The Q&A Archives: Vegetables for the Southwest

Question: I just moved to Tucson from Pennsylvania. What vegtables can I grow in here?

Answer: Most of the types of vegetables you grew in PA will do well here in the low desert. The trick is in selecting varieties which are adapted to our soil, climate and pest problems. Select ones that mature quickly, so you can harvest spring vegetables before the heat of the summer cooks them on the vine, and fall vegetables before the frost nips them. Choose varieties that are resistant to known potential pest problems. Look for the initials "V", "N" and "F" after the name of the plant on the seed packet. The "V" indicates resistance to Verticillium, the "N" indicates resistance to Nematodes, and the "F" resistance to Fusarium.

Vegetables which can be planted in the spring in the low desert include Artichokes, Asparagus, Beans, Beets, Black-eyed Peas, Bok Choy, Carrots, Sweet Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Melons, Mustard, Okra, Green Onions, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Spinach, Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips. Send a self addressed stamped envelop to the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension Office and request a copy of the Vegetable Planting Calendar for the Low Desert: Fact Sheet MC84. Many of the Maricopa County Home Horticulture Publications will be appropriate for you in Tucson, though since you are cooler you may need to bump the dates up a week or so (e.g. if the Maricopa County publications says you can start planting the beginning of September, in Tucson you can probablystart mid August) See for a listing of publications on vegetable gardening (scroll to the top of the page for directions on how to order).

The following publications are availablefrom the U of A: Home Horticulture Publications Distribution Center, Tucson. <br><br>110095 Ten Steps to a Successful Vegetable Garden (Q95) $.75<br>110337 Vegetable Varieties for Arizona (Q337) $.50<br>188028 Indoor Plant Selection and Care (8828) $.75<br>185013 Growing Sweet Corn in Arizona (8518) $.50<br>186069 Fertilizing Home Gardens in Arizona (8689) $.50<br><br><br>Visit for recommended references for vegetable gardening in low desert.

Much of the information on the Maricopa County Home Horticulture Website will be useful to you<br>Check out the vegetable gardening tips in the "Timely Tips" section.
Your Cooperative Extension office is located at 4210 N. Campbell, Tucson, AZ 85719 Office Phone: (520) 628-5628. John Begeman is the Home Horticulture Agent.

Good luck with your vegetables. The Sonoran Desert is a fantastic place to garden -- we have great soil, super climate and virtually no pests! Enjoy!

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