First Season

It’s been nearly one year since I moved from the East coast, fenced in an empty pasture and planted my first flower seeds in the low desert of Arizona. Here’s what have I learned:

  • If it’s green and not inside a fence, a bunny will devour it. Full stop.
  • Drip irrigation may take days to install and constantly evolve into a multi-zone production, but it’s worth it
  • Every inch of fenced garden space is gold. Fence as big a space as you can. You will use it all
  • Raised beds don’t have to be more than 6-8″ tall
  • Invest in the soil. Worm castings, natural fertilizer, and compost are your best friends
  • Plant hardy annuals in the fall for sooner, more robust blooms
  • Don’t waste time protecting plants from frost. This is zone 9b, if it’s going to make it here, it’s got to be tough
  • Don’t force plants. As sad as it is, 9b is no place for lilacs, peonies, or hydrangeas
  • Befriend your fellow flower farmers. They are not your competition, they are your allies, and you will grow together, I promise.
  • Sunflowers, sunflowers, sunflowers. Grow as many as possible. Then plant more.
  • Grow the greens. Don’t forget to focus on the fillers.
  • Start your seeds indoors. The birds will eat all the seeds you plant and the dry heat will parch the rest
  • Some flowers are not worth growing from seed (bells of Ireland, lizianthus, and snapdragons to name a few)
  • Even if you’re not a morning person, the Arizona spring sun will knock on your window by 6am, and come summer, 6am will be considered getting up late
  • Remember, this is suppose to be fun, but it will be physical hard work. Enjoy it!

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