Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Growing our own food

Over the last few years we have been learning to grow our own food. Patch and Carlie do the heavy lifting, and in the past we sort of let Patch try her hand at farming, but this year I have gotten more involved. I am dedicated to growing more produce to make it less expensive to eat healthy foods, and also because then we know exactly what goes into our food rather than wondering when it's from a store.

On top of that, it's really satisfying to eat something which you have nurtured and worked hard to grow in the desert environment of Phoenix, AZ. So this year we are having some good success with an Artichoke (above left) a tree which is 1/2 peach and 1/2 plum and will soon have some great peaches for us.  Beneath the shade of the peach and plum tree are 4 pots of berries which we thought we had lost due to too much sun, but after moving it under the tree and watering it by hand they have begun to revitalize!

This year we planted cherry tomatoes, onions, garlic and jalapenos in pots for the first time, and grapes are growing up a trellace outside my bedroom window which will be delicious AND help provide much needed shade and protection from the heat in a room which gets more than it's fair share of both.  Not far from the grapes grows a nectarine tree which was just planted this year. We should be able to pick it's yummy fruits in about 3 years.

We would like to also harvest our own eggs (like they are talking about tomorrow here: but suspect our HOA is against it. We will see. But because we are trying to live as sustainably as possible, we are investigating methods which use less water, provide more protein, etc. Currently we are doing a lot of container gardening as shown above, and there are 2 raised beds which are not yet in use this year, but which will be planted soon with whichever seedlings make it. We have been making our own compost and striving to grow organically, but I would like to improve this and make it a  more sustainable circle of life through a process called Aquaponics. I've joined a few aquaponics groups such as this one: and have been investigating. I even wrote to to see if we can get a tour and learn about their successful aquaponic efforts in Mesa, AZ. We hope to use the back yard farm skills we are learning along with green building practices to create a more sustainable food source for our house, and probably enough to share with others.   I will post here as we continue learning as we grow.

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