Believe it or not, plants with spines and “prickly” in their names aren’t the only green things that grow in the desert. Hearty gardens are possible in the Southwest, the climate of which can support many different types of vegetables, herbs, flowering plants, succulents and fruit trees. The University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences gives Timely Tips for Low Desert gardening during each month of the year. Flowers can be fragrant, fruit can flourish and vegetables can thrive in a desert garden that is carefully tended and well-watered during the summer months. The Arizona Republic stresses one of the most important AZ gardening tips is to know your seasons to plant the right thing at the right time and it offers an AZ Garden Guide for successful planting and maintenance of plants in the Valley.
Our own Chuck planted a very fruitful garden, the tomatoes and grapes from which we enjoy in the office. His rhubarb, bell peppers, jalapeños, squash, beets, carrots, onions, eggplants, strawberries and herbs are also flourishing from hard work, and perhaps a bit of a green thumb.
“Last Fall, my wife and I started to plan and build a new garden on our little acre which sits on a slope in New River (very rocky land). We spend most of our leisure time outside, around the house. After a lot of hard labor, mixing and pouring cement into several stages of forms, lumber, wire, a drainage system and finding a good source of garden soil we are finally enjoying the benefits.
It has been a true challenge as we have made a couple of adjustments throughout the process. First, we had to attach garden lattice to the roof and west sides to defuse the sun’s intensity. Second, we put in a ceiling-mounted irrigation quick coupler system with fittings every 6 feet. And finally, we had to attach 2 feet and ¼ inch mesh wire at the bottom in hopes of keeping some persistent critters that were smaller than the stucco wire fence openings out. Next year, we are going to have to build our own design of tomato cages as we never thought our tomatoes would grow over 6 feet tall. Even my wife is surprised at the results as of today and is going to harvest her first eggplant this coming weekend, which I hope she enjoys, but I think I’ll pass.”