tucson gardening

sffog(10/SanFran)November 7, 2009

my son moved to tucson and would love to start a vegetable garden at his new home but the ground is so hard and its so hot there i will help him build some raised beds, i was thinking of putting a trellis over the bed to block some of the hot sun, really need some sugestions/advice, i was thinking of filling the bed or beds with kelloggs outdoor potting soil, he wants tomatoes and basil, but need a growing season for tucson area, since it does get cold.

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Tucson is a great place for gardening. The trick is soil preparation, soil preparation and soil preparation. You will need to water the area you plan to use with a soaker hose or by letting water trickle slowly from a hose. Watering slowly allows the water to soak down deep into the soil instead of running off. Wait 3 - 5 days before trying to dig. No need to buy packaged soil - instead create your own by using 4 inches native soil, 4 inches compost or composted mulch and 4 inches sand (if you have heavy clay soil). Blend well with a shovel or rototiller.

Make sure your garden area gets at least 6 - 8 hours of sun. Shade cloth is handy when the weather gets hot next summer but for now you won't need it. Wait to plant tomatoes and basil until early next March - it gets too cold for them in the winter. You can plant things like lettuce, beets, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, carrots, peas, radishes, cabbage, and chard now.

The University of Arizona has a wealth of information available on gardening in Tucson and its FREE. They even have classes and a demonstration garden to give you ideas. The demo garden is located at the Pima County Extension office at 4210 N. Campbell Avenue. Call them at 520-626-5161 or visit on line at http://cals.arizona.edu/pima/

The next gardening class isn't until early next year on Wed, 01/06/2010 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Murphy-Wilmot Library, 320 S. Wilmot Rd., Tucson, AZ.

Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ten Steps to a Successful Vegetable Garden

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 12:50PM
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I keep reading about plant hardiness in Tucson, with plentiful disclaimers that say things like "only succeeds in warm parts of town" or 'Not suitable for cooler frost pockets"--things like that. Is there a map, or an approximate guide of some sort that will show me where these "cool pockets" and "warm areas" of the valley are? I've just bought a small house and would like a sense of what plants are worth investing in and which might fail in my location. I know elevation plays a part, and I know that this can be a moving target depending on weather, but does anyone have any suggestions? Are some neighborhoods commonly known as "warm" or "cold" areas? Thanks!!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 6:14PM
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This group/website is probably the most comprehensive for gardeners/growers in the Tucson area: http://www.tucsonorganicgardeners.org/. They also meet regularly about every month and hold other engagements. Many people also grow indoors for a good portion of the year, or do something like hydroponics or aquaponics. In that case visit: https://growershouse.com/tucsonhydroponics.html

Here is a link that might be useful: Growers House Hydroponics & Aquaponics Store

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 6:52PM
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