So, I must really love y’all because I let you see me looking terrible on camera. Also, I need a tripod. That way, you won’t have to see me this closeup again anytime soon. All for the sake of mulching. It’s that important.
I planted melons, squash and pumpkins in the tree wells in my orchard. I’m hoping that the vines grow and cover the ground and provide a cooling and moist microclimate for my fruit trees. We’ll see!
In this video, I show you one of the ways that you can fill a raised bed. Lasagne gardening, or sheet mulching is a stragety for maintaining a No-Till gardening philosophy. Also, some cauliflower bites the dust.
In this video I teach you how to make worm tea from the leachate of your vermicomposting bin. What? You don’t have a vermicomposting bin? Well, we’ll talk more about that later. All I will say right now is that vermicomposting, or worm composting, is a great way to turn all your kitchen scraps into the richest, most beneficial soil amendment that I know of. It’s easy and almost free.
So, let’s say you already have a worm bin. All the liquid that drains from your bin can be diluted with water and used as a great liquid fertililizer for all your plants.
Sorry for all the sniffling in this video, I was pushing through a sinus infection. Laying in bed and drinking tea doesn’t suit me, so I go out to the Back Fourty and make worm tea instead. But I don’t drink it.
If you only learn one thing about gardening in the desert (or anywhere else) it needs to be this: Never let the ground go naked. If you observe nature, no one rakes up the pine needles in the forest, or blows the leaves out from under the shrubs. The trees shed their leaves in Autumn, and there they lie. Year after year after year. The ultimate composted mulch.
Mulch does 4 important things:
1.) Controls weed growth.
2.) Retains moisture.
3.) Regulates soil temperature.
4.) Brings the soil back to life.
That fourth item might need a little more explanation… Putting a covering over the soil, like we observe in nature, allows the soil fungi, microbes and beneficial bacteria to thrive. The decomposing mulch provides food for earthworms who come to the surface and eat the organic material and then draw it downward into the soil as they travel up and down and aerate the soil. While they are eating, worms are producing castings (worm waste) which serves as nature’s perfect fertilizer.
When we clear the ground, we disrupt God’s amazing process for keeping the soil healthy.
No Naked Ground!
PS- I also talk about Artichoke, which is a great perenial vegetable in the desert garden, but I’m an idiot and I said that it dies back in the Winter. Nope, it thrives Fall through late Spring. Once its done producing, it shrivels back in the hottest part of the Summer (June, July) but if it is occasionally watered and its crown kept mulched, it will burst back to life again in the Fall, and it will produce a “pup” or offspring every year which you can let grow where it is, gently move to another part of the garden, or pull out if you must.
You will quickly find that I will spend much of my energy on this blog correcting stuff I say on camera.
I’m a huge fan of making your own compost and using your property’s naturally occurring resources to make mulch, fertilizers and soil amendments, but let’s face it, sometimes you have to buy stuff. I will show you what I like, and what has worked well for me.
There is a reason that tilling the soil was one of the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin and banishment from the garden of Eden. It’s backbreaking and hard, it makes the weeds grow even faster (again hard work pulling them) and it doesn’t even work very well. But, when you look at nature, at God’s garden, no one tills the soil. Part of my approach to gardening is to look at what God does, since He created plants and soil after all, and simply try to copy it. In this video, I explain why we all need to stop tilling the soil! Bonus: you get to watch riveting footage of dirt and listen to me ramble about soil structure.
I felt that I could make a major contribution to the world by starting another mediocre, inconsistent blog. I do love to write, but I also have a painfully long self editing process and a short attention span, which is basically a recipe for a post once every 8 weeks. If you need further proof of this, you can take a look at my other blog.
I’ve been wanting to start a desert gardening blog for a while now. When I started getting serious about gardening nearly 11 years ago, there was precious little locally relevant gardening information. If you are in a harsh desert climate, like I am, and you took advice offered by the typical gardening book, you’d experience a lot of failure and frustration. I know. I did. I still experience failure in my gardening endeavors, although I have stopped getting lured in by the hypnotic appeal of an English kitchen garden set against a moor in Yorkshire. That’s a pipe dream when you live in a place where you can literally fry an egg on the surface of the soil for about 5 months out of the year. But, just because you can’t skip through misty hillsides with a wry character named Dickon and an entourage of friendly woodland creatures doesn’t mean that gardening in a desert climate is an unworthy pursuit. Unlike the English Moorlands, we can grow food crops 365 days a year. Our soils, while alkaline, are very rich in trace minerals and micronutrients. Our dry air reduces the impact of fungal diseases that plague gardens in more humid parts of the country. And, we never have a shortage of sunshine. In fact, we have nearly 60% more UV light at our latitude then Northern gardens. In practical application, that means that you can grow full sun crops in partial or full shade. That adds up to lots of advantages.
All that said, I decided to start this video diary because while I feel encumbered at times by my compulsion to write, and rewrite, and rewrite…I’ll basically say the first thing that comes to my mind without that cumbersome verbal filter.
I was already talking to myself like this while I gardened…all I needed was a video camera. Can someone tell me why the neighbors always wave nervously and rush immediately into their house when I try to run across the street with some Borage to share?
I hope you will enjoy this journey with me and that you will be inspired to get out in your garden and try your hand at growing some food.
And, in the words of Adam Savage, star of the wildly popular show Mythbusters, “Failure is always an option!”