Visiting Singh Farms

Singh Farms, organic farming, urban farming

Entry to Singh Farms

I recently spent some time visiting family in the Phoenix area and had a chance to visit Singh Farms. You wouldn’t associate the Sonoran desert with the vision of a lush, green, organic oasis in the center of an urban area, but Singh Farms is a 20 acre organic farm shaded by mature mesquite trees just off of one of the Valley’s busiest freeway intersections. There was produce growing everywhere with a log cabin market stand, chicken coop, small eating area, and garden lined walking paths.

They sell a variety of fresh produce, eggs, fruits, amazing breads, and wonderful organic compost. Besides selling to high-end chefs in the Valley, they are open to the public on Saturday mornings. Singh Farms also offers a variety of gardening, composting and cooking classes. I was sorry I had just missed a class on baking with Mesquite flour. Talk about a ‘secret garden’; this is one of the best kept secrets in the Valley and a showplace for what can be done in the desert without chemicals! If you happen to live in the greater Phoenix area, this is well worth the drive and a chance to support eating locally.  

Singh Farms, urban farming

Singh Farms grape arbor with DS

Garden Plans

Gardener's Supply Company, raised beds, gardening

There are so many reasons why I think it is important for everyone to be growing at least some of their food. For one reason, it is a huge learning curve and I know it takes several seasons to start getting it right. For another, our health may depend on it given the growth in GMO use and the long shipping times it takes produce to show up in our stores.  I don’t like to focus on doom and gloom scenarios, but economically our bad weather patterns are causing crop shortages and for many already, their personal economics are causing hardships with their food budgets.

I have been trying to lay out a garden plan while waiting for the tractor work and have decided for me the easiest way to begin is based on the square foot model. So many choices to make; it seems like I am spinning my wheels trying to decide how many of what can go in how much space and which should be grouped together. I have all the information, but it is a time factor now to get ready for a fall garden. I am so glad I found a free, online garden planner from the Gardener’s Supply Company. They have pre-planned raised beds in many different designs, from a Fun for Kids bed to herbs to High Yield to Salad Bar and others. They also have a Design Your Own feature where you can lay out your beds with the crops you want to grow and the site will populate each of your square foot grids with the right amount of that crop. A Growing Guide is included with more links to all you would ever want to know about any particular vegetable. It works for me!  Check it out here!

Oh, and in case you need to know your gardening zone, the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map can be found here.

Vote for GMO Free

Ok, I’ve heard more news on the GMO front that I feel compelled to share. Many consumers are lulled into a false sense of security about their food supply when doing their typical grocery shopping. Others are aware of genetically modified organisms (GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) foods but don’t fully understand what that means for their own body.  When Monsanto started inserting viruses and bacteria into crops it was not disclosed that the DNA inserted into GMOs can transfer to bacteria in the environment and also into our own intestines.  Now, most corn and soybeans are genetically engineered and this is manufactured into the majority of our foods.  There is also GE salmon, alfalfa, sugar beets and the list is growing.

Studies have shown a close association between GMOs and plant disease, infertility, miscarriages, organ damage and high infant mortality in animals.  This includes farm livestock and our pets.  When animals are changed to a non-GMO feed, their health improves.  NOW new studies have shown how GMOs may alter organ function in humans.  If this isn’t a call for growing your own garden and shopping organically, I don’t know what else would convince you.

What would it take for food companies to eliminate all GMO ingredients? I remember when Europe banned all GMO foods about ten years ago due to consumer demands. In the U.S., mainstream media is reporting more and more on GMOs and food safety.  Jeffrey Smith, GMO expert, believes it would only take 5% of consumers avoiding GM brands to start the non-GMO avalanche.

Did you know they want to introduce a new GMO that can tolerate the 2, 4-D chemical – a main component of Agent Orange?  Will you be part of the 5% and vote no to GMOs with your shopping habits?

Please watch and share the video below to understand the need for shopping and eating non-engineered foods.

 

This post has been linked to Homestead Revival Barn Hop  

Til We Meet Again

This post has been lying heavy on my heart. I didn’t know if I could, or should, share the loss of Pup, beloved German Shepard and constant companion.  The void these past weeks has been so great and the grief so deep that even walking the property has been impossible. It is only now that I can walk alone without seeing the tip of his tail bounding over the brush as he chased rabbits, sitting without his presence quietly watching the sunset missing his beautiful brown eyes that seemed to see into the core of my being.

He was 12 years old when the decision had to be made that no pet owner ever wants to make.  For some time I had been thinking about taking his portrait with my new camera, but never actually got around to doing it. The thought came and went many times, but I didn’t feel the urgency. And just like that, there was no more time, it was too late. A quietly raging cancer took him before there was time to catch a breath. I cannot believe that I didn’t listen to my internal urgings and take his portrait. I know that little constant thoughts floating across my mind need to be paid attention to, but I forgot my intention and disregarded them.  I wish I could say it won’t happen again, but ……

I have loved many dogs and cats over the years, but there was a special heart connection with Pup, almost a physical feeling in my heart center. So I know it isn’t goodbye, but it is only ‘til we meet again’.

Making Plans

I hadn’t realized how much is involved in planning the infrastructure of a homestead. The desire for a simple chicken coop and raised bed garden leads to questions about the best placement on the property for these areas. Where should they be in relation to each other? And to future outbuilding plans? Which fencing will be the best in keeping out rabbits and dogs? The lack of water leads to discussion on the best layout for new water lines to be trenched and this becomes the first priority.

The coop order is on hold while my chickens are feathering out at a friend’s place. Tractor work needs to be hired to trench lines now and what about electricity to the coop while the tractor work is being done?  I can hear old negative thoughts creeping in, telling me I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and I really don’t know what I’m doing and how young do I think I am anyway? Fear based thoughts create indecision and I have sat on the fence long enough.  It’s time to see the vision again and tell myself new thoughts – frequently. I know to make a real change in positive thinking and create a new mindset; the new thoughts need to greatly outnumber the negative.  So this is my intention, to put forth the positive thoughts every hour or so and then watch the changes happen to clear the way for ground breaking this property.

“This means that what man images, sooner or later externalizes in his affairs.”  Florence Scovel Shinn