Pop up Nursery

More from this show

Greg Peterson from the Urban Farm will talk about the fruit tree pop-up nursery events he’s holding January through March. Thousands of trees are set to arrive in Phoenix and are ripe for picking.
Peterson empowers people to plant their own trees by offering educational classes both online and in-person, as well as events to promote fruit trees and vegetable seeds. The Urban Farm’s mission is to educate and inspire. The transition from gardener to farmer is an easy one…simply share what you have grown with others: both the fruits of your labor and the knowledge about what you did.

TED SIMONS: CITRUS HAS BEEN A BIG PART OF ARIZONA'S AGRICULTURAL HISTORY, AND FRUIT TREES ARE A STAPLE IN MANY NEIGHBORHOODS AND BACKYARDS. BUT HOW BEST TO PLANT AND NURTURE CITRUS TREES? FOR THE ANSWER, WE TURN TO GREG PETERSON OF THE URBAN FARM. WELCOME TO "ARIZONA HORIZON." WHAT IS THE URBAN FARM?
GREG PETERSON: THE URBAN FARM, IT'S MY HOME. I LIVE IN PHOENIX. IT'S A THIRD OF AN ACRE. I HAVE FRUIT TREES PLANTED ON THE PROPERTY, 80 OF THEM.
TED SIMONS: YOU DO POP UP NURSERY EVENTS. WHAT ARE THOSE?
GREG PETERSON: ABOUT 17 YEARS AGO I STARTED EDUCATING PEOPLE ABOUT FRUIT TREES. IN THIS FALL EVERY YEAR, THEY TAKE FREE FRUIT TREE CLASSES AND THEY CAN PREPURCHASE TREES. IN JANUARY, FEBRUARY, MARCH WE DO A POP UP NURSERY, BRING IN THE TREES THEY PURCHASED. THEY CAN GET THEM, LEARN THE NUTRIENTS TO PUT ON THEM AND PLANT THEM.
TED SIMONS: LET'S START WITH THE LESSONS. HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT KIND OF FRUIT TREE TO SELECT?
GREG PETERSON: WELL, THERE IS A LOT ABOUT THAT. FIRST OF ALL, CIRTUS IS ONE OF THE FIVE SEEDS IN ARIZONA.. CITRUS GROWS WELL HERE YOU PICK WHAT YOU LOVE. MY FAVORITE, NAVAL ORANGES. THEY ARE RIPE RIGHT NOW.
TED SIMONS: I HEARD NAVAL ORANGES ARE TOUGH TO GROW.
GREG PETERSON: NOT AT ALL.
GREG PETERSON: PIECE OF CAKE.
TED SIMONS: WHAT ABOUT COMPARED TO JUICE ORANGES?
GREG PETERSON: ARIZONA JUICE ORANGES ARE SIMPLE BUT NAVAL ORANGES ARE NOT THAT FAR BEHIND. IT'S HOW YOU PLANT THEM AND NURTURE THEM ALONG THE WAY.
TED SIMONS: SO AS FAR AS WHAT WORKS BEST IN ARIZONA, THE ANSWER IS EVERYTHING?
GREG PETERSON: KIND OF. WITH CITRUS, EVERYTHING. DECIDUOUS TREES LOSE LEAVES IN THE WINTER, APPLES, APRICOTS, PEACHES, POMEGRANATES, FIGS, THEY ALL DO GREAT HERE DEPENDING ON THE VARIETY, SO FOR THOSE, DECIDUOUS TREES YOU NEED SOMETHING LOW CHILL.
TED SIMONS: WE ARE NOT GETTING MUCH CHILL THIS WINTER AT ALL.
GREG PETERSON: THAT IS THE CASE. LOW CHILL, WE GET 300 HOURS OF CHILL HERE IN THE VALLEY OF THE SUN. AND THERE ARE PLENTY OF ALL OF THE VARIETIES I NAMED THAT DO GREAT HERE. MY FAVORITE PEACH IS A DESERT GOLD PEACH. IT RIPENS MID MAY. ONCE YOU EAT A DESERT GOLD PEACH OFF OF A RIPE TREE, YOU CAN'T EAT A STORE BOUGHT PEACH ANYMORE. YOU PICK THE RIGHT VARIETY OF WHAT YOU WANT TO GROW.
TED SIMONS: YOU PICK THE RIGHT VARIETY AND YOU ARE LOOKING AT YOUR TREE…YOUR BOX TREE. NOW WHAT DO YOU DO?
GREG PETERSON: 80% OF SUCCESS WITH FRUIT TREES IS HOW YOU PLANT THEM.SO YOU WANT TO DIG A BIG HOLE THE BIGGER THE BETTER IN OUR DESERT SOILS. WHEN YOU PUT NUTRIENTS BACK, YOU ONLY PUT A LITTLE DESERT SOIL. USE AT LEAST 50% COMPOST. WE USE CALLED…MINERAL THAT BOOSTS THE GROWTH OF THE TREE. THEN THERE'S OTHER THINGS YOU CAN USE FOR LIFE IN THE SOIL. YOU GET THE TREE IN THE HOLE. NUTRIENTS MIXED NICELY AND YOU NEED TO AT LEAST PUT A SIX FOOT BASIN AROUND THE TREE AND ADD FOUR TO SIX INCH MULCH, WOODCHIPS AROUND THE TREE.
TED SIMONS: TO KEEP IT COOL.
GREG PETERSON: TO KEEP IT COOL AND TO START BUILDING… GROWING THE SOIL HEALTHY. I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE A BASIN AROUND THE TREE AND WOODCHIPS AROUND THE BASIN.
TED SIMONS: SO AS FAR AS SUN AND SHADE, THIS IS ARIZONA.
GREG PETERSON: IF YOU GIVE THEM WESTERN SHADE UNTIL THEY GROW OUT AND SHADE THEMSELF, YOU'RE GOLDEN.
TED SIMONS: SO WATERING.
GREG PETERSON: GLAD YOU ASKED.
TED SIMONS: FLOOD IRRIGATION LOTS ARE LUCKY. EVEN IN THE WINTERTIME, YOU ARE NOT SURE WHAT TO DO. IF YOU DON'T HAVE FLOOD IRRIGATION, HOW MUCH DO YOU WATER THESE THINGS?
GREG PETERSON: I TAKE A CLUE FROM THE FLOOR IRRIGATION…ONCE IN A MONTH IN THE SUMMER AND TWICE A MONTH IN THE WINTER AND THE FRUIT TREES DO GREAT. IN THE BASIN, YOU WANT TO STICK A HOSE OR BUBBLER. YOU WANT BUBBLERS NOT DRIP IRRIGATION. THE QUICKEST WAY TO KILL YOUR TREE, PUT THEM ON A DRIP IRRIGATION LINE.
TED SIMONS: WHY?
GREG PETERSON: BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT GETTING ENOUGH WATER. THEY GET A GALLON OF WATER EVERY MONTH OR TWO, THAT KILLS YOUR TREE. SECOND QUICKEST WAY TO KILL THEM, PUT THEM IN A GRAVEL MULCH. THAT'S A SOLAR OVEN OUT THERE. RAKE BACK THE GRAVEL AND PUT THE GRASS IN PLACE. YOUR BERMUDA GRASS CAN OUT COMPETE YOUR TREE SO PUT THE GRAVEL IN THE BASIN AND LET NATURE DO THE WORK.
THIS HAS WORKED SO FAR FOR ME…I HAVE A LOT OF TREES IN MY YARD BUT WHAT ABOUT VALENTINE'S DAY, MEMORIAL DAY, LABOR DAY.
GREG PETERSON: BEAUTIFUL. HAVE YOU BEEN LISTENING TO ME?
TED SIMONS: NO, I GOT THAT A LONG TIME AGO.
THREE TIMES A YEAR DURING THOSE AREAS.
GREG PETERSON: YES. WE LIKE TO ADD A FOURTH ONE IN. VALENTINE'S DAY, TAX DAY, LABOR DAY, MEMORIAL DAY.
TED SIMONS: HIT 'EM HARD IN THE SPRING THEN
GREG PETERSON: WHERE THEY ARE GROWING. AND USE A GOOD ORGANIC FERTILIZER.
TED SIMONS: THAT WAS MY NEXT QUESTION, FERTILIZER. HOW DO YOU DO THAT?
GREG PETERSON: THERE IS CITRUS FERTILIZER. IT'S NITROGEN GENERALLY. IT GETS YOU A LOT OF GROWTH, DOES NOT GET YOU A LOT OF FRUIT. I LIKE TO USE ORGANIC FERTILIZER. WE SELL 50-POUND BAGS MADE IN THE VALLEY AT OUR POP UP NURSERY. I PUT ABOUT A POUND PER TREE PER SESSION. SOFOUR POUNDS A YEAR.
TED SIMONS: HOW LONG, BECAUSE AGAIN, I HAVE EXPERIENCE HERE. HOW LONG BEFORE THE CUTE LITTLE TREE BECOMES SOMETHING THAT CONSISTENTLY GIVES YOU MORE THAN AN ORANGE OR TWO?
GREG PETERSON: THREE YEARS.
TED SIMONS: YOU ARE RIGHT.
GREG PETERSON: IMAGINE THAT.
GREG PETERSON: IT'S ALMOST LIKE CLOCK WORK FOR OUR TREES.
TED SIMONS: I CHARTED IT. I CHART HOW MUCH. AFTER THE FIRST COUPLE OF YEAR, NOTHING, ONE, ONE, NOTHING, THIRD YEAR, BLOOM. WHY IS THAT?
GREG PETERSON: WELL, THEY NEED TIME TO GET ESTABLISHED. YOU MIGHT GET IT SECOND YEAR, BUT THEY NEED TO BE ESTABLISHED. IF A FRUIT TREE IS SETTING FRUIT FIRST YEAR, IT'S CONCENTRATING ON SETTING FRUIT, NOT GROWING.
TED SIMONS: WHEN YOU HAVE THAT YOUNG TREE, LET IT CONCENTRATE ON BEING A TREE AND WHEN THE FRUIT HITS, ENJOY IT.
TED SIMONS: CAN YOU OVERWATER A FRUIT TREE?
GREG PETERSON: YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN. IF YOU ARE WATERING IN BETWEEN THREE DAYS…BASICALLY OVERWATERING AND UNDERWATERRING, IT'S THE SAME DAMAGE. OVERWATERING ROOTS ROT AWAY. THE ROORS ON UNDERWATERRING, ROOTS DRY UP. SO THE TREE CAN NOT TAKE UP THE WATER.
TED SIMONS: INTERESTING. WHAT GOT YOU STARTED IN THIS?
GREG PETERSON: I THINK I WAS BORN WITH IT. BACK IN THE MID '70S, I GREW UP HERE. I HAVE BEEN HERE 50 YEARS THIS YEAR. I'M OLDER THAN THAT. I REMEMBER IN THE MID '70S WE MOVED INTO THE WELDON HOUSE. MY MOM SAID HEY GREG, THAT'S OUR YARD. GO START GARDENING. I PLANTED A FRUIT TREEE IN THE MID '70S. IT'S MY THING TO DO. THE FOOD SYSTEM IS STRUGGLING IN OUR CULTURE AND WE NEED TO CREATE GOOD, HEALTHY FOOD FOR OURSELVES. SO MY TASK IS TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO BETWEEN NOW AND WHEN I DIE MAKE PHOENIX A FOOD SECURE PLACE BY GROWING A LOT OR ALL OF OUR FOOD HERE.
TED SIMONS:AND THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN URBAN AND COMMERCIAL FARMING. GIVE US AN EXAMPLE.
GREG PETERSON: I HAVE A THIRD OF AN ACRE ON FLOOD WATER. MY FRIEND JAKE IN MESA NOT ON FLOOD WATER… HAS A THIRD OF AN ACRE NOT ON FLOOD WATER. HE HAS 200 FRUIT TREES ON HIS PROPERTY. WE ARE DESIGNING WITH URBAN FARM, AND WE'LL DO TOURS THIS SPRING, WE ARE DESIGNING WITH URBAN FAMRS, EDIBLE LANDSCAPES SO THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING TO EAT. IT'S A FOOD FOREST IN YOUR FRONT AND BACKYARD.
TED SIMONS: SOMETHING IS ALWAYS RIPENING AND READY TO GO.
GREG PETERSON: EXACTLY. 365 DAYS A YEAR WE CAN HARVEST A MEAL OUT OF THE URBAN FARM AND THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE OUT THERE DOING IT AS WELL.
GREG PETERSON: YOU HAVE ONE OF THEM HERE KIND OF DOING IT. I'M NOT WEARING OVERALLS OR ANYTHING.
TED SIMONS: HOW DO YOU FIND OUT MORE?
GREG PETERSON: URBAN FARM.ORG.
TED SIMONS: URBANFARM.ORG
TED SIMONS: GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
GREG PETERSON: YES…THANK YOU..
TED SIMONS: THURSDAY ON "ARIZONA HORIZON," WE HEAR FROM "DEMOCRATIC" STATE LEGISLATIVE LEADERS ABOUT THEIR PLANS FOR THE UPCOMING SESSION. AND WE'LL LOOK AT A LOCAL FASHION INCUBATOR AIMED AT HELPING START-UPS AND EXISTING FASHION DESIGNERS. THAT'S AT 5:30 AND 10:00, ON THE NEXT, "ARIZONA HORIZON." THAT IT'S FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.

Greg Peterson: CCO Urban Farm

Republican Legislative Leadership

Illustration of columns of a capitol building with text reading: Arizona PBS AZ Votes 2024
airs April 18

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates as part of ‘AZ Votes 2024’

Earth Day Challenge graphic with the Arizona PBS logo and an illustration of the earth

Help us meet the Earth Day Challenge!

Graphic for the AZPBS kids LEARN! Writing Contest with a child sitting in a chair writing on a table and text reading: The Ultimate Field Trip
May 12

Submit your entry for the 2024 Writing Contest

The Capital building with text reading: Circle on Circle: Robert Lowell's D.C.
May 2

An evening with ‘Poetry in America’

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: