“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, cook a meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly…specialization is for insects.” – Robert Heinlein

  Book Release 

Creating Microclimates for High Desert Gardens

Why Create Microclimates?

Where have you lived?  Midwest? Coast? Mountains? Desert?  What kinds of plants grow best in these regions?  Have you ever planted something that was not native to the area?

Although I have gardened in some fashion since childhood, it wasn’t until my job moved me across the country that I learned how the differences between climates, elevations, soil and terrain can affect plants.   As an aviation weather briefer and forecaster I have a lot of knowledge of weather in general.  When I started moved from Indiana to the High Desert I discovered that paying attention to weather variations and creating microclimates made a huge difference in garden productivity.

I’ve gardened in the Midwest, along a swampy coast, in the desert, and on top of a mountain foothill – in soils ranging from clay to sand to decomposing granite.  Plants that zing to life just by tossing seeds on the ground in Kansas may struggle into meager existence in Texas.  If you plan to grow cabbage, onions or carrots in Albuquerque, plant them in December for an April harvest.  Tomatoes do not like to be waterlogged in swampland, but Cannas love it.

High Desert gardening combines a dry climate with the effects of high altitude on plants and animals.  In any given high desert area you can have wildly varying climates within a 30 mile radius.  In the big scheme of things winds generally flow from west to east across the United States, but mountains can deflect that activity.  Most valleys will be colder and moister than the plains.

This chapbook teaches you how to look at common growing environments in high desert regions critically in order to offer your garden plants the best possible chance of successfully producing fruits, vegetables and flowers.  It also goes over how to find both historical and forecast weather patterns for your area.

Creating Microclimates for High Desert Gardens is currently available on Amazon.  For bulk orders contact solarranch@swcp.com.




Are you overrun with Zucchini?

Here are a couple recipes for Zucchini Fritters and Zucchini bread which can be cooked then frozen for use later in the year.   Click here.

Harvest Suggestions for Suburban Farmers

I live just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico on half an acre.  This is a convenient halfway point for anyone who longs for a touch of country self-sufficiency but who may have a need to be near a larger population base for some reason.

The property is large enough for me to have a 50×60 vegetable garden, fruit trees, a beehive and chickens.  I enjoy organic gardening, canning and otherwise processing the foods I eat to enjoy all year.  The problem is that my harvest extends for a long time, but I don’t always have the time to pull down my canner!

Commerical farmers plant large areas and harvest everything at once – at the time they feel their plants have most of the produce at a perfect state of ripeness.  Then everything gets trotted off for processing…..(for complete article click here).