Friday, July 1, 2016

Here come the monsoons!

It looks like the monsoons are back on schedule here in Tucson. Which means we really need to get our monsoon gardens going to take advantage of all that glorious moisture falling out of the sky.

Last week we started on a kitchen garden in a planter box along the back of the house. It didn't really have anything growing in it, but there was some good soil there and it was right next to one of the downspouts from the roof. Problem was, the downspout was pointing the wrong direction and just dumping water on the sidewalk!

Off to Ace. Time to get some elbows and a straight section to get that water closer to the ground and headed in the right direction.

That's better! Now to start digging a catchment basin to plant our kitchen herbs and veggies in.

Woops! What's that? Huh...the earth ground for the house electrical system is staked out in the planter box! Weird.

Time to move the ground wire to the outside of the planter as best I can. The catchment basin should still fit inside of the loop...I hope.

That works. Now to resume digging.

Ugh. Now what? Ah, it's one of the old irrigation pipes that criss-cross the yard. I probably should just take it out, but it won't do any harm as long as I keep it below the slope of the basin. (The irrigation pipes were disconnected from the house mains long ago.)

The basin is done...finally! That was a more difficult job than it should have been!

Now to get some tasty kitchen plants in there. It looks like the Pima County Seed Library and Native Seeds/SEARCH are both recommending tomatoes, chilis, and basil for the upcoming monsoon season. After a quick stop by the library to check out some seeds, it's time to get them in the ground and make use of the rains.

First off, plant some tomatoes in the deeper end of the basin, since they prefer a bit more water than the others.

Next up the slope - some chilis.

Finally, broadcast an amaranth/basil seed mix we picked up at a seed saving event at The Loft Cinema last year in the shallow part of the basin. (We might plant some more basil with the tomatoes once they start, to try to keep hookworms away.)

Now for a little bit of mulch to hold the moisture in.

Just have to wait for a bit of rain... Wow! That didn't take long.

Stay tuned. We'll be posting updates here to let you know how things work out with our monsoon kitchen garden!

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