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How does your garden grow?

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By Virginia Betz

gardensAZThe desert gardener is a special breed – too much heat, too little rain, poor soil drainage and constant health advisories to stay indoors! Regardless, the irrepressible desire to look out a window and see something alive and green, or eat something they grew themselves, compels the home horticulturalist to flout the negatives and make a go of plant cultivation. 

Experts claim that desert gardening needn’t be an exercise in futility, but due diligence and the adoption of strategies proven efficacious in arid environments are essential. Fortunately, gardening is such a popular avocation in the Valley that there is an abundance of resources to assist anyone who wishes to establish or upgrade their gardening credentials.

Take a class!

There are gardening classes galore for every level of learner from beginner to pro; formats vary from two-hour workshops to multiple-week courses; and subjects range from growing kitchen herbs to planting an orchard. A single class can help you bypass the frequent disappointments (and costs!) of relying on the trial-and-error method. Here is just a sample of up-coming classes in some of the most reputable venues for gardening instruction in the Valley.  

Landscape for Life: Sponsored by the Desert Botanical Garden

When: Thursdays, April 18, 25, May 2, 9, 16; 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Where: Desert Botanical Garden 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix 85008

Cost: $169.00 (non-members); $135.00 (members)

This five-lesson course was developed by the United States Botanic Garden and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to guide homeowners in applying sustainable practices to the planning and maintenance of residential landscapes. Participants will work throughout the sessions with a base map of their own property.

Check out more classes at: dbg.org/shop/courses

Jump Start Your Garden: Sponsored by Root Phoenix, 

When: Saturday, April 27; 10:30-12 p.m.

Where: The Orchard Room, 7120 N. 12th St., Phoenix 85020

Cost: $ 15.00

The class is taught by green living expert and permaculture advocate, Greg Petersen, who brought the Urban Farm concept to Phoenix. This class focusses on the fundamental techniques for growing things in the desert.

For info on more classes and workshops: rootphoenix.com/classes

Hot Season Gardening: Sponsored by Southwest Gardener, 602-279-9510

When: Sunday, April 28; Noon

Where: 2809 N. 15th Ave., Phoenix 85007

Cost: $ 35.00

Local grower, Gregory Ware, advises participants how to maximize yields of vegetables and herbs during the hottest months of the year. Each participant will receive three starter plants from the instructor.

See other gardening and gardening-craft (such as “upcycling” and art gardening) classes at: southwestgardener.com

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