Growing a Backyard Garden in the Desert: Part Two


desert garden

The planting phase has finally arrived. Huzzah! I thought I’d have it all set by March 1st, but Scottsdale went and had a weird second “winter” and the outside temperature wasn’t warm enough to plant. Now it’s mid-March, warmer, and that meant it was time to get to work. I had helpers, of course! My two little gardeners were happy to slip their hands into $3 Target kids gloves and get dirty. And no, I don’t normally garden in a skirt, but I had a tennis lesson that day and didn’t want to make more laundry! We started by introducing new soil into the pre-existing soil. Go here to see what soil I prefer to use. We also moved the gardening beds out eighteen inches because I wanted to create a walkway around them. As I mentioned in Part One, I use Smart Pots, but I had these raised beds from a previous attempt and decided to go with them. 

Elgin Nursery

We went to Elgin Nursery & Tree Farm to buy all the plants. I know, I know. It’s far. (86th Avenue and McDowell- don’t let the word avenue deter you. It only took forty-five minutes to get there.) In my experience, nurseries have healthier plants, and I’ll take whatever help I can get when it comes to making a garden successful. Elgin’s property is beautiful, clean, and the employees are knowledgeable and friendly. They have their own garden on property and it’s gorgeous. My kids loved being there too, as is evidenced by the silly grin on my daughter’s face.   

We got home from Elgin and got to work! I highly recommend picking up kid-size gardening tools. They’re perfect for little hands and keeps them away from your tools. In this picture I’m missing salad greens and cilantro. I’ll pick those up this week from Home Depot or Lowe’s. My landscaper installed a watering system, which I’ve never had before and I’m excited about. Fingers crossed this puts me one step closer to success! 

Next month when I report back for part three of the gardening series, I’ll talk more about maintenance and what that entails. For now, the garden doesn’t need more than water and sunshine. Below are some tips for planting time: 

  • When planting more than one tomato plant, put a different plant between them. Tomatoes are greedy and leech nutrients from the soil. They need their own space to get what they need without stealing from one another. 
  • Zucchini needs room to grow. It’s leaves will stretch and grow to a monstrous size, so I’ve given it a raised bed of it’s own. (The rust colored bed behind my daughter.) 
  • Before planting, be certain your soil is moist. 

I’ll be back next month with a report. Good luck to everyone who is planting alongside me!



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