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  Fruit and Vegetable gardening in the desert southwest

Fruit and Vegetable Gardens

Growing your own fruits and vegetables can be fun and very rewarding. Unless you buy organic produce, the fruits and vegetables you purchase at the grocery store are loaded with herbicides, pesticides and sometimes coated with wax. The farmer's use herbicides to control the weeds in their fields and insecticides on the plants to control pests and diseases. People don't want to see a worm hole in their apple, no, they want it to be perfect.

If you grow your own fruits and vegetables you can control what goes on and in what you eat. Even if you live in an apartment, you can still grow your own fruit and vegetable plants in buckets, pots or whatever you have, as long as they are large enough for the plants roots to grow. Use a good potting soil when planting in containers.

When planting directly in the ground; it is good to add a mixture of peatmoss and cow manure. Cow manure is better than horse manure, just make sure the manure is well composted. If your soil is heavy clay, you might want to incorporate some sand to loosen it up. Check out Fertilizing in the Southwest or Organic Fertilizer for more info on fertilizers.

You don't have to buy plants, you can grow your own from seed. Tomatoes, peppers, artichokes and some others need to be started indoors, several weeks before it is warm enough to plant outside. Grow lights are great, or simply use a fluorescent bulb, but it must be extremely close to the plant to work. I have some four foot fluorescent light fixtures that I suspend only three or four inches above my seedlings and they do very well. Flourescent bulbs don't heat up like incandescent bulbs.

Fence off an area so the rabbits and neighborhood dogs won't destroy your garden. Incorporate or till in your soil amendments and make your rows or hills and plant some seeds! Keep the seeded areas moist and you should see little green shoots emerging in a few days. Wait till the weather has warmed up enough and there is are no more freeze warnings. If you plant your seeds too early and it is too cold, they may take much longer to germinate.

Potatoes, onions, radishes and other root crops are also very easy to grow in the home garden. Home grown corn and tomatoes just can't be beat!

You will also find that eating freshly picked fruits and vegetables actually taste better than store bought. Farmers have to pick their produce before it is totally ripe in order for it to stand up to processing and sitting in a grocery store for several days prior to being purchased. You can wait till your cantaloupe or tomatoes are fully ripe and at the peak of perfection before you pluck and eat them.

Please check out our page on Garden Tips for more interesting gardening information.



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