Archives for March 2015

Home Gardening In Arizona

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Kick Start Your Garden This Spring 

VegtablesArizona provides a great climate for gardening and getting started is easier than you might think. Whether you want a small salsa garden or a garden big enough to feed the family the same basic principals apply when you get started. To make your experience a memorable one we’ve put together a few helpful pointers to consider when getting started this year.

First You Need To Pick The Right Location:

Vegetables need sunlight and quality well-drained soil to avoid disease which could kill your entire crop.

Consider these factors before breaking ground:

  • Sunlight – Look for a shade-free or lightly shaded site. Vegetables need a minimum of six hours of sunshine a day. In Arizona we know that’s no problem but is there such a thing as too much sunlight? Yes some plants such as tomatoes and other vine vegetables can be affected by too much sun. A few signs of this are yellow spots may appear on their leaves and fruit; these areas can become thin and take on a white color as the plant tissue is being damaged. In extreme temperatures you may also see these plants drop flower buds and young fruit to increase their water retention.
  • Soil – How is the natural vegetation such as your grass? If your grass is healthy the soil will probably be good for vegetables, too. If you’re starting from scratch first check the pH of the soil to determine what type of gardening soil and fertilizer is needed. Many young gardeners make the mistake of simply picking up a bag of soil and planting right away. Though you will likely be alright with this approach you could also do more harm than good, plants need a proper balance to ensure healthy growth and produce quality vegetables.
  • Surroundings – Be careful when planting a garden around large trees and shrubs, the roots can suck nutrients away from your vegetables.
  • Proximity – When planning the location of your garden be sure to factor in where your water source is. No one wants to drag the hose across the yard twice a day. If you have the time and resources we suggest running a water line to your garden which makes watering a breeze.

TomatoesChoose What To Plant

Every climate offers different benefits for plants so it’s important to know what grows best in the Arizona heat and when you should plant. The University of Arizona provides a great Vegetable Planting Calendar for reference on what to plant and when to harvest. Here are three factors to keep in mind when you’re getting ready to plant:

  • Season – Plant your seeds at the right time to avoid damage from temperature extremes and adequate sunlight.
  • Depth – When planting it’s important to plant the seeds at the right depth. Planting your seeds to shallow can cause them to wash away or dry out, on the other side of that if you plant them too deep they may not sprout at all.
  • Adequate Spacing – Each plant needs adequate sunlight, nutrients and water. By planting seeds too close together your harvest may be smaller than expected.

Watering CanWater Wisely

For some plants sticking to a set schedule is fine, however when dealing with vegetable it’s important to monitor moisture content in the soil and take a moment to review the guidelines for each plant.

  • Frequent shallow watering – By watering less more often you promote root development in surface layers of the soil, making plants very susceptible to stress, damage, and weather extremes.
  • Do Not Over-water –  Plants and humans are very similar in this aspect, we can both drown. By over-watering your garden you leave little to no oxygen in the soil for the roots to breathe. In addition over-watering may cause fungus to begin to growing due to lack of oxygen and ventilation in the soil.
  • Postponing watering – As we previously mentioned sticking to a watering schedule may work for some plants but with vegetables if they look like they need watering, water them.

Have any other ideas on how to maintain a successful garden? Share with us below.

Fishing Safety

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Create A Safe Fishing Memory With Your Friends & Family

Fishing GearNo matter what season is winding down, the next season is just another reason to spend on the water in the boat with rod in hand. One of the best ways to enjoy boating and fishing in Arizona is to share the fun with others – especially your kids.

While expert anglers tend to know the ropes of both boating and fishing on local lakes such as Saguaro and Canyon lake, there are still many mishaps that can occur if the excursion is not well-planned and strategically executed. This is especially crucial when you have little ones along for the ride.

The next time you’re gearing up with your offspring to go after the ‘big one,’ make sure that it’s as enjoyable as you anticipate by considering the following guidelines.

  • Only if weather permits. Check the weather forecast in detail, using your favorite app, before you head out onto the water. In many climates, weather can change quickly and drastically, ushering in unexpected storms that could scare your children and put you all in harm’s way.
  • Dress yourself – and your little ones – for the adventure. Though it may seem obvious, it can get slippery out on the boat or the dock! Ensure stable footing for all by making sure you and your kids are wearing shoes that grip boat floors and slick rocks and docks.
  • Make safety a game. It’s important to be equipped with everything you need for safety and protection – from flashlights and sunscreen to plenty of water and life preservers – but you can also make it fun for the kids. For example, make them the keepers of the radio or the person who makes sure everyone is wearing a hat or sunglasses for protection from the sun.
  • Be vigilant about dangerous items. The sport of fishing is accompanied by some sharp items – hooks and knives to name just two. Make sure you have these items in a locked tackle box to ensure no one accidentally gets hurt.
  • Follow boating rules. Make sure your boat is in good standing by adhering to all the laws of the lough. To find these, research the body of water you’re going to be fishing on before you head out.

At CityScape Insurance, we hope your summer family fishing outings become lifetime memories!