Conspiracy Gardens

In the summer of 2013, the Food Conspiracy Co-op installed a rainwater harvesting system, paid for with a grant from the City of Tucson. The system will feed an urban micro farm, located behind the Conspiracy Kitchen, at 425 E. Seventh St.

We’ll be documenting the farm’s growth here. Check back for regular updates.

    Fall Harvest

    Fall really is a lovely time to garden here in Tucson.  We had a few nights in the low 3o’s that scared us into getting out the row cover, but since then, we’ve been enjoying days in the mid 70’s and nights in the mid 40’s.  This fall we are growing spring mix, spinach, beets, carrots, green kale, purple kale, dino kale, red chard, bok choy, watermelon daikon radish, parsley, and dill.  We also still have some eggplant and peppers hanging on from summer.   Quantities are limited, but when available you can find our produce on the Conspiracy Kitchen salad bar in some of their prepared dishes, and on the produce department shelves.

     

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    Measuring and cutting pieces of row cover (frost protection).

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    Heirloom Chantenay carrots

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    Dino kale and baby bok choy.

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    Beet and carrot harvest.

     

    Water Harvesting and Native Tree Workshop

    As part of the co-op’s partnership with Desert Harvesters we hosted a workshop on November 1st in which local rainwater harvesting expert, Brad Lancaster, taught us how to harvest rainwater, air-conditioning condensate, and stormwater to irrigate native perennial food plants. 

    We learned how to use bunyips-simple water levels, and how to shape earthworks-landscaping features that direct and capture the flow of water. We also learned where to place trees to maximize summer shade and winter sun. Finally, we applied our knowledge by constructing the earthworks for and planting eight native trees at the entrance to our garden, alongside our kitchen’s walk in cooler, and between the staff parking lot and Hoff building.  They may be tiny now, but one day they will grow to provide glorious shade as well as edible pods. 

    We are grateful to Trees for Tucson whose team worked against a tight deadline and came through with eight great quality trees for us, 3 Velvet Mesquites, 2 Desert Ironwoods, 2 Foothills Palo Verde and 1 Blue Palo Verde.  When you are ready to plant in your own yard, Trees for Tucson is a great resource for low cost shade trees!

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    Today we got our first rain since the planting.  Look how the earthworks are directing and holding the rain right where the trees can use it!  It’s hard to see in the photos, but the basins are full of rainwater!IMG_0498IMG_0499IMG_0501IMG_0500

    Seed Saving with City High

    This past summer the co-op’s good neighbor, Noel Patterson, was kind enough to share with us some Tohono O’odham cowpea seed which he got from Native Seeds/SEARCH.  We used the cowpeas as a summer cover crop to add nitrogen and organic matter to our soil. While we turned most of the plants in before they produced pods, we left some… Read more »

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    Lucky Day!

    Check it out!  The rainbow ends at our rainwater harvesting cistern! Our very own 3300 gallon pot o’ gold! Tweet

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    Monsoon Magic

    Just when we start thinking we might not make it until fall, monsoons arrive to lift our spirits.  The summer rain has a way of making the garden grow like no amount of irrigation ever could.  Our summer cover crops are looking good and sunflowers are blooming.  The bees are happily buzzing in the flowering Thai… Read more »

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    Summer Harvests & Rabbits in the Garden!

    It’s time for summer harvests!  We’ve been getting decent harvests of squash, tomatoes, Anaheim and Serrano peppers, basil, eggplant, and flowers.  The sun has been taking a toll on the plants though, and we are thankful that the monsoons are arriving!    One morning a few weeks ago I turned on the irrigation to the… Read more »

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    Flowers!

    Our flowers are blooming!  There are sunflowers and cosmos. Bouquets are for sale in the store or just enjoy them as they grow when you pass by on 3rd avenue.  The bees certainly seem to be loving them, as am I!               The green bean plants are working their way up… Read more »

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    Today in the Garden

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    Water Harvesting and Fruit Trees

    For a hands on project, University of Arizona’s Water Harvesting Class volunteered to help us create the landscape on the South side of our lot where we planned to plant fruit trees.   Desert Survivors Nursery donated three fig trees from the Kino Heritage collection, two Sosa Carillo Black Mission and one Oro Blanco White.  We also purchased three Lisbon lemons, two Bearss… Read more »

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    Conspiracy Grown logo

    Behold, our new Conspiracy Grown logo. When you see this logo in the produce section, it means the fruit or vegetable in question was grown by us in our urban micro farm, which we’ve named Conspiracy Gardens. It doesn’t get any more local than this! Tweet

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    Conspiracy Gardens photos

    Here are some photos of Conspiracy Gardens Manager Sarah Schwob at work. The gardens are looking great! Thanks to our photographer, Mamta Popat. Tweet

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    Here we grow!

    In our continuing effort to provide the freshest, highest quality, most local produce possible, Food Conspiracy Co-op is very excited to be moving forward with the establishment of our urban micro farm.  The garden installation has begun!  So far, 20 of the 24 beds have been dug.  They are 3′ wide x 25′ long x 2’deep,… Read more »

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    Rainwater harvesting cistern installation photos

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    On Saturday, Aug. 3, volunteers helped with stage 1 of the Food Conspiracy Co-op’s cistern installation. The cistern will provide some of the water for our new urban micro farm. You can see photos from the installation here. Thanks to everyone who helped, especially the Watershed Management Group. Tweet

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