February 21, 2011 | 8:00am
Anybody who's ever tried to grow anything in our desert soil is familiar with the green-thumbed frustrations of bulging water bills or running into caliche
while digging. Local blogger Jeffrey Ross gets it, and his blog,
Gardening on the Moon
, dishes helpful tips that are tailored to our desert environment.
For example, it might be necessary to cover your plants to protect them from freezing overnight (yes, even in Phoenix) during the winter. Ross explains the best way to do this, pointing out not only the best materials to use (frost cloth, sheets, towels), but what to avoid (burlap because it's too heavy, plastic because it can harm plants).
Ross also posts plenty of photos from his own garden and yard, which includes everything from olive trees and bottlebrush to a planter full of pansies.
If you dig weird plants, Ross posts about them, too. We had no idea something called a "Stinky Plant" even existed until we read this blog, nor that it could grow five feet high.
More than musing about desert gardening and critiquing landscaping at local businesses (did you know there was a hole in the frost cloth over the flowers at Desert Ridge Marketplace
?), Ross shares fun gardening stories on his blog, like one about the best music to play if you're breeding plants, and another about "bottle trees" (basically, trees with glass bottles on the ends of the branches).
Ross is such an enthusiast that he can't limit his gardening tips and tricks to Gardening on the Moon. He also gives daily updates from his Twitter account