Gardening in Tucson

Thursday, October 06, 2016


SET YOUR CLOCKS for Saturday, October 8 for the Pima County Master Gardeners bi-annual plant sale! The master gardeners diligently work with the most highly desired plants and nurture them throughout the year in preparation for a plant sale. From drought tolerant plants to fig trees! All proceeds enable the existence of the Pima County Master Program, a self-funded program, for the benefit of its community.
The 2017 Pima County Master Gardener Edible Calendar will be available for purchase! Come get them now while they last!
See you all soon!


Pima County Cooperative Extension Demonstration Gardens
4210 N. Campbell Ave.
Tucson AZ

Tohono Chul Fall Plant Sale

Fall is the Time to Plant!

Members’ Preview | Wednesday | Oct. 14 | 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
General Public | Saturday | Oct. 17 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
General Public | Sunday | Oct. 18 | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The sale is located on the east side of Tohono Chul in our propagation area. Please park off of Northern Ave.

Visit Tohono Chul’s Fall Plant Sale for an extensive offering of both the typical and the and unusual, native, cold-hardy, and arid-adapted plants from agaves to Zauschneria and everything in-between.
Our Members’ Only Preview hours have been extended due to the ever-growing popularity of this event. We encourage you to bring your own wagon, but we will have plenty on hand if you don’t have one.
Don’t forget to check out our propagation greenhouse. In the propagation greenhouse there will be a special selection of “collector” plants including succulents as accent plants for containers, and Bonsai suitable plants and pots.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Fill up the tank, get that bus pass, inflate your bicycle tires, put on your walking shoes. Fall garden tours are coming in October.
by Elena Acoba, Arizona Daily Star September 25, 2016
details below:

Kathleen and Mike Marron were new Tucsonans about a year ago when they bought their small north-side home.
“I’d never gardened in the desert before,” says Kathleen, an Ohio transplant who originally wanted to turn her pea-gravel-covered backyard into a flower-filled garden she saw in a Sunset magazine picture.
Then she spoke with someone at Watershed Management Group, which is holding its annual fall home tour Oct. 1. “They said that none of that was native and sustainable on their own,” she recalls.
Wanting to be responsible Tucson gardeners, the couple worked with the organization to shape the land in the tiny backyard so that rainwater runs along a modest, rock-lined channel where plants grow inside and along it.
They wedged rainwater receptacles between their house and the neighbor’s fence to collect 1,050 gallons of water from the solar-paneled roof. A hose connected to the receptacles allows them to water plants as needed.
Underground piping guides water from the laundry to tree basins.
Together, these efforts have allowed many plants to thrive solely on rain and gray water: queen’s wreath vine, barrel cactus, a peach tree, a sweet lime tree, a chiltepin bush and side-oats grama grass.
The landscape fosters volunteers, too, including a desert tobacco that’s over 5 feet tall and some desert marigolds.
The only time they turn on the drip irrigation is when they’re away for a few days.
Marron says she’s learned several tricks about watering that save resources, including responding to seasonal changes.
“I know now that these plants go dormant in the winter,” she says, “and I don’t need to water them.”
Marron hopes tour visitors will get some ideas from her small landscape.
“I hope they can think of creative ways to use their spaces,” she says, “and create green space that will cool Tucson and replenish the aquifer.”
The tour also will highlight composting bins and toilets, wildlife habitat, shade oases and uses for recyclable materials.
BICAS will lead a guided bicycle tour of five stops and hold a lunch at Watershed Management’s Living Lab.
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The fairly new edible garden for Pascua Yaqui seniors will show off the fruits — and veggies — of community labor during a tour Oct. 1.
The 10-bed community garden at the tribe’s senior center has been growing produce since spring 2015, says Pete C. Rodriguez, one of the volunteers who tend the garden.
Some elder tribal members have done some planting, and a slew of volunteers has been taking care of and harvesting the bounty, which is used by the senior center.
Organizers hope to expand the use of the garden by the general tribal community, as well as get the seniors more involved in gardening, Rodriguez says.
The tour will highlight growing gourds that, when dried and carved, are important accessories in Yaqui cultural ceremonies. Gourd carvings, rattles and musical instruments will be displayed. Yaqui artist Louis David Valenzuela will be on hand to show his gourd works.
As an avid snorkler, Lance Belhumeur loves the look of coral reefs.
The manufacturing project manager also is a wannabe landscape designer.
“I’ve always thought it would be a great profession,” says Lance, whose garden is among at least 10 that will be on the Rita Ranch Areawide Fall Garden Tour Oct. 29.
“I’ve always loved landscapes and landscaping.”
He combined his two hobbies to create a reef-like garden in the backyard of the home he and his wife, Anna, had built two years ago.
Lady slipper, small agaves, aloe and Autumn Joy sedum are among the 100 or so plants that surround a fountain, which provides watery sounds.
Lance and Anna themselves built the well-ordered backyard, the 10th landscape Lance has designed by himself. “I do all the manual labor and leave all the design elements to him,” Anna jokes.
The couple divided the yard into dining, cooking and gathering spaces. A trampoline and artificial turf area provide recreational space for their four sons. Large rocks define the garden beds.
Two other garden areas include a pomegranate and a fig tree, which Anna wanted, and roses, a nod to Lance’s mother’s love of the flowers.
Lance focuses on perennial flowering species, which live longer than annuals. If a plant dies, he will find a different species as a replacement.
He’s not inclined to baby plants to keep them alive. He calls that philosophy “beauty by attrition.”
The neighborhood tour also includes a plant sale, pumpkin-carving contest and a guided bicycle tour.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Do's, don'ts for using old gardening supplies

With spring planting season approaching, it's time to take stock of what's in your garden shed or garage. That way you make sure to use what you have and toss out what you can't salvage.
Here are some tips on what to do with your leftover gardening supplies:
Toss out old seeds if they appear dried out or have mold or fungus, says Jon Childers of Mesquite Valley Growers.
Otherwise, they're OK to plant regardless of the date on the seed packet.
If they don't sprout in a week or 10 days, then sow newly bought seeds. You haven't lost much in trying old seeds.
"You're losing a little bit of time," Childers says, "but if it's early in the season, you have the entire season in front of you."
Any leftover soil amendments, including fertilizers, will be fine to use as long as they have been kept dry, says Mesquite Valley's Rodney White.
White cautions that stored amendments that are wet will break down and lose their potency.
Wet manure could get too hot to use safely, he adds. He recalls spreading an old bag of poultry manure that had been wet. "I burned some plants with it," he says.
Stored hot fertilizer also poses a fire and explosion hazard, according to the Arizona Master Gardener Manual by Pima County Cooperative Extension.
Leftover garden or potting soil also should be fine to use, White says.
Sometimes bags of soil will "get kind of funky or moldy or stinky" if they got wet and the organic matter started breaking down, he says.
"You could still use it. Definitely dry it out and mix it in with something else."
Follow the container directions for disposal of chemicals. White says leftover chemicals can be used if they were properly stored for up to three years.
The master gardener manual suggests discarding anything with damaged labels or in damaged containers.
Try to buy only what you need so that you don't store toxic pesticides and herbicides in the first place, according to the manual.
You can safely dispose of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers at several household-hazardous-waste collection centers. For information, call 888-6947.
Do not pour these down a drain or where they can pollute the water supply, the manual says.
Horticulturists at Tucson Botanical Gardens suggest doing these tasks around the garden in February:
• Continue to watch for frosts and freezes that can damage sensitive plants.
• Prune dormant trees, but not spring-flowering plants.
• Fertilize flowering perennials such as irises and roses. Start fertilizing citrus around Valentine's Day.
• Pull weeds before they go to seed.
Contact Tucson freelance writer Elena Acoba at

Friday, January 25, 2013