Gardening in the Desert

I have learned so much about gardening here in our desert climate and I am so excited to share all that I know. We have been gardening here in this location for over 4 years.

I started gardening along side my Mom ever since I can remember. My family and my grandparents always had the most amazing gardens. I remember sitting in my grandparents garden and eating all the blackberries and admiring the biggest pumpkins I had ever seen. Of course both of my grandparents lived in Oregon. Everything grows there!

Here in Tucson, in the desert, it is a different story. Most people have one growing summer while we have 2 main seasons. A cool season and a warm season. Which really is so great, because we get to garden year round!

The cool season crops get started in Fall (October) and grow until it starts to heat up in late Spring (April). This is the season that I recommend getting started in if your gardening for the first time here in Tucson.

The warm season starts in Spring after last frost (Mid-March) and can go until our first frost (Can be as late as December) …… BUT, our Summer Heat is so brutal that this is where the season can come to an end quickly.

There is also a third season in Tucson, The Monsoon Season. Unfortunately I haven’t been successful at getting this season even off the ground. The heat and bugs of the summer gave my seedlings a hard time. I was more successful at keeping my original summer garden alive through the heat.

Each of these seasons have specific plants to grow. For example in the Cool Winter Season you grow all the lettuces, kale, carrots, snow peas and much more.

In the Warm Summer Season is when you grow the tomatoes, peppers, squashes, melons, corn and the list goes on …

The Link below will take you to an in-depth planting guide for growing through our desert seasons.

Desert Growing Guide

Planting the appropriate plants in the right season and planting the right varieties is a big deal to being successful!

Another thing that has helped me so much is deeply mulching the garden beds. In the link above, I share my favorite mulching material.

There are so many different ways to set up a garden too. From raised beds to sunken earthen beds and each have benefits and disadvantages. This is also shared in the link above.

I love gardening so much that I also help manage our elementary school garden and teach a youth garden class there.

I will share that cute little garden and all the fun things we do there!

In our home garden and in our school garden we also have dedicated a space for a butterfly garden!

We have been super successful at attracting the butterflies, specifically the monarchs. I will share the superstar plants that are the best at attracting them.

There is also a program that gives out tags and you can become a citizen scientist and tag the monarchs that land in your garden! I will link all that info here! The kids were ecstatic to be able to do this!

We have over 50 fruit and shade trees planted here! We use the principles of Permaculture to bring the trees and garden together to make a food forest.

I will take you through those principles and how we applied them here on our farm. I will also share with you all of our favorite varieties of fruit trees and berries and how amazing they have produced.

There were some we lost too, and trees are expensive, big lessons learned!

Desert Fruit Tree Guide

I’ve put all the best information I have found over the years into a lovely one page calendar below. I’m hoping you are able to right click on the photo and save it to your computer, so you can print it out! Please let me know if you have any trouble!

I have so much to share with you guys! Ask me questions below, so I know what to share next!