Vegetable Gardening 101 You can grow and harvest something fresh every month of the year in the low desert! People have been gardening and farming in the valley for more than 1000 years Whether you have 4 square feet, 40
square feet, or 40 acres, you can harvest fresh vegetables every month of the year here in the low desert! RESOURCES Desert Gardening for Beginners Az 1005, Vegetable Planting Calendar
Seed catalogues Maricopamastergardener.org phoenixpermaculture.org 6 Steps to harvesting homegrown fresh vegetables. 1. Select site 2. Decide how big to make the
garden 3. Prepare site 4. Select, plant, or sow your crops 5. Maintain the garden 6. Harvest!! 1. Decide where to put your garden: Vegetables need
6-8 hours of sun each day A reliable source of irrigation Vegetables need soil tilled about 18 inches deep The garden should be easy and inviting to get to Allow space for paths between planting areas Plan to reach the beds from both sides How big should it be?
Should fit where the conditions are best Should not be so big and so much work you get discouraged You can always add on ! Should allow you to grow what you want to grow and use! Build raised beds
Soil in raise beds is warmer in the winter Can be built to meet needs of challenged gardeners or challenged sites Remember, you should be able to reach the middle from both sides Use materials that fit your landscape and budget Or plant container gardens 3. Preparing the soil
Lay out planting beds Till and rake soil removing rocks and junk Add compost aim for native soil compost Add balanced fertilizer according to directions
Till the bed again and rake it level Install irrigation 3. SELECTING YOUR CROPS: Choose crops that will grow for each of our seasons. We have 3! Refer to AZ 1005 for planting dates ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/az1005.pdf
Or urbanfarm.org/Planting_Calendar.pdf Fit the crops to the garden Plant things you like to eat! Rotate your crops SOURCES OF SEEDS AND PLANTS Local independent nurseries Seed catalogues and internet sites
Friends Plant sales, garden clubs Big box retailers Shall I buy transplants or start seeds on my own? Transplants No guesswork you jump start the garden Give you a head start on plants that require a longer season than we have to produce: Limited to what you can find Not all things should be transplanted-so you may do both!
Plant these vegetables directly into the garden. Plants that grow from tubers, crowns, or cloves Potatoes, asparagus, garlic Plants that grow from big seeds Peas, beans, corn, squash, melons, cucumbers, pumpkin Root crops: Beets, carrots, parsnips, radishes, turnips
Some vegetables need a head start. Buy transplants or start your own 8 weeks ahead of planting time Spring planted, long season crops: Peppers, Eggplants, Tomatoes, Sweet potatoes Fall planted
long season or perennial crops: Brussels sprouts Artichokes Starting seeds in the garden.
Work the soil, making it friable Soil should feel as moist as a wrung out sponge Use a string and sticks to layout straight rows Label each row! Make a shallow planting trench along string Plant seed according to package directions! Do not plant deeper than suggested Follow spacing instructions
Firm soil gently over seed rows to insure good seed soil contact When all rows are planted, water carefully with soft pressure to insure enough moisture to initiate growth Check daily and irrigate as necessary to keep soil moist a dry seed is a dead seed Planting transplants
Prepare soil: it should be moist and friable. Remove transplant gently from container, handling by the crown and roots. Do not damage the stem, this is how the plant transports the energy from photosynthesis to the roots for storage and growth! Set the plant into soil so the transplant is at the same depth as the garden soil, do not sink it into a well! Firm soil gently around the plant, water. 4. Maintaining your garden
Irrigating Fertilizing Mulching Weeding Pest control Weather protections Irrigating your garden
Select a timer you are comfortable using adjust it as seasons change Use ground-level systems to reduce evaporation Use temporary sprinklers to irrigate newly seeded area or
Hand water newly seeded areas and transplants Keep a watering can handy for spot watering Arizona has great soil for gardening!!! Our soils are rich in 19 of the 20 nutrients necessary to grow vegetables Balanced fertilizer incorporated during soil prep is often enough to go a season. This can be achieved
with good compost. Fertilize only when plants show reduced vigor or nutrient deficiencies, or are described as heavy feeders Nitrogen, the missing link Arizona soils are consistently low in nitrogen Vegetables need only a little nitrogen to grow and produce. Too much produces lush, too healthy, non productive plants,
but they are beautiful plants! Nitrogen is very volatileis in the air, adds to rain, water dissolves the solid form, can leach it away, left in open bags or exposed on the soil it can evaporate More garden maintenance Keep paths mulched to reduce weeds Pull weeds while small before they flower and seed, add to compost pile Weeds are hosts for many unwelcome
pests, compete for water and nutrients Use mulch to reduce evaporation, maintain even soil temperatures, reduce weeds and protect crops from insects in garden beds, especially in summer aim for at least 6 inches in the summer Pest control: know your enemy! Not all insects are bad! Use the least toxic control methods first: cultural
and mechanical before resorting to toxic products Killing the bad guys also kills the good guys! Most plants can sustain some damage and still produce a great crop Learn to recognize the difference between pest damage and disease [biotic] From other problems [a-biotic]. These include
Salt, wind-burn and sunscald Frost damage Over/under watering Nutritional deficiencies Make a compost pile, turn and irrigate it Plant flowers to invite pollinators to visit
Visit the garden frequently Build fences, or cages to keep rodents out Use hardware cloth to line raised beds to deter gophers Season extenders Use frost cloth, remay, old sheets and light blankets to protect plants from
frost Make a structure from pvc, 2x2 or other material to support the protection Never use sheet plastic, it does not work Use shade cloth to protect tomatoes from bugs, and keep fruit from sun burning Use row covers to keep caterpillars and other insects off crops 5. Harvesting your crops
Pick produce young and often to keep new ones growing Use the information on the seed packet to project about when to expect to harvest Experiment with new recipes to use successful harvests in new ways Thin and eat row crops like lettuce, and other greens, radishes, mustards, carrots Use succession planting to extend harvest
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