The emphasis this year overall is to increase yields and diversity. One of the ways I’m seeking that is by correcting soil pH. Most soils tend to be acidic, but unfortunately our city water is very hard and very basic (pH 8). That raises the garden beds to about 7 or 7-1/2. So this year am using coffee grounds and a commercial acidifier to lower that pH. Think one of the reasons I have problems with blossom end rot is because of the basic growing conditions. The plants need the acid to dissolve the calcium they need to prevent blossom end rot. So will be mulching with a mix of ground eggshelll and coffee grounds around the squash and tomatoes as a preventative. Have also put in water catchment to harvest rain water. This year was pretty good, not all years are. But any rainwater (acidic) I can get, the better.
In lieu of sunshades, have some containers hidden under the trees where they only get a few hours of direct sunlight, and lots of dappled lights. it also keeps the temps a little lower. On the left is a 4’ x 9” grow bag. some Kale that was planted last fall has come back, as have some onions that were planted there the previous winter. In the far left corner is some American Ginseng. The rest will be pole beans. On the right is a container with some lettuce doing well. The stuff in the main bed will be going to seed soon. By the time we’re done with that, this should be ready for harvest.
The three blueberry bushes I planted this year. Slow start, but they seem to be adapting well with new growth. There were flowers on them when I got the plants, and those flowers got fertilized, so they all are carrying some blueberries and don’t think I’ll see real growth until they’re past the fruit stage. Growing in the eastern grow area, morning and early afternoon sun, afternoon shade
split the rhubarb into two plants this spring. The one of the left is showing new growth already, but not the one on the right. Since these leaves have not all died out, will hope that it might yet stabilize and continue on. Next year they will be moved into larger grow bags, about this big in diameter, but twice as deep as these 10” deep pots.
When the label says full sun, it is not full AZ sun! This container gets over 12 hours of intense sunlight at this time of year. Since we are nearing a mile high, the UV is strong, plus we don’t have clouds or pollution to filter the light. This is a 50% sun shade. The container is a 3’ grow bag with two tomatoes, 5 pepper plants, and two marigolds. The screening around it is to keep critters out.
This is my 4’ growing container that I’ve been using for a few years, 18” deep. half planted with bush beans, the other half with some spring planted shallots. As you can see in the picture on the far right, someone has been eating my beans! Even with the fencing around and the shade cloth over! This area of the garden only gets about 7 hours of morning/early afternoon sun. Behind this container is another of the 3’ grow bags with tomatoes.
This bed is next to the big round grow bag on the southfacing edge of the property. its about 2’ wide and 22’ long, 18’ deep (all my in ground beds have fencing or pavers at the bottom to protect the veggies from the gophers and such). Because of its over 12 hours of sun, it also has a sun shade. Am growing zucchini, eggplant, basil, bush beans, and marigolds here.