Plant a Fall Garden in Metro Phoenix: Here's What You Need and Where to Get It

Categories: Now Growing

Photo by Kate Crowley
Fall equals greens in Arizona.

Here's the thing. When it comes to gardening in Arizona, our climate differs so much from the rest of the country you can't rely on advice from someone in Ohio. You might find that your favorite seed catalog just doesn't offer what can be grown here in the fall during this time and you are going to be really stuck if you you rely on the chain stores to have what you need, as they generally carry things for cooler climates. So shop local for plants, seeds and supplies from folks who know what growing in Arizona is all about.

We've got some advice for you about what to plant, as well as our favorite nurseries and other resources in metro Phoenix.

See also: The Simple Farm Offers Classes For Growers and Backyard Farmers

What to plant? Here's a list of what you'll likely be able to find locally in either seeds, starter plants or plugs (like start plants, but smaller and cheaper, usually).

Photo by Kate Crowley.
A feed trough, perfect for a veggie garden, will set you back about $100.

Types of Spinach
Varieties of Celery
Leaf Lettuces
Bok Choy
Varieties of Kale
Swiss Chard
Tomato plants if you can protect them from frost
Herbs like Basil, sage, rosemary, mint, thyme, lavender, dill and parsley

Most of everything above can be planted now through the end of October, especially if you're starting a garden with starter plants. You can also plant stone fruit trees like peach or apricot and now is also a good time to plant citrus. Edible flowers can also be found this time of year.

If you're new to growing vegetables and herbs in Arizona, we highly recommend growing in containers or raised beds. Since soil is also tricky here, you can't just go dig up some for free (usually) and be sure to fertilize your growing soil and find some compost to mix in if you can. Singh Farms is a great place to get compost and soil-- especially if you have a truck or trailer at your disposal. Otherwise local nurseries will have what you need.

For starter plants, be sure to try Berridge Nursery, Baker's Nursery or Harper's Nursery are always good bets. Farmers market booths are another good resource, and convenient if you hit them for produce. "Sonoran Seasons" is a booth run by Desert Botanical Garden horticulturist Tracy Rhodes that sells Vilardi Gardens transplants exclusively. Sonoran Seasons can be found at Roadrunner Farmers Market and Central Farmer's Market on Saturdays, and they will also be at The Simple Farm when they re-open in mid October. Heirloom tomato, lettuce, vegetable and herb starts are often available at Phoenix Public Market in Downtown Phoenix. Root Phoenix's Urban Farm nursery is another local treasure to explore when they reopen later this fall. If you opt for seeds Native Seeds/Search has great stock as will your local nursery.

Photo by Kate Crowley.
Compost and soil from Singh Farms is easy to transport with an SUV, truck or trailer.

If you're into it, but your just not the manual labor type, Farmyard here in Phoenix installs raised bed gardens for you. They specialize in noting sun exposure, watering systems and construction accessibility. Alternatively, places like Higley Feed and Western Ranchman carry smallish galvanized metal feed troughs, that ones you make holes for drainage make great planters.

Speaking of water, you'll need a watering system unless your religious with your hose. This area is often the most intimidating. Of course many local resources, like the Valley Permaculture Alliance offer classes on container gardening and water systems on October 12, that would give anyone a good start on veggie gardening.

So plan ahead, dive right in and shop local.

And tell us, what are you growing?

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Location Info

Singh Farms

8900 E. Thomas Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Baker's Nursery and Gift Shop

3414 N. 40th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Berridge Nurseries

4647 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: General

Harper's Nursery

1830 E. McKellips Road, Mesa, AZ

Category: General

Roadrunner Park Farmers Market

3502 E. Cactus Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Downtown Phoenix Public Market

721 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

The Simple Farm

9080 E. Cactus Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: General

Urban Farm

6750 N. 13th Place, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Valley Permaculture Alliance Offices

1122 E. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

The Western Ranchman

16028 N. 32nd St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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My Voice Nation Help

Tomato growing in the valley is best when the plants are put in the garden in mid January. I start the seeds in one gallon containers in mid to late November on my back patio which faces south. I don't use the raised beds, but have spent 2 decades working and amending the soil. My choice is a variety of heirloom called Abe Lincoln. They are medium sized reds, that ripen quickly and taste very good as all my neighbors can back me up on. With the mid January start date you will need to cover some nights as frost can come as late as the end of February. Good luck ! peace

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