You can garden for fruits and vegetables in the Arizona desert. Gardening like this requires that you relearn some new ways of thinking. Many snowbirds who move to Arizona think the habits, calendars and expectations of their Midwest gardening experience will carry over into their new desert home. What are some things you need to think about?
1. Dedication to your garden is still required. You’ll still need to think about daily activities, watering, care and maintenance. This is a habit you will want to keep. Gardening should give you a sense of peace and accomplishment as you get to enjoy the fruit (literally) of your labor. Keep your daily focus.
2. Learn all you can. The soil types in the Arizona desert are different than anything you have encountered before. The rain patterns are different. Yes, it rains in the deserts of Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa and Goodyear. Attach yourself to a local community garden or garden club that can help you with good advice. There are “Master Gardeners” in Arizona who have actually studied the desert garden and are a rich source of information. Seek them out. Look for some good blogs such as gardeninghoe.com
3. Your calendar is about the change. Just because you always planted specific plants at certain calendar dates in the past does not mean you’ll be doing that out in the desert climates. The calendar shifts and the calendar shifts even within regions of state of Arizona. So, learn the right times to put each plant in the ground.
4. Try new things. Your favorite plants may or may not grow well in Arizona. Be ready to try new plants, new flavors, new varieties. On the other hand, you might be surprised at how many hybrids of plants have now been developed for the desert. Explore your options and eat some new things.