A crucial element of successful spring gardening in Arizona is transitioning from your winter garden to a spring garden. Transform your cool-loving winter garden beds into a haven for warm-season vegetables with these 10 steps for a successful spring garden in Arizona.
10 Steps for a Successful Spring Garden in Arizona
1. Decide what you want to plant in your spring garden
Evaluate the space you have in your garden and decide what you are going to plant for your spring and summer garden. Use a reliable planting guide to see which vegetables grow best.
2. Start seedlings indoors for your spring garden in Arizona
Sow seeds indoors beginning in late December or early January for tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. In mid-January, sow seeds for basil, zinnias, cucumbers, and melons. If sweet potatoes are on your planting list, start making slips for planting in January as well.
If you plan on purchasing transplants for your spring garden in Arizona, you can skip this step. This post explains how to start seeds indoors.
3. Evaluate winter plants
Spend some time in your garden and evaluate your winter garden. Which plants did well? Which varieties did your family enjoy eating?
4. Harvest winter plants to make room for your spring garden in Arizona
Harvest winter vegetables that are ready to harvest to begin making space in your garden for spring plantings.
5. Appraise existing plants in the garden
- Some winter vegetables may be close to harvest and need a bit more time in the garden. Give them a little time.
- Other plants may have struggled to produce and you may decide to pull them to make room for spring and summer planting. Remember to cut plants at the base rather than pulling them out to remove them.
- Some plants like onions, garlic, and perennial herbs will continue to grow throughout the spring.
6. Look at the weather and check your soil temperature before planting your spring garden in Arizona
In the low desert of Arizona, mid-February is our last typical frost date, but we can be surprised by a late frost.
In 2019, I planted tomatoes 3 times because I was anxious to plant and then got humbled by late frosts.
8. Tidy up garden beds
Clean up garden beds. Clean out weeds and debris, and pull unwanted volunteers.
9. Top off garden beds
Filling beds with compost replaces the organic matter that was depleted during the last growing season. Add enough compost to fill the beds back up. If you don’t make your own compost, purchase several different types of compost to add to the beds.
It’s important to have your soil tested. A soil test can determine the health of your soil. This is the soil test kit I use. It’s very simple to use. Add organic fertilizer based on the recommendations. This is the recipe I like to use for organic fertilizer.
10. Begin planting your spring garden
- Harden off indoor-sown transplants before planting by gradually exposing them to longer periods of time outdoors.
- In areas where winter crops are still growing, consider interplanting warm-season vegetables. Once the cool-season crops are ready to harvest, warm-season crops will welcome the extra room.