Last weekend I enjoyed an afternoon as a volunteer at the Phoenix Permaculture Guild's Annual Fruit Tree Day. That's the day that valley residents gather to pick up their newly ordered fruit, nut, citrus trees and grapevines. These trees and vines are delivered bare-root, (except for the citrus) wrapped in burlap bags, ready to be planted. Participants have their trees pruned if necessary and are able to attend a mini-class on how to plant a fruit tree. Here's something to smile about, 1200 new fruit trees were ordered and will take root in properties across the valley! In just a few seasons, many families will reap the benefits of planting these slender little twigs that will one day explode with sweet, juicy fruit. If you missed this years event, join the Phoenix Permaculture Guild for updates on next years ordering dates.
Bare-root grapevines, ready for a new home.
If you'd still like to plant a deciduous fruit tree, January is the time. Bare-root varieties of peach, plum, apricots, apples and nectarines are available at local nurseries. These trees are shipped while dormant and need to be in the ground before spring weather awakens the buds, blossoms and foliage. Here's a list of the trees available at Baker Nursery here in the Phoenix area.
Here's what's left in the citrus pick-up area.
Pruning brings the fruit trees down to "backyard" size.
My husband and I have been gardening for many years, not so much for the food security, but for the beauty, satisfaction, and peace that gardening and growing things bring you. We started small, a couple of tomatoes, a few zucchini, and lots of flowers. It didn't really matter how much we harvested. We really didn't eat from our garden. We didn't know how. The lettuce was always a little bitter . The tomatoes always had holes in them and there was a Safeway just down the street. The important thing was that we were having fun. We loved working together with our children beside us. There is something comforting about watching your kids play in the dirt or happily run down the brick paths with nowhere to go. Our garden was the center of the earth ,we were firmly planted there and that was all that mattered. A couple of years ago, something important started to take place. A shift began to take shape, not only to us , but to our communities. The meaning of food began to change. Where the food came from, what was in it and how it nourishes us. Perhaps the connection between what we eat and how we feel finally began to set in. For us, it was time to get serious. It was time to eat from our garden.
" I am a mad gardener. I mutter and rant, and at night I shake dry seeds out of my unruly mane of hair. The garden is in my bones, in my gut, and in my hands. "
Wendy Johnson , Gardening at the Dragons Gate
Inch by inch, row by row Gonna make this garden grow Gonna mulch it deep and low Gonna make it furtile ground
Inch by inch, row by row Please bless these seeds I sow Please keep them safe below 'Till the rain comes tumbling down
Pullin' weeds and pickin' stones We are made of dreams and bones Need a place to call my own 'Cause the time is close at hand
Grain for grain, sun and rain Find my way in nature's chain Tune my body and my brain To the music of the land
Plant your rows straight and long Season them with prayer and song Mother Earth will make you strong If you give her love and care An old crow watches hungrily from his perch on younder tree In my garden I'm as free as that feathered bird up there