Gardening

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Learn How to Keep Your Clutch at Food Conspiracy Co-Op's Chicken Coop Tour

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 9:00 AM

The chicken coop tour teaches the ways of backyard bird rearing. - THOMAS VLERICK/ FLICKR
  • Thomas Vlerick/ Flickr
  • The chicken coop tour teaches the ways of backyard bird rearing.

For those thinking about bringing a couple chicks into the fold at home, you can spend the weekend learning about the best ways to build up your own coop with the Food Conspiracy Co-op’s chicken coop tour. If you're looking to get tips on the best way to bring up your brood or just interested in chatting with some fellow fowl enthusiasts, the tour is a good way to kill two birds with one stone... Wait.

Although past iterations of the event specifically highlighted household chicken keeping, this year’s event has grown to include the “farm scale” operation at ReZoNation Farms in Avra Valley—the very farm that supplies the co-op with some of the eggs that they sell. Stops for the eighth year's event also include Las Milpitas Farm at the Community Food Bank, an herbal hen mix maker called Holistic Hen and more. The co-op itself is on the tour this year, providing information on their farmer loan program, local egg samples and some helpful chicken raising ideas. The tour is self-guided.

The chicken coop tour kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5 and runs until about 3 p.m. that day. Tickets for the tour are $5 and available now at Food Conspiracy Co-op (412 N. Fourth Ave.). Tickets, along with more information, are also available on the co-op's website. Discounts on chicks and laying pellets at three local stores are included in the ticket price.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Celebrate 240 Years of Tucson at Mission Gardens with Breakfast and Heritage Plants

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Celebrate the desert's native bounty. - DENA COWAN
  • Dena Cowan
  • Celebrate the desert's native bounty.
Tucson might be expanding and changing every day, but over at Mission Gardens they're dedicated to keeping the city's heritage alive through their work in maintaining heritage plantlife and native seeds. On Sunday, August 23, you can celebrate the garden's growth and Tucson's 240th birthday all in one go while donating to the Mission Gardens cause with a special breakfast service. 

The event will feature tours of the garden and a silent auction sale of native trees, plants and seeds. Breakfast will be served at the newly re-opened Sosa Carrillo Fremont House (151 S. Granada Ave.) with a shuttle running from the breakfast to the garden grounds at 929 W. Mission Lane so attendees can see just what the garden has accomplished. The Mission Gardens, which are run by volunteers in conjunction with the nonprofit Friends of Tucson's Birthplace, will be honoring Gail Castañeda for her work in safeguarding the garden.

The morning menu will offer huevos con nopalitos or chorizo, papas en chile, frijoles, calabacitas, Sonoran white wheat tortillas, Pico de Gallo fruit cups, horchata and limonada. You can chose to dine from 7 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. The event is $45 at the door or $40 with advance reservations. Children 5 to 10 are $15 and kids under 5 eat free. You can RSVP for the event by calling 777-9270.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Learn About Heirloom Fruit Trees at the Sonoran Desert Museum

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 12:30 PM

Quince trees and more at this seminar.
  • Quince trees and more at this seminar.

Your backyard might be home to a fig, pomegranate or quince tree and chances are you have no idea what to do with it. You know the fruit on the tree is edible, but when it comes to growing, pruning and grafting these trees, well, you might need some help.

Get a professional look at the world of heirloom fruit trees when Jesús García chats about his work with the Kino Heritage Fruit Trees Project all while showing workshoppers tips on the propagation and maintenance of these unique trees. 

On Thursday, Feb, 26 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., García will kick off the class at the Sonoran Desert Museum, located at 2021 North Kinney Road, where he will discuss the historical significance of these trees. After some hands-on care instruction, he will end the class at the base of A Mountain with a guided tour of the Mission Garden, which was central to the Kino Heritage Fruit Trees Project.

Registration for the Heirloom Fruit Trees workshop is $54 for members and $59 for non-members and is available online, along with more information, on the Sonoran Desert Museum website.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Community Food Bank Offers Gardening Tips Via YouTube

Posted By on Tue, Sep 30, 2014 at 3:00 PM

I feel like I threaten to start a garden every week or so, generally right after spending more than I care to on produce at Sprouts, but hey...where do you even start such a venture here in the desert? Thankfully, the fine folks at the Community Food Bank have a new helpful video on gardening here in the Old Pueblo, plus they have a bunch of classes in October to help you take the next steps:

Soil and Compost Saturday, October 4
Rainwater Harvesting Thursday, October 9
Planting a Healthy Garden Saturday, October 11
Backyard Chickens Saturday, October 11
Garden Basics Intensive Tuesday, October 14
Water Saving Irrigation - Saturday, October 18
Wormania! - Saturday, October 18
Sustainable Design - Friday, October 24
Irrigating with Gray Water - Saturday, October 25
Diseño Sostenible - Saturday, October 25
Soil and Compost - Friday, October 31
All About Soil - Saturday, November 1
La Tierra y el Abono - Saturday, November 1
Planting a Healthy Garden - Friday, November 7
Seeds and Sprouts: Gardening for Kids - Saturday, November 8
Fruit Trees: Selection, Care, Pruning and Propagation - Saturday, November 8
Cultivar un Jardín Saludable - Saturday, November 8
Wormania! - Saturday, November 15
Home Canning, Freezing and Drying - Thursday, November 20

For gardening info and resources galore, check out the Food Bank's website.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Living Christmas Trees for Arizonans

Posted By on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM

An offer from the Arbor Day Foundation:



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Everyone from Arizona who joins the Arbor Day Foundation in September will receive 10 free Arizona cypress trees as part of the Foundation's Trees for America program.



Through Trees for America, everyone is encouraged to plant trees that will benefit the environment and improve the quality-of-life. With one million members, the Arbor Day Foundation is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees.



"Arizona cypress trees can be used as an ornamental tree, as a windbreak or privacy screen or as a living Christmas tree in your landscape," said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "These trees will also add to the proud heritage of Arizona's 25 Tree City USA communities. For the last 38 years, Tree City USA has supported effective urban forest management across Arizona, and planting these trees will enhance the state's tree-planting tradition."



The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting between October 15 and December 10. The 6- to 12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge. Planting instructions are enclosed with each shipment of trees.



New members of the Arbor Day Foundation will also receive The Tree Book, which includes information about tree planting and care.



To receive the free Arizona cypress trees, send a $10 membership contribution to Ten Arizona Cypresses, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410, by September 30, 2014, or join online at arborday.org/september.


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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Queen of the Night Flash Mob Bloom at Tohono Chul is Nigh

Posted By on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 9:00 AM

2013s Queen of the Night in full bloom at Tohono Chul Park
  • 2013's Queen of the Night in full bloom at Tohono Chul Park

A magical summer occurrence unique to the Southwest and Tucson is almost upon us. We're not talking about July's watermelon eegee's; our late-afternoon monsoon showers; or making more than two lights in a row on Ina Rd.

Bloom Night is nigh.

According to Tohono Chul Park's Director of General Services Lee Mason, the legendary Queen of the Night Cereus flower, aka Peniocereus greggii, is poised to bless us with her annual one-night-only appearance.

I've been watching the Queen all weekend. On Friday afternoon it appeared to be on the verge of something happening. On Saturday they broke out of the stall stage (appears the change in weather had the desired effect) and on Sunday they were definitely moving. This morning they are in the 80 to 90 MM range, which tells me Bloom Night will happen sometime in the next 5 to 7 days. I will keep you informed so stay turned!

Tohono Chul is home to the world's largest private collection of the Cereus and up to 2500 people attend Bloom Night each year. The Cereus rely solely on hawk moths and other bugs for survival, as the flowers cannot self-pollinate. The flowers usually bloom en masse between the hours of 5 to 8 p.m.; soon after sunrise the next morning, its petals have already wilted.

The exact date of the bloom, however, is a mystery, thus is the allure of the Queen of the Night. The legend has been passed down through generations, from the oral history of the Tohono O'odham to a modern email notification list you may join here.


The Bloom of the Night even has its own fragrance line! I personally prefer it to I-10 & Prince's "Odor de Effluent."

We will keep you informed of the progress, but until then, check out some of the history of the Night Bloom and tips to better prepare yourself for this annual event.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

February in Your Desert Potted Garden

Posted By on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 7:00 AM

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The Potted Desert Edible Garden

1. Get in another planting of all your cool season veggies, if you have room. Go ahead and transplant some more greens for an early spring salad. (Spinach, all lettuces, mesclun, swiss chard, kale)

2. Get your garden ready for the warm season planting. But, be ready to cover if it freezes again.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February Potted Garden Care

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Winter in a Desert Potted Garden
  • The Potted Desert
  • Winter in a Desert Potted Garden

In order to keep your winter flowers blooming into May, you need to provide them with some regular attention. Take a morning coffee break with your garden a couple times a week so that you can enjoy your labors for several more months!

1. Deadhead your flowers weekly. Be sure to pinch them back to the originating stem, not just the flower. This will support continuous bloom.
2. Cut back ornamental grasses to just above ground level in February.
3. Fertilize your potted plants every two weeks with a water soluble fertilizer. Best applied with a hose applicator.
4. Plant color annuals such as pansies, petunias, larkspur, primrose, poppy, stock, violas, alyssum, snapdragon and marigolds (warmer areas only.)
5. Watch shallow-rooted newly planted annuals, which can quickly dry out with spring winds.
6. Adjust watering schedule according to winter rains.

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IDEA OF THE MONTH
Create a “Tea Pot” as a fun gift for a tea-loving friend. Use a light weight pot or other container with drainage and good potting soil. Herbs that thrive in our desert heat can be mixed in the pot. Be sure to label them so your friend knows what each herb is. Include some information about the teas they can make with each herb.
Peppermint - this is a perennial favorite for many people. Its refreshing taste is uplifting and cleansing, as well as wonderful for stomach troubles of all kinds. Peppermint is generally very easy to grow and enjoys sunny and semi-shaded spots. Grows very, very easily and unless you want it escaping across the garden, keep it pot-bound. The leaves are the part used for making tea.
Violas — These cute flowers will add color to your pot and the flowers are edible. Freeze them in water making decorative ice cubes to put into the Peppermint ice tea!


Want to keep your money out of the compost heap? Sign up for the Desert Potted View and our Free Monthly Potted Garden tips - sign up at Potted Desert Newsletter.

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Marylee is the founder and former owner of Tucson’s The Contained Gardener. With more than 15 years of successfully designing and growing potted gardens in the desert’s challenging and oftentimes harsh climate, Marylee has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Marylee is available for in-home or digital consultations and you can always email her with your questions and comments. Follow The Potted Desert on Facebook!
Marylee is also available for business growth counseling.

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