The spring planting season has already come to pass, but Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community community gardener Jacob Butler has a few tips to help you maintain your garden as the weather is heating up.
• Make sure that you are thinning your plants. A lot of times we plant multiple seeds in the garden of a single plant in a single spot. In order for that plant to reach its full potential, you have to give it the space that it needs. You don’t want to pull them. You want to use your fingernail to clip the weaker plant out so you don’t shock and kill the stronger plant. With many plants, you can use the edible seedlings you pull as microgreens.
• If you haven’t planted yet, don’t fret. In Arizona, you can plant something every day of the year. Do some research to see when certain plants are in season to plant. One of the best resources that the Community Garden uses is the University of Arizona’s Cooperative Extension planting calendar, which you can find here: https://acis.cals.arizona.edu/docs/default-source/agricultural-ipm-documents/vegetable-ipm-updates/2018/az1005-2018.pdf
• When you’re planting corn, a lot of people only plant a row of corn. But the pollen in the tassels needs to fall in the silks of the corn cobs. If not, you have missing kernels. Corn is meant to be planted in groups. In your home garden, you want to plant corn in a square of many rows or in a cluster.
• Play with microclimates. Find places in your home or yard that will prolong the coming of the season or extend a season. It might be really hot outside, but if you’re on the north side of any structure, it’s going to be colder than the south side. You can get away with planting things out of season, like cooler weather plants. Use the east or south side of your house for full day exposure to the sun. You will want to avoid planting on the west side of your house because there is no morning sun, the most extreme sun exposure happens in the afternoon.