North Central News

How to grow fruit trees in the desert

The 18th Annual Urban Farm Fruit Tree Education Program is taking root in the Valley of the Sun. The kick-off to the fall program is 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, at the Uptown Farmers Market, 5757 N. Central Ave.

Greg Peterson, owner of The Urban Farm, shows off some of the fruit trees that can be planted in North Central Phoenix, despite the harsh desert climate (submitted photo).

Guest speakers will offer their expertise on fruit tree care and success at the free half-day event, hosted by The Urban Farm, a 1/3-acre home in North Central Phoenix owned by Greg Peterson, who has planted more than 70 fruit trees on his property. The Urban Farm offers education on the best techniques for successfully growing fruit trees in the desert, and then provides an opportunity to purchase “Urban Farm Approved” fruit trees that thrive in our climate.

This kick-off event features guest speakers offering their expertise on fruit tree care and success, including Peterson, who pulls on 40 years of experience growing fruit trees in the desert and is committed to sharing strategies that appeal to the lazy gardener. Discovering just what works and how to pick a perfect fruit tree for your yard can be perplexing. In this talk, Peterson will cover the most important things to know about growing fruit trees in the desert.

Other speakers include Rafael de Grenade will explain ways to create your own edible forest and how to “think like a forest,” including permaculture design strategies, multiple species/multiple layers and how to use edible forests as cultural memory preserves.

The Vegan Athlete, Jake Mace, will discuss how wood chips transformed his desert yard into a lush oasis with more than 200 fruit trees and plants.

The program continues throughout September, October and November with free webinars and live classes around the city, including: Three Ways to Kill Fruit Trees, on Sept. 28, and Growing Fruit Trees in Your Yard, on Oct. 12. Both programs take place 7-8:30 p.m. at the Duck and Decanter, 1651 E. Camelback Road. Pre-registration is required. For the full schedule, visit www.urbanfarm.org/Fruit-Tree-Program or follow them on Facebook at TheUrbanFarm.

Once people become familiar with the best fruit trees for their yard and lifestyle, The Urban Farm offers preorders for its selection of deciduous (like apples, peaches, apricots, plums, figs, grapes and berries) and citrus trees, including lemons, limes, oranges and more. The program offers special Early Bird bundle pricing through November. Preorder your fruit trees at store.urbanfarm.org. New trees will be available for pick-up in January and February—which is the best time of year to plant them.

The Urban Farm’s mission is to educate and inspire. “I have helped plant more than 15,000 fruit trees around the Valley, and I know we have thousands and thousands more to go,” says Peterson.

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