planting a new vegetable garden in backyard - Knowledgebase Question

Surprise, Ar
Question by schantzaz
May 16, 2010
I want to start a 4'x8' salsa garden. w/tomatoes, peppers, green onions, lettuce, and maybe some watermelons. We've hoed out the grass from the area. What next? I want to buy a raised garden kit (6-8

Answer from NGA
May 16, 2010


There are two growing seasons in the Valley of the Sun. Late summer is a good time to plant cool season veggies such as lettuces, onions, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, etc. You can harvest these in December. The second planting season is February and warm season veggies can go in the garden at this time. Tomatoes, peppers, squash and melons will all grow to maturity and be ready for harvest in May. Not much will thrive in the garden from June through August but you might be able to grow tomatoes and peppers in containers, providing morning sun but shade from the hot summer sunshine. I've had success with summer squash in the heat of June and July so if you want to prepare your new garden and plant a few squash seeds, I think you'll have a decent harvest. The leaves of the squash plants shade the fruits so with adequate water, they thrive in my backyard garden.

Our soil is clay, which is difficult for veggies to grow well in. Amend the soil for your raised bed garden or purchase topsoil (pre packaged or in bulk, depending upon the size of your bed). Then amend it with copious amounts of compost or aged manure. An 8 inch depth is not deep enough for the roots of most vegetable plants - 12 to 18 inches is better. For best growth the roots need to penetrate deeply into the soil. If you can't find a raised garden kit that's deeper, you can garden on an 18inch deep mound of soil, or you can simply dig a bed at ground level.

Preen is not registered for use in vegetable beds. Instead of pre emergent weed controls, mulch over the bare soil with 3-4 inches of compost, or place several thicknesses of newspaper or cardboard on the soil between the plants. Any of these materials will shade the soil and keep weed seeds from sprouting.

Best wishes with your new garden!

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