gardening in Arizona

A Guide To Vegetable Gardening in Arizona

5 minutes, 15 seconds Read

Gardening comes with various health benefits. You can enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables every year. However, gardening in Arizona comes with various challenges.

Lower elevation regions in Arizona have warm temperatures almost throughout the year. But with proper knowledge, you can grow various vegetables in Arizona.

Challenges Of Vegetable Gardening In Arizona

gardening in Arizona
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1. Heat

The temperature in Arizona goes to double digits on summer days. Some plants cannot tolerate full sunlight and will die. Some plants will lie in the dormant stage on summer days till humidity returns in July.

2. Low Humidity

Certain plants, like cactus succulents, can grow in low humidity. However, there are various plants that require moisture in the air to survive and grow properly.

3. Clay Soil

You will mostly find clay soil in most of the backyards in Arizona. Desert plants can thrive well in this type of soil.

But the soil is highly alkaline and dont have much organic matter. It can be a problem for other plants. Most vegetable-growing plants thrive well in acidic soil rich in organic matter.

Well, you can get rid of the solution by mixing compost or by adding garden soil from a local nursery store.

4. Caliche

If you are gardening vegetables in Southern Arizona, you may have a problem with caliche. It is a shallow layer of soil where the soil particles are cemented with each other by calcium carbonate.

If the soil in your backyard has too much caliche, the soil’s pH level will be raised. Additionally, it prevents the plants from absorbing iron from the soil. Caliche even causes poor drainage problems.

I will recommend removing as much caliche as possible while digging soil for the plants.

How To Do Vegetable Gardening In Arizona Successfully?

gardening in Arizona
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You can grow a beautiful vegetable garden even in Arizona. But you have to follow the various tips listed below.

1. Select The Good Location In Your Garden

Most vegetable-growing plants require atleast 6 hours of sunlight to grow. Fortunately, Arizona has an abundance of sunlight for growing various crops. However, the intensity of sunlight will vary over the day.

  • The morning sun is absolutely good for the plants. The rays of the sun are cool and strong. But afternoon sun rays are harsh on most of your vegetable plants.
  • You need to take a look over your backyard. If you find any space in your yard that gets morning sunlight, then it’s good to plant vegetable-growing plants there.
  • But if your yard receives afternoon sunlight, you must provide shade for the plants.
  • There must be a water source near your garden.

2. Use Good Soil

The native soil in Phoenix City Ar, Arizona, may be good for some desert plants. But it is not suitable for the growth of vegetables.

The growing season in Arizona is quite short. The plant needs to sprout, mature, and produce fruits in a very short time.

Hence, you can use a soil combination of compost, coconut coir, and peat moss for proper plant growth. Continuous addition of compost in the soil will help improve its fertility.

Most gardeners prefer raised beds for growing vegetables. This is because they have complete control over soil conditions. You can prepare a mix of gardening soil and compost for the healthy growth of vegetables.

3. Plants Vegetables In Right Time

Spring and fall are the main times to plant vegetables, mainly in Phoenix City, Arizona.

You can plant cool-season vegetables in the fall, i.e., in mid-September, especially if you are staying in Phoenix City, Arizona. Some cool-season vegetables include carrots, radishes, turnips, peas, spinach, kale, and artichokes.

You can plant warm-season crops in February. It includes pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, and eggplants.

4. Take Advantage Of Microclimates

You will have some areas that are warmer or cooler compared to other areas in garden.

You can take advantage of these areas to grow various vegetables in your garden.

You need even to learn the sun tolerance capacity of different plants. For example, growing plants on the north slope can help avoid harsh summer sunlight.

5. Water Your Plant

Plants require the proper amount of water to thrive. Overwatering or underwatering can cause damage to your plants. Plants can become stressed or susceptible to pests because of inconsistent water.

I am discussing the tips below for watering your plants in Arizona.

  • You need to spend atleast one hour in your garden daily. It will help you to understand the plant’s water requirements.
  • Your plant will require more water in hot summer days or windy and dry climates.
  • If you are growing plants in raised beds, then water the plants every day on hot summer days. You can give water to plants 1-2 times a week in other seasons.
  • You need to water deep enough to moisten the roots of the plant.
  • Wilted leaves on your plant do not always indicate that the plant is thirsty and needs water. You need to do a soil test. Insert your finger several inches inside the soil. If your hand comes out completely dry, you must water your plant.
  • You must always provide water on the roots, not the plant’s leaves.

6. Provide mulch

You must add a mulch layer on the soil where you grow vegetables. Adding mulch has various benefits. I have listed it below.

  • Weeds can reduce nutrients in the soil. But adding mulch prevents the weeds from growing.
  • Mulch can help to preserve moisture in the soil.
  • A thick mulch layer can prevent the roots from frost damage.

7. Avoids Pests

Certain pests like spider mites and white flies can damage your vegetables. Your plant can have certain diseases like powdery mildew, stunting its growth. I recommend using organic pesticides or fungicides to grow the plant properly.


You must analyze the growth requirements for cultivating vegetables in Arizona. I will suggest you plant vegetables in raised beds.

Mix half the garden and half the artificial soil to fill the raised beds. This mix will help to drain out excess water and optimize the growth of the roots.

You can even utilize pots with good drainage holes for planting vegetables. Crops like tomatoes and peppers can grow properly in containers.

Additionally, you need to use shade clothes and structures while planting vegetables. They will help your plants avoid harsh sunlight and reduce soil temperature.

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