Gardening in Tucson

Sunday, March 05, 2017


Tucson Organic Garden Fair and Plant Sale

SATURDAY MARCH 18 10-2.

St. Mark's Church - 3809 E. Third Street.

Vegtable and herb seedlings, compost, supplies, 

equipment, vendors, food, face painting and raffle.

A great family event.  More info at 749-9429


********************************************

BOYCE THOMPSON ARBORETUM - SUPERIOR, AZ

Spring Plant Sale Daily March 10 - 26

Members-Only Preview Shopping March 10, Friday
This popular annual fundraising sale of trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, 
cacti and succulents helps raise money to support programs and
collections at the Arboretum – and if you need planting and
 landscaping advice, Arboretum staff are joined by helpful volunteers
 from Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners
 program weekend days advising and assisting buyers with suggestions 
for trees and smaller plants ideal for landscaping projects.
 Event continues daily through March 26.
Wondering about specific plants in stock?
 Call Arboretum staff during daily business hours at 520.689.2723

******************************************************* 

Desert Survivors Spring Plant Sale

March 11th (Saturday) - Members Sale

March 14th (Tuesday) thru March 18th (Saturday) - 
Public & Members

1020 W. Starr Pass Road (Near I-10 & 22nd Street)

 www.desertsurvivors.org/

********************************************************

Tohono Chul Park - Spring Plant Sale

Members’ Preview: Wednesday | March 15 | 12 – 6 p.m.
General Public: Saturday, March 18 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, March 19 | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

It’s time for our annual Spring Plant Sale. Don’t miss access to over
 1,200 species of cacti, succulents, shrubs, trees, and flowers.
Sale takes place in our Propagation Department located next to the
 Education Center at 7211 N. Northern Avenue.  (Near Ina & Oracle)
 For map location and more information visit our events listing here.

*******************************************************

Tucson African Violet Society

Spring Judged Show and Sale!

Theme: Classic Rock & Roll

Printable flyer

Saturday March 18th, 2017
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Contact info: (520)574-1367 or email: bellkk@peoplepc.com
Come visit our Spring Show! An amazing array of violets and
gesneriads will be on display to show Tucson a fun and beautiful
hobby. African Violets are a great way to grow lovely blooming
plants indoors year round! All the information and supplies you
 need to grow African violets will be available as well as information
 about joining the Tucson African Violet Society.

Location: Golden Pin Lanes, 1010 W. Miracle Mile

*********************************************************************

APRIL 1:


18th ANNUAL MASTER GARDENER HOME GARDEN TOUR
The Pima County Master Gardeners announce their 18th Annual Home
 Garden Tour to be held on April 1, 2017 from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Four spectacular Master Gardener private home gardens will be
 showcased. Each venue will offer informative garden talks and
 demonstrations such as attracting garden pollinators, creating color in
 cactus gardens, selecting and sowing spring wildflowers, harvesting
rainwater and protecting plants and garden tools through proper maintenance.

The Demonstration Gardens at the Cooperative Extension office
 (4210 N. Campbell Ave.) will also be open for touring and learning.
Ticket sales begin February 15, 2017 and may be purchased at the
 following Garden Centers: Arbico, Bach’s, EcoGro, Harlows,
 Mesquite Valley Growers, Plants for the Southwest, Rillito Nursery
 and at the Cooperative Extension Service office, 4210 N. Campbell Ave.
Tickets may also be purchased prior to April 1 online at the
 PCMG Home Garden Tickets link below.
 Tickets are available on the day of the tour at each home garden and
at the Extension Demonstration Gardens on Campbell Avenue.
Tickets are $15 in advance/ $20 on-line and on the day of the tour.
  Click Here for Tickets (link is external) For more information call 626-5161

***************************************************************

APRIL 8, Saturday

            TUCSON IRIS SOCIETY 

            ANNUAL SPRING SHOW

at the Kirk-Bear Canyon Pima County Library

8959 E. Tanque Verde Rd.  9:00 A.M. TIL 4:00 P.M.


*********************************************************



 

 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Tucson experts share their best tips to help new gardeners succeed this spring

  • Updated
  • If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to grow veggies, now is the time to fulfill that pledge.
    Tucson’s spring planting season is getting underway. If you’re brand new to gardening, this is the prime time to get a few tips and start digging.
    PLANNING
    Don’t be afraid of the coming summer, says Jessica Paul, gardening technician for Community Gardens of Tucson. “Even though we live in a desert, we can have a bountiful garden year round,” she says.
    Gardening seasons are different in Southern Arizona compared to other parts of the country, so be careful where you get your advice.
    “The information that you read does not apply here in many cases,” cautions Toni Moore, a Pima County master gardener. She recommends attending local classes or using resources specifically addressing Sonoran Desert gardening.
    Starting with a small garden is “an easy way to keep things under control,” advises Brandon Merchant, owner of Southwest Victory Gardens. A plot of between 18 and 25 square feet is a good beginning size.
    A container garden using 5-gallon tubs also is a good option to keeping a small garden, suggests Luis Herrera, the home garden coordinator for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
    As for location, Merchant suggests putting your garden where running water from rainfall will flow into it.
    Watch out for glass windows, advises Jacqueline Soule, author of “Southwest Fruit & Vegetable Gardening” and other gardening books. As the seasonal angle of the sun changes, light may reflect off of windows and into your garden.
    “The extra heat and light intensity reflected off windows can make a previously fine crop wither and dry up within a day,” she cautions.
    PREPPING
    Fix your soil, the experts agree.
    “Healthy soil is one of the most important elements in gardening,” says Paul.
    “Our soil is desert dirt,” explains Moore. “It’s not sterile, but it doesn’t have a lot of bio-organic matter in it.”
    That matter — fungi, bacteria, microbes, insects and other living things — provides nutrients to plants and aerates the soil to hold moisture, she says.
    Replace as much as 50 percent of the native soil with compost. Compost is dirt enriched with decayed material such as food scraps, plant trimmings and worm castings.
    Optional amendments include ammonium sulphate and soil sulfur, says Moore.
    If planting in containers, be sure to use an organic, nutrient-rich potting soil mix, advises Herrera.
    If your garden will be in the ground, dig basins, says Soule. That will contain rainwater and flood irrigation so that water seeps deeply into the soil.
    PLANTING
    There are many spring and summer veggies that are easy to grow both in the ground and in containers.
    “Peppers, basil and some varieties of tomatoes can grow well in 5-gallon buckets,” Herrera says.
    Other easy crops for beginners include onion, bush bean, Armenian cucumber, melon, corn, tepary bean, eggplant, pole bean, cowpea and squash, especially zucchini and pumpkin.
    Moore says tomatoes are “fussy” because of the narrow window for fruiting. Roma and cherry are easiest, she says.
    Heat-tolerant varieties such as “Heatwave” or cold-tolerant ones like “Siberian” or “Alaska” can extend the growing season.
    Squash may also be challenging for beginners because some plants may need to be pollinated by hand. “Plants that can easily self-pollinate tend to have more chances of being productive,” says Herrera.
    After planting, top the soil with a layer of organic material, called mulch.
    PROTECTING
    Properly watering plants will be crucial as temperatures rise and before monsoon rains kick in.
    It doesn’t matter what method you use for irrigation, as long as you’re consistently and correctly watering.
    “Water needs to go down 12 to 18 inches and the soil should be kept evenly moist,” she says. Water every day until monsoon rains start.
    Good soil and proper watering will take care of many growing problems such as pests or disease. “Plant vigor is your first line of defense,” she says.
    Warm weather will mean lots of critters eyeing your plants, says Merchant. Birds, caterpillars, rodents and other animals will munch away in your garden.
    Some of this won’t kill your plants, he reassures. “The majority of the time, these things will take care of themselves, but on occasion some intervention from the gardener may be necessary.”
    Both Merchant and Herrera suggest you spend time watching your garden grow so you know what’s normal and what needs to be addressed.
    Plus, the practice will give you benefits other than fresh food.
    “It’s a very calming and therapeutic experience to be around plants and taking care of them,” Herrera says.
    Don’t give up if the garden doesn’t do what you expect it to do, Merchant says.
    “When I first started gardening, I would stress out if my plants didn’t look perfect or if something didn’t go as planned,” he explains.
    “This took a lot of the fun out of gardening and I was always spending money trying to obtain the perfect garden.”
    He enjoyed gardening much more after he embraced the process and the challenges.
    “In gardening, mistakes are simply learning experiences and there is never one right way to do anything,” he says. “Each season brings new challenges and rewards that will be totally unexpected, so it’s best just to learn from them and move on.”
    Contact Tucson freelance writer Elena Acoba at acoba@dakotacom.net

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Friday, January 25, 2013



Saturday, August 18, 2012

Give Your Tomato Plants a Second Chance this Summer - by Elena Acoba - AZ Daily Star - July 29, 2012. Nearly 20 fall and winter vegetables can be planted in August, according to "The Tucson Garden Handbook" by Pima County Cooperative Extension master gardeners. "In a perfect world, I would leave tomatoes in the ground until it would freeze," says Mary Sisson Eibs, who's an educator and in charge of the gardening program at The Haven, a substance-abuse treatment center. Read more here

Monsoon Season is the time to Plant Heat-Loving Species by Elena Acoba - Az Daily Star - July 22,2012 Planting at this time of year may be tough on you, but it's the perfect season for heat-loving species to get in the ground and grow. Read more here

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pointy Plants add variety to landscape - Az Daily Star article June 10, 2012 by Elena Acoba. Getting tired of the same old, same old in your yard? We asked local landscape designers what kinds of plants they'd like to see grace Tucson landscapes more often. They offer up a bunch that have one thing in common: spikiness. Read the article here

Plants for People with unusual tastes....experts come up with ideas for hard-to-find garden items by Elena Acoba of the Arizona Daily Star. This is the second of a two-part series on landscape designers' favorite underused plants.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Alternatives to Overused Plants

The Arizona Republic in February listed alternatives to planting the same old plants year after year. They listed ten alternatives to planting what the author, Brian Kissinger, called "Ten tired plants" that are overused in the landscape. Here's a link to the article:

http://www.azcentral.com/style/hfe/outdoors/articles/2012/02/14/20120214desert-garden-alternatives-overused-plants.html