high desert az growing anything! lol

shar57March 16, 2013

hi all! ive not gardened for many years, and have moved from beautiful washington state, to desolate desert, duncan arizona, also known as Drunkan Duncan. you get the picture! lol
anyway we are at about 3900 ft, I want to grow some citrus trees, everyone says they dont grow here, BUT at about another 1000 ft higher, or more, there is ONE, just ONE, huge old grapefruit tree! big yummy juicy grapfruits.
it is the ONLY grapefruit, or citrus tree in the whole town of Clifton AZ.
even in safford az, about 1400 lower nonone grows them, its more of a pecan tree kind of place.
does anyone know what type of tree, or things i could do to get positive results?
I bought a little lemon tree (dwarf) today, with many fragrent blossoms on them. oh, and a necterine tree.
I would love to introuce some rasberry starts, and am thinking of having some blackberry starts shipped to me from a friendin washington state?
any ideas?
i just cant get any local info or find much online either!
any info would be appreciated.
I have hated this move here, its been 6 yrs, and Ive been fighting it, kicking and screaming, we are here for my dear husbands arthritis.
its of town of about 600 people, and 1/2 of them are in the local bars, living up to the town name of drunkin duncan.lol
nothing to do here, Im trying to find something to do that i love, and wont be a waste of time and money.
The nearest town is 100 miles round trip.
so i cant buy anything here in town, we have 2 gas stations, old joes, hildas meat market, and 3 bars.
thats IT!!
please HELP!!!! lololo
thank you
march 15 2013

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You may want to look up Penny Livingstons permaculture garden in New Mexico. That may give you some ideas......

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 6:43AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I bet you can grow stone fruits like cherries, plums, apples, peaches and things that require chill hours. Citrus will grow, but the fruit dries inside (juice goes away) if the weather drops to freezing. You could try potting your citrus, then bringing it inside during winter months.

I think your blueberries should do great! There are a few figs that will do well too! Hardy Chicago is one. Figs love heat in summer, but only the hardiest will survive snow in winter.

Don't forget wine grapes! You can make wine for all your drunken friends!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 9:38AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

You can get those drunks to build you a high tunnel. I'd worry about late spring freezes/frost...but i can't find much on your climate (i do see you have a high school)...

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 11:05AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


That's not a very grower friendly looking climate. Worse than here at 4500ft and we have spring freeze injury most years. Things in Duncan are going to be pushed into bloom by warm spring days and then get frozen at night.

My suggestions for fruiting plants would be jujube, pomegranate, and possibly persimmon. You could grow stone fruit but without a shelter February to April freezes would get you most years

If there is a grapefruit in Clifton (3500ft elev) it must be up on a hillside. Hillsides or terraces above the valley are the best spots in AZ. At night cold air drains to the low spots.

Below is a comparison of Jerome AZ to Duncan. Jerome sets on a mountain at about 5200ft elev over in central AZ. Jerome is colder day and night all year long due to higher elevation. But check out the record lows. Jerome has a two month longer growing season because of it's superb air drainage

Personally I'd get out of a drunken town in AZ ASAP. Or at least never drive at night. Rural NM and AZ have a bad drinking issue.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ducan vs Jerome AZ climate

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 1:48PM
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Santa Fe is full of apricots. Try those?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 2:36PM
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I think you're going in the wrong direction by trying for citrus, which is certainly marginal in your climate. Instead, just focus on what you can grow:
- pomegranates
- figs
- jujube
- prickly pears
- Myrtillocactus fruit
- persimmon
- olive (in warm microclimate)
- carob (in warm microclimate)
- strawberry tree
- dates (possibly)
- pistachio
- pecan
- blackberry
- grapes

You obviously are not fond of the area in which you live, but when it comes to growing, I think it is better than you might think (as long as you have the water, and spend time building a good soil). Your Sunset zone, 10, is shared by places such as Albuquerque, NM, which grows superb fruit of many types, as well as areas near Tucson and Phoenix. The following are grown commercially in various parts of Sunset Zone 10 that I am aware of:
- pomegranate
- Asian persimmon
- pistachio
- pecan
- wine grapes
- apples
- peaches
- plums
- cherries
- pears
- apricots

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 4:09PM
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I beg to differ here about Duncan, AZ. NOT everyone drinks, I lived there for years and miss the place. It is small town, laid back, and high school sports are big. Gardens grow well there, we had a great one, pecan trees, bartlet pears, apricots, some peaches. Apples. No citrus. It is too high in elevation, wrong soil. They also have some pretty early frost dates. If you want fruit, especially like peaches, pears, and apricots, you will have to protect the blooms from frost in the spring. I live in Safford, now, and I grew some great gardens in Duncan, better than here. Only SOME of the residents hang out at the bars. You were just not in the right crowd. And it is Less than 80 miles round trip to Safford. Safford has shopping, Walmart, Home Depot and grocery stores. If you like a small laid back agricultural town, Duncan has it all. Otherwise go back to the city. Wish I lived back there in Duncan!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:42PM
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Oh, just a Post Script here, Cherries do not do well there, wrong soil, berries don't either. Mulberry does well, but bugs get in the fruit easily. Nut trees do well also. Grapes do well if grown right. I am sure you can find something to grow! Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:46PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

shar, Google ~ arizona.edu horticulture "high deserts -maricopa ~ just to see what they offer. There seems to be a lot of info there. Include the -marcopa will result in more of the first page of results being closer to home.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 4:04PM
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You could just take up drinking.... :)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 5:13AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

There is a tree, more of a vegetable-tree, that grows in zone 10! Drought friendly, wind friendly, and packed with so many nutrients, you will never have to take a vitamin again!

This tree is Moringa Oleifera. I got 45 seeds on Ebay, and I am almost in zone 10. Out of 9 planted, I got six to germinate in ground.

This tree is a giant! Google it. Google Miracle Tree or Moringa. You will find that it might be the only tree you need. 7 x the vitamin C in an orange!! And the list goes on.

It's ok with wind and little water. It will die back in a freeze, but it will grow back triple in spring when the weather heats up!

Good luck! We are a team!


    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 5:18PM
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Your best bet for citrus in Duncan would be a changsha mandarin on trifoliate rootstock or a yuzo lemon planted in a sheltered location or maybe on a south facing hill. There are several citrus trees in Clifton and there used to be an avocado tree until February 2011 killed it. The cold air must drain out of there.

Good luck

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 11:26PM
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