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Jul 1 / Jeff

Can you really garden in 110+ degree heat?

Yes you can.

It’s not easy, but it can be done. The most important thing to remember is: water.

I have found that a drip irrigation system is the most efficient. Not only are you using less water overall, the plants are actually get more water in the critical root zone, compared to hand-watering or using a sprinkler/bubbler system, which simply floods the garden. Drip irrigation is actually quite easy to install, too. Most hardware and nurseries sell kits which include everything you need to put together a basic system, including everything from the timer to the drippers themselves. Spend a few hours during the weekend and reap the rewards of a lush garden down the road.

But also more important is ensuring the plants get established and get used to the extreme heat. In other words, don’t bother starting┬áplants from seed in the middle of July. The seedlings will be stressed and they won’t develop properly. Make sure you have the summer plants in place sometime around April/May so they can grow deep root systems and plenty of foliage to withstand the intense sunlight and high temperatures.

Don’t forget the fertilizer. Plants get hungry too. I recommend organic fertilizers, which are less prone to burning the plant. They also improve the overall health of the soil by increasing microbial activity, which in turn aids the plant in nutrient uptake. Some of the brands I prefer include Fox Farm, Happy Frog, and E.B. Stone. It is true that organic fertilizers do not provide immediate results like chemical fertilizers (such as Miracle-Gro), but if you think long term, organic is the only way to go.

Soon you will be seeing this every few days:

In fact, with just 8 tomato plants, I have been eating plenty of salsa, marinara, and salads for the past month. And I have been giving them away to friends and family. Considering the fact that organic tomatoes run about $1.50-$3.00 per pound at the local supermarket, my garden has already paid for itself. So why not start your own garden today?

8 Comments

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  1. Kari / Sep 1 2010

    Hi Jeff,

    Your site is great!

    I live in a very hot place in Mexico and always wandered if I could grow my own vegetables and fruits. I guess if you can do it in Arizona, it can be done here too.

    Cheers!

    • Jeff / Sep 19 2010

      Hi Kari,

      That’s right! If you can grow fruits and vegetables in Arizona, you can grow them anywhere. The key is to make sure the plants have a good soil and enough water, especially during the hot summer months.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

  2. Claudette / Jan 11 2013

    Do you mulch in the summer too? I was so proud of my okra last summer until I went to Agritopia and saw some real monster plants there. Then I realized how much better it could get, which made me wonder where I went wrong.

    • Jeff / Jan 11 2013

      Hi Claudette,
      Mulching in the summer is actually very important, since it helps the soil retain moisture. If you want monster plants, the key is to make your soil rich with compost and organic fertilizers. Then make sure they get plenty of water and sunlight.
      Happy Gardening!
      – Jeff

  3. Norma Jean Fitzsimmons / Apr 10 2017

    Want to start garden in Jan. Will be in Buckeye, Az in Oct planning thing out. Have a ton of questions. Regsrding wooden raised beds vs cinder block ones.

    • Jeff / Aug 2 2017

      Hi Norma Jean,
      Any material can be used to construct a raised bed garden. The most important thing is to ensure there is proper drainage to allow water to flow out, so don’t put anything at the bottom that would restrict that.
      Jeff

  4. Norma Jean Fitzsimmons / Apr 10 2017

    How to provide shade, wind and rain protection. Do you offer classes. Does anyone. Do you sell berry canes and or veggies. Be there in Oct. Hoping for info.

    • Jeff / Aug 2 2017

      Hi Norma Jean,
      Gardening is my fun hobby, but I do teach a few classes at the Desert Botanical Garden, specifically Summer Vegetable Gardening, Growing Grapes, and Growing Berries. I do sell blackberry and blueberry plants, as well as vegetable plants depending on the season. Spring is mostly tomatoes and peppers. Fall is mostly lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and other greens. I do operate a nursery business on the side and I will be at the Gilbert Farmers Market on Saturdays starting late-September going through the end of November.
      Jeff

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