Starting a Vegetable Garden in Arizona
Arizona is known for its beautiful landscapes and lovely sunny days that make people want to spend time outside.
Growing a vegetable garden in an arid landscape has both upsides as well as challenges. Knowing how and when to plant your vegetables gives you the best prospects for a successful harvest.
Why Is Gardening In Arizona Different?
The Arizona climate places tremendous stress on plants. Low humidity combined with high summer temperatures can make it hard for some vegetables to thrive.
The benefit of all of that sunlight is that there are often two main growing seasons in areas that are below 3000 feet in elevation. It is also possible to combat some of the harsher weather conditions such as by providing shade and extra water to newly growing plants.
Understand the Growing Seasons
The two main growing seasons give you a great start on planning for a bountiful harvest. They also allow for you to pick the best season for specific plants.
The easiest way to figure out which plants will thrive during a growing season is to think of them as cool season versus warm season crops.
Cool-season crops include spinach, carrots and broccoli. These tend to tolerate the first frost better than other vegetables. They also do well when they are planted to mature during cooler weather.
Warm-season crops include cucumbers, beans and tomatoes. Certain warm-season crops, such as melons, need extra care to help them blossom in high temperatures.
Crops that are planted during the early spring and late winter months may need to be covered to protect them from frost.
The USDA plant hardiness zone map is an excellent resource for finding out when to plant specific fruits and vegetables in a garden. These zones are based upon the average minimum temperature that was tracked in specific zip codes.
Although you may still need to adjust your strategies during extreme seasons, it helps to give your garden a good start.
Check Out the Soil Conditions
Seeds can be planted directly into many lawns. First, check to find out what the soil conditions are before doing so since some landscapes are too sandy for vegetable seeds to grow.
Soil testing is an option that can help you figure out whether or not you need to fertilize or add other components to the soil for optimum growth. Many Phoenix gardeners choose to add compost and planting soil to increase the likelihood of a successful garden.
Consider a Raised Bed Container Garden
Raised bed gardens give you more control over the soil conditions. Container gardens offer the same benefit, but they also let you move the containers to adjust factors such as how much sunlight and rain the plants receive.
Beans, lettuce, radishes and kale are a few options that work well in container gardens.
Choose Seeds That Germinate Quickly
Hardy seeds that have a fast germination rate are more likely to get a chance to mature in the natural climate. Aim to get seeds that mature within about 60 days for the best chances that they will survive.
The work that you put into a vegetable garden is worth it when you are able to fill your table with fresh produce that you grew yourself. With a little planning, you can enjoy two wonderful harvests that fill your table throughout the year.