|I Have an area 9ft by 3.5ft by 1.5ft deep, where I would like to start a small vegetable garden. This area is bordered by cement blocks and several medium size stones. I was planning on hanging a shade over this garden to keep out most of the direct sunlight. How do I go about getting this garden started, as far as the soil is concerned. I am in the west valley, west Glendale area. thanks for your help in advance.|
|If you've been in Arizona for any length of time you know that there are two growing seasons: September - December and February - April. You can plant your garden now but you should concentrate on short season varieties of cool season vegetables such as pole beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and leaf lettuce. If you sow seeds in August, the plants will be up and growing when the weather begins to cool in September. While you might want to place shading material near your garden bed, you'll only need to shade the plants from noon until about 4 p.m. Don't exclude the morning sunlight or your plants won't grow well.
Since you have a raised bed I'm going to presume that it was originally filled with top soil and not the native clay/caliche soil. At least I'm going to hope it's topsoil! You can dig the soil to loosen it and then spread 4-5" of organic matter over the top and dig it in to incorporate it throughout the bed. Level your newly amended soil and plant your seeds. Be sure to keep the seedbed moist while the seeds are germinating. If they begin to sprout and then dry out, they won't be able to recover. So lightly sprinkle several times a day to keep the seedbed moist.
Best wishes with your new garden!