All Sorts of AZ Questions... =)

ttazDecember 17, 2007


I started getting into vegetable and flower growing. I was growing indoors, and things have gone well so far, though I didn't realize how much space some of the varieties were going to consume. Naturally, it seems these will need to go into the greenhouse I have in the backyard (sadly unused to date).

I've bought a few southwest specific books and have skimmed through a bit, but I'm still a little unsure about a lot of this. I realize now is the idea season for our area, but I also want to plan ahead for the rest of the year correctly.

The greenhouse I have is of high quality and quite large with shelves and all, but covered with the greenhouse style plastic tarp material (clear with green criscrosses in it). Naturally I assume this would be an ideal place to put my container plants right now.

However, when it starts to heat up, does the greenhouse come out of the equation, or would it be advantageous to open air planting when it is vented? I have a solar powered evap cooler for it, but I don't think it would put much of a dent in the summer temps we have here.

Would a shade house be the option instead, or maybe somehow create a shade cover over the greenhouse?

I guess the bottom line is, can you grow vegetables out doors in Phoenix in the summer inside a shade house or a greenhouse covered in shadecloth house with a evap cooler, do I have to go indoors? I know it is hard to answer because I am not sure what temp I could get it lowered to yet until summer comes around, but maybe I am looking for a "you have a decent shot" or "no way in heck!" kind of answer to set me in the right direction. =)

Second... a have a section of yard, about 11 feet wide, 20 feet long with East/West exposure (walls of house and yard block north and south exposure). If memory serves, it gets some decent light in the summer, but not right now, so I'm thinking lower light plants. I'd like to plant a ascetically pleasing garden there. The biggest thing I would love to achieve, since the wall is rather short, is to create a privacy barrier between myself and the neighbor without adding block to the fence.

I'm thinking of shrub as opposed to a vine, since I'm not sure if a trellis raised over the fence would look goofy or not (not so much for me, but for the neighbor, and maybe the HOA). I'm not sure what types of shrubs would do well in the lower light and have the type of height I am looking for (8 - 10ft), and be able to be kept only a few feet deep at max to allow me room to plants other flowers and herbs there.

After I get nailed down, then I will start asking about what good low light herbs and flowers I should go with (feel free to throw them out now if anything pops in your head though, I'm taking notes).


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I guess why I am at it... I have two ficus trees in the back yard. Both got hammered last winter. One is of good size already, and though it took some time battle back, it's fine now. The littler one cam back too, but here it is a year later and it's even smaller than it was after the pruning when it got frost bitten. I wouldn't mind so much, but it's whomping 5ft is not doing it's job, which was going to be to block the fish bowl affect from a caddy corner neighbor with a two story home.

I'm ready to yank him and get something more "prolific" there.

Here are the concerns:
1) Needs good cover, height, spread... the "ideal" is something that gets about 25 - 40 ft tall and isn't terribly messy on the pool.
2) It is placed near a pool and a pool pump. The center of the planting site is about 15 feet away. That is the only place it can be put. I just want to make sure the new tree won't try to crack into my pool or pool plumbing. It will also be even close to a block wall, so surface roots would be of concern that are not disruptive to the fence.

Thanks guys and gals!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 9:27AM
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Replacing your struggling ficus is probably a good thing. They are notorious for having very agressive roots that will lift foundations of fences and heave sidewalks or pool decking.

Here is a link to information about plants that are appropriate near pools including trees. If you aren't familiar with some of the plants included in the list, pick up or request a FREE copy of Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert from your city's water conservation office. Some nurseries have this full color brochure as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pool Friendly Plants

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 10:30AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Yes, you can grow veggies in the greenhouse but you are going to have to cool it and shade it.

Swamp coolers are the correct cooling unit for greenhouses and you can buy shadecloth pretty cheap online. Check the greenhouse board here on Garden Web for sources.

You'll need fans too and vents.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 12:53AM
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Thanks for the replies...

Any thoughts on a appropriate bush/shrub that I described above?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 11:44PM
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