At Upward Projects we love to see our staff thrive both professionally and personally. For this series we’ve teamed up with some of our talented staff members to learn a new skill.
Gardening in Arizona is truly unique because you can grow fresh produce year-round. Many of our staff members take advantage of the beautiful Arizona weather and grow lush gardens at home. Olivia Girard and I talked about how she gardens and she shared some insight about how to start your own home garden.
First and foremost, you should make mistakes! The only way to truly learn what will and will not work in your garden is through trial and error; so don’t be afraid to take chances.
When starting a garden, the most important part is your soil. Olivia recommends digging out 1 ft. of dirt then replacing it with compost and bit of the original dirt. Her tool of choice is a digging fork, which also helps with proper drainage in this tough Arizona soil.
If you’re planting from seeds, water them from above. Olivia uses her hose to give the seeds a healthy drink of water so they can sprout and grow. If you’re planting with starter plants from your local nursery, it’s best to water them using bubblers to avoid leaf damage. If you’re using starter plants, Olivia recommends watering them very well to avoid root shock.
Another great tip Olivia shared with us was to plant a mixed garden. You want to encourage nature to interact with your garden (bugs can be good!) so plant flowers with your produce. If you find that the bugs are eating your garden, mix a bit of soap with water and spray the plants liberally.
Feeling lost? Need help? The people at your local nursery are full of knowledge and are enthusiastic about helping you grow the best garden possible. Again, don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes! It’s extremely rewarding to grow and eat your own produce.