This week was spent doing many things so very different from my usual routine. It was spring break in this part of the country, and I had a week off from teaching. It was also a week of limited access to the internet community - our primary computer was being repaired. I've missed blogging, but the blogging life is not the center of my existence either.
I spent a lot of time in my little organic garden. Vegetable growing is one of my hobbies. The southern New Mexico climate (zone 9) permits the planting of summer crops earlier than most region. My readers from the cooler climes will be surprised to know that my tomatoes and peppers are planted and thriving. (Early Girl, Beefsteak, Heatwave, California Wonder and Big Jim chile peppers!) Today, if all goes well, I'll be planting green beans, yellow summer squash and zucchini.
I planted my spring crops in January - several varieties of lettuce, spinach, radishes, peas, potatoes (red potatoes from the store that had sprouted) and turnips. We are harvesting the lettuce now. The radishes should start bulbing out soon. The peas are not blooming yet and the turnips look healthy. I forgot to mention my red onions. They did not get planted until about a week ago, but I could not find good onion sets until then. (I still have some yellow onion sets to plant today as well!)
My little herb garden contains rosemary, spearmint (good thing it's in a contained raised bed), basil and coriander.
As my garden is fairly small, I use a modified version of Square Foot Gardening to maximize yield. Vegetable prices are high nowadays, and whatever I can do to help keep our food costs down and provide healthy food for my family is a bonus!
The biggest expense of gardening in the desert southwest is the cost of water. I like to use a lot of mulch to retain moisture in the garden, and I spot water my plants and use a soaker hose to target watering. How I wish we had a grey water system to recycle laundry, sink and bath/shower water! Such a system is high on my wish list if we were to move from here.
Interested in organic gardening? My favorite resources are the "Mother Earth News" and "Organic Gardening" magazines. Yes, yes, I'm a political conservative who reads "Mother Earth News"! I believe in responsible stewardship of our natural resources, and have NEVER believed the "Progressives" and "Liberals" have had a corner on the market of environmental responsibility!
There are two days left of this blessed spring break, and then I go back to the very busy life of teaching choir at one of our local schools. Large group festival is looming, as well as our spring concert and other opportunities for my honor choir to sing.