An Update on my Gourds

As most of my readers know about six months ago I started to dry some gourds that I had grown in the fall. This process took about four-five months in totality and I followed the simple directions I listed in my post about Arizona Gourds.

Following the drying process I tried leaving some of my gourds as is, giving them a natural look, while I painted others different colors, in this case I chose the color green because it went with the decor in my home. Finally, I tried lacquering them as well to give them a shiny look.  My personal favorite was the lacquered style but see for yourself!

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Urban Farms in the Summer

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As the summer months approach, I finally fall back into my blogs. Although this blog has been ignored for a few months Fear Not! I hope to be back with a more constant stream of information for my readers!

During the summer it’s harder to keep your urban garden alive, especially in places like Arizona where temperatures can hit as high as 120 degrees. This makes it difficult to keep plants healthy and unfortunately, any live stock or poultry you may have. There are a few things you can do to help take care of your urban garden.

1. WATER, WATER AND MORE WATER…. make sure to provide your garden, live stock or poultry plenty of water. A good way to keep poultry and livestock cool wet down the ground where these animal are housed. As a general rule of thumb I water down that area about twice a day and water my garden around three times a day, if possible.

2. SHADE…make sure your livestock and poultry have shade for the hottest parts of the day. Shade can create an area that is around ten degrees cooler than areas that are in direct sunlight.

3. MONITOR…make sure you continue to check up on your urban farmer, if you see signs of heat stress on your plants, livestock or poultry take action, continue to give them lots of water and contact a veterinarian if signs get worse.

Arizona Gourds

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Gourds grown in my garden

This year, my garden has been a little bit behind on it’s growing cycle. Instead of receiving pumpkins and gourds in October and November around Halloween and Thanksgiving, we had gourds popup in December right before Christmas.

We had so many different size and shaped gourds that we decided to pick them and learn how to dry them out for crafting and decoration.

According to wikiHow there a several ways to dry gourds:

Method 1 of 5: Drying Gourds in the Field

Method 2 of 5: Drying Gourds off the Vine

Method 3 of 5: Hanging Gourds to Dry

Method 4 of 5: Greenscaping Gourds

Method 5 of 5: Cleaning Gourds after They are Dried

for more detailed information about these methods visit the wikiHow page about drying gourds.

Have a happy New Year!

Urban Farming in a Dorm Room: Part 2

In an earlier post I gave you some ways to participate in urban farming, if you live in a dorm room or an apartment. Urban farming in a door room is not hard and in order to prove it to you I am going to give you some examples of people who have participated in urban farming in someway in a dorm setting. Emily Lierle is a student at Arizona State University and she urban farms in her dorm room because she fell in love with agricultural farming over the summer. Lierle worked in Williston, North Dakota, an oil boom town, at the North Dakota State University Williston Research Extension Center as what she calls a “machinery girl”, which she says is basically a farmer.

Photo curtsy Emily Lierle

Photo curtsy Emily Lierle

She says that the research center takes “different varieties of plants and testing them out and tell farmers, that this is the best yield of corn variety.” She says that she got to work out in the fields some days and even planted potatoes and helped harvest some plants. Lierle says she enjoyed the experience and got to meet lots of people that she grew close with “It was just really nice cause like I’m usually in the concrete jungle, Phoenix, and I got to be out in nature.” She enjoyed everything being more laid back and being able to go out into a field and just be alone enjoying nature.

Emily Lierle

Lierle participating in the harvesting of potatoes
Photo curtsy of Emily Lierle

To reminder her of her summer experience Lierle has a few plants in her room. “I worked a lot with plants this summer and I was inspired to keep something in my room. I really wanted to keep basil but I can’t just eat basil” says Lierle.  “This summer I just learned how to take care of plants.” She learned how to care for different kinds of plants and likes they way they liven up the room. Lierle is now thinking about getting her Masters in Agriculture because of her experience over the summer.

Emily's Plants

Lierle’s Plants

Emily's Plants

Lierle’s Plants

Roommates Sarah Atchinson and Alex Scoville both participate in urban farming in their own ways, even though they live in a dorm. Atchinson has a few plants on her windowsill in her room and takes care of them because she enjoys it. “I like the idea of taking care of something other than myself, plus I think its nice to have some vegetation in a room, it adds a little color” she says.

Scoville regularly attends the Phoenix Public Market and says “Usually I go every Saturday, first of all it’s nice to wake up early in the morning and go grocery shopping, there’s a lot of people and music and lots of good smells.” She says one of her motivations for attending the farmers market is that she is supporting the local community by purchasing groceries and crafts there. She added that “there is something there for everyone.”

There are many ways to participate in urban farming when you live in a dorm room or apartment and these three women are only a few examples.