My Life In The Garden
I had a tiny vegetable garden in back of my row house in Philadelphia when I was in grade school. My mother, Jenny helped me with it. I remember growing radishes, tomatoes, maybe lettuce – mostly from seed. I also had flowers: zinnias, asters, marigolds. I remembering looking through many issues of the Burpee seed catalog, always dreaming that one day I’d have enough space for a real garden.
I didn’t get to do that until 1973, when I settled outside of Tucson near the mouth of Esperero Canyon in the Catalina Mountains. My land there was pure Sonoran desert, with lots of saguaros, chollas, ocotillos, mesquite and palo verde. I had to excavate an area not far from my house, truck in decent soil, and protect the area from everything that wanted to eat what I grew. I learned that winter gardening in the desert is much easier than trying to grow vegetables in the summer heat. I was able to grow and harvest broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and peas and sneak in some tomatoes before it got too hot.
The first really large garden I had was at the X9 Ranch near Vail, Arizona. The old ranch house where I lived in from 1994-2010 was in a flood plain, with the best soil I’ve ever found in southern Arizona – rock-free silt that needed irrigation and lots of organic matter. I had a 40 x 40 foot plot that had to be completely fenced and bird-proofed. I also had to dig down and line the bottom with wire netting to keep out pocket gophers. I was able to produce a lot of food there, and I experimented with many varieties of vegetables. Again mostly in winter, as I was away in British Columbia most summers, but I got a great harvest of Tahitian squash (a huge, sweet winter squash – my favorite) that was ready when I returned in the fall. I grow mostly from seeds, and I love experimenting!
Some images from Dr. Weil’s gardens:
- Summer Garden in British Columbia
- Flowers In My Summer Garden
- My Organic Garden In Tucson, Arizona
- Flowers In The Desert
More information and videos for curious gardeners and beginners:
- What To Grow
- How To Make Healthy Soil
- Beginning A Garden
- The Benefits Of Gardening
- Natural Pest Repellents
Dr. Weil answers your gardening-related questions:
- Growing Vegetables: Hydroponic Or Organic?
- The Three Sisters: A Native American, Dynamic Gardening Method
- Should I Keep Cats Out Of My Veggie Garden?