Gardening in Tucson

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tips to get your garden through the hot months   May 9, 2015 by Elena Acoba - special to the Arizona Daily Star

Seasonal Plant Sales by Non Profit Groups Summer 2015

Weird Plant Sale - Saturday - May 16 - Unusual native and exotic cacti and other species will be available from private growers.         Artists will sell unusually designed pots. 
Tucson Botanical Gardens
(members only sale Friday evening)

Monsoon Sale Saturday July 11.  Native and desert-adapted plants will be available at a discount.  Desert Survivors Nursery, 1020 W. Starr Pass Blvd.

Monsoon Plant Sale - Friday-Saturday-Sunday July 17-18-19
Native Seeds/SEARCH will sell edible starts and wildflower and shrub seedlings.
3061 N. Campbell Avenue

Monsoon Madness - Friday and Saturday July 24 & 25.  Growers will sell plants prized by collectors, including agave, cacti and adeniums.  Experts will talk about how to care for these exotica and natives.  Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte

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

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Instructions with plants and seed packets often wrong for Tucson by Elena Acoba, Az Daily Star, August 19, 2012 Transplanted and new gardeners hear the mantra pretty early: Gardening in Tucson is different. That means the instructions that you get with plants and seeds may not apply here. The reason: Our desert climate is a small market, says Bill Harlow, co-owner of Harlow Gardens. Wholesale nurseries and seed producers that ship all over the country provide instructions that work for most of their customers Garden experts agree that learning a little about Tucson gardening before buying can lead to success. They suggest these resources: • Ask the garden center staff how the planting instructions differ from local requirements. • Look at what grows well in your neighborhood. • Refer to locally focused gardening reference materials such as "10 Steps to a Successful Vegetable Garden" from the Pima County Cooperative Extension or "Sunset Western Garden Book." • Look to experienced gardeners for advice. "Use the knowledge of others," Wymer encourages. "I rely on them all the time." read entire article here