Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gardening in the desert.

Living as I do in the Foothills of Yuma, AZ I find it interesting that the Yuma area, especially in the lower levels along what was once the river bed of the Colorado River before five dams were built, is a main source of vegetables in the winter and spring. When we came here in the winters we always planted flowers in our RV space which was on the banks of the river and were pleased with the beautiful little garden we had with almost no effort. When we bought a house we came to the Foothills area, about ten miles east of the town and really a suburb of the town. My husband and I landscaped with a style called xeriscape, using native materials that require very little water. We removed the inappropriate trees that were actually dying of sunburn, leaving one large laurel tree that Yumans call Ficus trees, and ten palm trees.
We went on the road again in 2005 and leased our house to a couple from New Jersey, who after two years became homesick and left. We decided to move back into our home. We have tried gardening, planting melons and strawberries but our advanced age made it difficult to maintain and the resident doves ate the fruit as fast as it came on the plants. My husband died in the fall of 2009 and my son and grandson moved into my house with me. My grandson kept the yard neat and the pond my husband had created free of algae, but he was working and didn't have time to do any landscaping.
When he was laid off his job, (the unemployment rate in Yuma County is 12.5%) he got interested in planting a garden. He began with landscaping plants around the pond, then created flower beds, built a grape arbor and planted grapes. He became interested in the growing and nurturing of grapes and found that roses planted near grape vines attracted insects that would otherwise feed on grapevines. So roses were added. Then for further insect control marigolds were added and chives. Early in the year he planted a variety of flowers and shrubs in beds he created. This was a young man, raised with his sister by a single father, who had always lived in apartments. He has now become an avid gardener, searching horticultural sites on the internet for information and isnpiration. So far we have besides the grapes and flowers, watermelons, canteloupe, strawberries, blackberry vines, corn and sunflowers. We are eagerly watching the new leaf growth on the grapevines (we planed three Thompson Seedless and one Red Flame) and monitoring the strawberries and melons as they begin to grow. We now have two resident cats which should solve our problem with the voracious doves.

1 comment:

denurd said...

Your grandson is an industrious young man – I’m sure things will turn around for him when the economy gets better (soon I hope). Is the son the one who is a Vietnam vet?