How Does Your Garden Grow?
Desert gardens need careful planning before planting and information about wind, frost, and desert weather conditions in order to have a successful vegetable garden in desert areas.
© Bobbie Jean Peachey
Before You Plant
If you ground is harder than a rock or doesn't drain the way it should it's probably caliche and you will need to dig this out and replace it with good soil. Since the caliche could be several feet into the ground you would probably be better off to consider building a raised bed area for your garden.
Start Your Garden
Start cool loving plants in early enough so they can mature before the sweltering summer heat or freezing autumn nights. Cool loving vegetables would include lettuce, peas, peppers, radishes, cabbage, onions, herbs, and okra. If you don't have a crystal ball, then try the Vegetable Planting Calendar for Maricopa County planting guide.
The Phoenix Gardening Calendar is another planting guide you will want to browse if you plan to plant flowers as well as a vegetable garden.
Feed Your Garden
If you want your garden to grow you must feed it. Choose either an organic or a synthetic fertilizer. The Dirt Doctor has an article that might help you choose to use the organic or the synthetic fertilizer. Take care of your garden, give it what it needs when it needs it and the garden will provide an abundance of food for you.
Mulch Your Garden
Mulching is highly recommended for a vegetable garden. Put organic mulch around vegetable plants in the spring when the soil warms up to keep the soil moist, reduces watering, moderates the soil temperature, and helps prevent weeds from growing.
Shade It From the Hot Sun
Don't be afraid to provide a bit of covering and shade for any tomatoes you may have growing during the hot sweltering Arizona heat in the middle of the summer months. Try cloth or woven garden shades. Uncle Paul attached a board across the side of his home, then another board about 5 feet away on the block fence. The garden cloth is stretched across the entire garden in the heat of the summer and allows room to walk through the garden gathering the tomatoes and whatever else still producing.
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