuesday 07/19/2011
A place to get out of the sun is a valuable asset for backyards
Updated: December 31, 2011 - 4:40 pm

The most sought after segment of an outside living area in Arizona is shade.

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Thursday 07/07/2011
Gardening with arid or water-wise plants and designs in our climate
Updated: December 31, 2011 - 4:40 pm

Arid or xeriscape landscape does not have to be hot, boring, sparsely planted or just gravel covered areas that look bleak. We call these designs water-wise.

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Thursday 05/19/2011
It's not too late to plant that garden, improve landscaping
Updated: November 23, 2011 - 5:05 pm

As people spend more time in their yards the following tips should help with gardening, landscaping and more this spring and summer:

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Friday 03/25/2011
Veggies: Container gardens, feeding for bigger veggies, iris in Arizona
Updated: February 21, 2012 - 1:08 pm

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Thursday 02/17/2011
Feeding for bigger veggies, container gardens and gopher fixes
Updated: August 30, 2011 - 5:39 pm

If you have hard, salty ground that most everyone in the Valley has, start with First Step Soil Acidifier to lower pH and open up and soften the soil. Add a product called Great Big Plants. Mix 3 to 4 ounces per gallon of water to get the microbial (good bugs) count up in the soil so they can process the nutrients. This is an organic fertilizer that contains a microbial culture. The amount of nutrients in it is sufficient for several weeks. Then be sure you make an early application of phosphorus and potassium. You need phosphorous for flowering on anything that blooms, like peas. Use 6-20-20 to boost flowering. Green leafy vegetables and root vegetables, such as carrots and beets, need higher nitrogen fertilizer, such as 16-8-8 or 15-15-15, which are medium release and last for one to two months. The rate is about 3/4 pounds per 100 square feet.

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