Whether you're a seasoned gardener or still just testing the waters (or soils, as it were), you've probably discovered that gardeners & their approach to cultivation are as wonderfully diverse as the plants they tend and indeed, the folks themselves. What freedom and adventure our little patches of earth can offer us.
Welcome to this month's Garden Q & A, where locals dig-in and answer some of our questions...and show off their lovely gardens! Meet Pam and Jack, urban gardeners with a real yen for container gardening. Pam shares their experiences below.
1.) When did you first discover your green thumb?
In my late teens, I did really well with indoor plants. I still have one of them 40 years later. I also had a beautiful flower garden. I am trying to develop a green thumb outdoors now, I’ve tried several years with no real success. This year I’ve been successful with several different plants, and I am now determined. My husband has always had a green thumb in the back yard.
2.) What is your favorite time of year (season) to garden?
Spring for sure, the weather is perfect for a beginner.
3.) Biggest gardening success? Flop?
I would have to say my little herb garden and lemon cucumbers are doing great. I flopped big time with tomatoes last year!
4.) Do you grow from seed or starts?
So far I’ve grown most from seeds and my daughter has gifted us with some starts.
5.) Favorite recipe for your harvest?
I love using all the herbs in Chicken Rice Soup.
6.) What special challenges do you face gardening in the desert?
We tend to want to overwater, and need to learn more what/when/where to plant for our climate, and also to better establish the roots to conserve more water.
7.) What are you growing now? And what are you getting ready to plant?
I have all sorts of plants growing now, from Rosemary, Parsley, Sage, Oregano, Basil, Spearmint, Peppermint, Green Onions, Chives, Lemon Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Okra, Summer Squash, Chiltepin Peppers, Jalapenos, Red Pepper, Corn, Hopi Squash, Bird House Gourds, Sweet Potato Plants, Kale, Grape Vines. We also have a Lemon, Orange, Tangerine, Pomegranate, Kumquat, Moringa and over 20 Avocado Trees. We also have several varieties of Spider Plants, Creeping Charlie, Ornamental Garlic, Night Blooming Cactus, Rain Lilies, Jasmine, Hibiscus, Hearts and Flowers and a small cactus garden and other flowers. We are getting ready to plant Corn, Squash and Beans after reading your Monsoon Garden article about the Three Sisters. [Editor's note: to see if we have any of the seeds Pam mentions currently available in our Seed Library, simply search for the name of the plant, e.g. "chiltepin," in our catalog! See the Seed Library page for more details.]
8.) Planting dates, do you follow them religiously, or do you tempt fate and experiment with when to plant?
We are learning and trying to be more successful following the planting dates. Up until now we have experimented.
9.) Most indispensable garden tool?
The small garden shovel, it’s my favorite since most of our vegetables and flowers are in containers.
10.) What’s your favorite gardening book?
I’m still trying to figure that out. I need to ask some successful Tucsonan gardeners that question.
11.) If you were a plant, what plant would you be and why?
I would probably say I would be a Avocado Tree, since my husband seems to be obsessed with them, he is hoping they will start blooming and producing.
12.) Are you a seed saver?
We have saved seeds from our Okra and Peppers in the past for our own use. Now we have been planting seeds from the Lending Library and would love to get the plants to the stage to save seeds and give back. I need to learn more about how. [Editor's note: try looking in our Seed Library FAQs for more info on seed saving!]