For our final featured garden of the 2012 outdoor growing season, we introduce Phoenix. It has been several years since this garden has been visited and weeds have overgrown the location. We even found a few young willow trees had begun to take up residence. As you may have guessed, we decided to call this site “Phoenix” because we expect to see it to rise from the proverbial ashes of neglect and abandon.
Location Location Location
Getting to the Phoenix garden is no small undertaking. Located high in the northern California hills, this installation is guarded by several locked gates and dozens of signs posting “Private Property”, and “Keep Out”. In some neighborhoods the abundance of these signs might suggest to a passerby that the owner has something to hide. Not in this neck of the woods. Up here every property is behind a locked gate. This is deep dope grower country, reminiscent of the way things were before the medicinal marijuana movement of the late 1990’s reformed cannabis law in California. We suspect this remote location pays for its inconvenience with security, tenfold. Even in nor cal where tons of people grow, ripoffs are unfortunately still pretty common. A night of mischief is a lot less work than half of a year working in the hot sun.
At the Phoenix location there is no well, spring, river or winter runoff collection system. Instead, under special arrangement, the grower has contracted a local company to deliver water by truck. Having negotiated these mountain roads ourselves, we have decided that water truck driver is a brave man. Luckily he doesn’t have to drive all the way to the garden.
The driver pumps the water into a 3500 gallon food grade plastic tank that sits high on a hill above the garden. Two inch poly water line delivers water down to the garden and the difference in elevation creates plenty of pressure to run the dosatrons and the drip system. So much pressure is created that pressure reducers are needed to keep the drip system from blowing apart.
In a manner much like our other featured gardens, Phoenix delivers water and nutrients throughout his garden through ¾” poly main line, ⅛” spaghetti, and 6.6 gallon per hour spray stakes. This configuration has proven to be reliable, cost efficient, and will offer a huge advantage over hand watering.
Beds and Soil
Most growers in this part of California prefer custom, bulk planting mixes available through several local landscape supply companies. It would be impossible for a 10 wheel dump truck to negotiate the unimproved roads, so Phoenix doesn’t see this as an option. Instead, he will be using a low cost bagged soil from Scotts to top off his holes, and amending it with several organic additives.
These additives should go a long way in improving the Scotts brand potting soil and delivering proper nutrition to Phoenix’s plants. It should be noted, using animal based amendments in the mountains can be risky, hopefully none of the local bears take an interest in this planting mix.
Phoenix has been vegging a great batch of Maui Wowie clones for this garden. At the time of planting they were already three to four feet tall and housed in 15 gallon containers. This really helps give Phoenix’s project a jump start on the year.
The Maui’s were caged immediately after transplant to help them stand up to the stiff winds that often blow through the area. It’s these same winds that allow Phoenix to grow a late finisher like Maui Wowie. The warm winds help dry the garden after autumn rains which helps keep humidity low and should help prevent botrytis. If all goes well, this should be another bumper crop.
Well folks, that concludes our first round of outdoor garden introductions for 2012. We will be checking back soon and have updates for you in a few weeks. If anyone has quick questions about the garden feel free to leave a comment. We will try to answer them as quickly as possible. For more involved questions or those not specific to this garden, please post your questions in our Forum. If you missed the first two outdoor gardens on display for 2012, check out the videos and articles about IR Ninja and Big Sluggers gardens.
Phoenix – Outdoor Garden Resurrection,