DON’T HANG UP YOUR GARDENING GLOVES! HOW TO GROW IN THE ARIZONA HEAT
Planting and harvesting may be the last tasks on your mind during our Arizona summers, but the heat doesn’t mean you have to hang up your gardening gloves for the season. There are tons of edible plants you can grow during the summer, whether it’s in the comfort of your own home or outside. Spice up your summer meals and keep your thumb green with these home-grown veggies and herbs!
INDOOR HERB GARDENS:
Having plants inside, including herbs, has many benefits like reducing levels of carbon dioxide and airborne dust. When purchasing plants and herbs to grow indoors, try to purchase ones that have already been growing inside to avoid any distress to the plant that might affect its growth and production. These herbs are the easiest to grow inside, and you will always have ingredients on-hand to add some extra flavor to your dishes.
Chives are one of the easiest items to grow indoors since they don’t require much light and grow quite quickly.
Peppermint and spearmint are known to grow like weeds. Plant them in their own container, as they spread quickly and can easily stifle other plants. Peppermint plants thrive in shade with a little light every day, so place your planter by a window with soft lighting. Once your plant is thriving, cool off with the recipe at the end of this blog!
Parsley can be used in tons of dishes, so it’s great to have your own parsley plant at home. It’s an ideal plant for indoor summer growing, as it requires little maintenance and likes low light. Keep in mind that this herb is a slow-grower, so it might take a couple of weeks to see results.
Oregano is also very easy to grow, but requires a little more light. Place your oregano plant by a window that will receive 6 to 8 hours of sun per day.
Thyme, just like oregano, requires 6 to 8 hours of light. Plant these two herbs together and you’ll have plenty of herbs for any meal in no time.
Make sure your pots or containers have adequate holes for drainage, since herbs can be prone to fungus. Adding small pebbles at the bottom of the pots will also create ventilation needed for successful growth. High quality soil that contains vermiculite or perlite helps keeps the soil moisture at ideal levels. Watering your herbs is important, but keep in mind that herbs don’t require as much water as regular house plants. If you see your leaves turn yellow, that could be a sign of overwatering. Try to allow the soil to dry before the next watering.
Most vegetables are divided into two categories: cool weather and warm weather. Warm weather vegetables do well in direct sunlight and heat, but don’t forget to water your plants to help them get through our prolonged periods of heat and dry conditions.
Urban living makes it challenging to have a garden, but if you have a small patio, consider having a planter outside. Pinterest is full of cute, cheap, and easy patio planter projects, so check it out for inspiration! Here are some vegetables that grow well in small containers outside:
Cherry and Bush Tomatoes
Keep in mind that these pants require 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day and grow best when protected from wind that could dry out their foliage. Organic fertilizer is also important for a successful harvest, especially when growing plants in containers. It provides nutrients the plant needs, as some nutrients end up getting washed from the soil. Also, many vegetables thrive in higher humidity so consider clustering the pots close together or adding grass clippings, straw or marsh hay to help retain moisture.
If you are dedicated to keep your outdoor garden going throughout the summer, there are many vegetables and fruits that can still thrive in dry conditions and high temperatures. Try planting these resilient crops in your summer garden:
Peppers (sweet and hot peppers)
Asparagus (one of the most cost-effective vegetables to plant. Plant it once, and it can produce spears for 15 - 20 years).
You can find many starter plants at your local farmers market, and be sure to ask the grower for tips. Remember that not all of these plants are fast-growers, so it might take some time to see the fruits of your labor. Be patient, and happy growing!