by Blake Herzog
Spring is the most vibrant, transformational season of all as we steadily pull out of winter’s botanical doldrums and celebrate the re-emergence of every leaf and flower, bird and bee we’ve been missing.
But since we live in the hills and mountains of Arizona’s Central Highlands, we need to do a little transforming of the soil in our yards if we’re going to adapt them to something other than what nature has dropped in. You need to think ahead to attain the veggies, carefully planted hummingbird hangouts or that giant sunflower you’ve always wanted.
Getting Ready Early
Ideally, your prepping process began in January or February by cleaning out stray branches, weeds and other debris that’s not expected to add any helpful organic matter, making your first soil amendments and digging holes for any new trees you’re planning.
Preparing the Soil
At two weeks before you start planting it’s time to add a couple inches of mulch and manure (or compost) over the top of your garden beds, sprinkle in plant food and calcium or other nutrients, and turn the soil up to 10 inches deep so it can absorb these important additives.
Try not to disturb the aerating, fertility-building mixture during this period. Instead, this is a good time to make sure your garden tools are in working order or replaced and review your planned plantings for any needed adjustments.
Starting to Plant
In April, a Greater Prescott vegetable grower can start planting seedlings and transplants for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce and Swiss chard, according to www.almanac.com (descended from the Old Farmer’s Almanac).
Ornamental and pasture grasses should be planted in April, and this is also the time to seed your sod to your lawn. The spring florals you’ve already planted are likely blooming.
Finishing it Up
Getting into May, it’s getting time to plant anything else you may have been planning to as seedlings, including basil, bell peppers, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, oregano, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and watermelon. The almanac recommends growing a relative few all the way from seeds, as seen on the website. Enjoy!