You don’t have to have acres of land to turn your yard into a garden oasis. Urban gardens come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from rooftops to raised beds, patios to porches, and dozens of containers to just a couple of hanging baskets. Use the space you have and get creative! All you need to create your Phoenix urban garden are a few important how-to tips to get you on your way. Soon you’ll be harvesting homegrown fruits and vegetables from your own oasis.

When to Plant Your Urban Garden

Knowing when to plant your urban garden goodies is critical to success in the Sonoran Desert. To avoid temperature extremes, spring and fall are the best times to plant in Phoenix—and right now is actually a terrific time for many annual plants, including vegetables and herbs. A good tip: Choose plants with a short time to maturity so they’ll reach their peak and produce for you in the same season before the summer weather gets too intense.

Some of the best varieties for planting in your urban garden right now include:

  • Basil
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Green onions
  • Okra
  • Peanuts
  • Radishes
  • Snap beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Sunflowers
  • Yardlong beans

urban garden plantingThe Best Placement for Your Garden

Scout your outdoor spaces for the best blend of sun and shade, depending on what you’re growing. Vegetables need at least six hours of sunlight every day. They also need a breather from the hot Arizona sun. Make sure they get enough shade too, or they’ll be overexposed. Good news: You can always adapt a too-sunny space by adding some shade. The flip side, of course, isn’t an option.

When planning placement, remember to consider the size and type of your total garden area. Some plants are climbers, such as beans, so they can grow in smaller footprints. Just be sure to provide a cage, trellis, or other option for the plants to cling to as they reach for the sky. Do your homework on each plant type to be sure you have sufficient space, support, and soil depth for the plant to reach its full potential and provide you with a tasty harvest.

If you start planting late in the season, or if you’re worried your plants won’t have enough time to mature before harsh weather hits, consider movable containers you can shift inside if you have to. Just be sure your indoor space still has plenty of sunlight to keep those plants happy.

Ensure Good Soil Quality

Given the quality of Arizona’s soil, it’s a good bet you’ll need to add compost, manure, or planting soil. For containers, opt for planting soil. High-quality soil is critical to getting the most from your urban garden.

urban garden toolsAdd Fruit Trees to Your Urban Garden

Citrus trees are made for the Arizona climate! And they’re not alone. In addition to lemon, lime, kumquat, grapefruit, tangerine, and orange trees, try figs, dates, mangoes, plum, and goldenberry.

Keep in mind that even trees that love the heat still need plenty of water, and they can get sunburned if they get too much exposure. That’s why you’ll see white trunks on fruit trees; the paint protects young trees from overexposure. If you’re planting new trees, wrap the trunks with a white water-based paint diluted in half with water. That will protect them during the establishment phase.

Other fruits that flourish in our desert climate include blackberry, olive, chili pepper, strawberry, apples, grapes, and tomato.

Before buying fruit trees, verify with your nursery what the tree needs in terms of sunlight, space, and temperature. Smaller, younger trees can start in containers and be transferred to the ground after the summer so you can expect fruit next winter and spring.

Urban Homes with Great Gardens

Want to check out a cool new urban community right here in Phoenix? Set your sights on MAK Construction’s Village at North Glen. Designed with porches and small private yard spaces, it’s the perfect place to settle in and plant your own urban garden oasis.