White Mountains Arizona Realtor
HOME GARDENING DEPARTMENT
about     links     forum     shopping     contact      home   

Welcome To White Mountains Arizona Gardening!

If you've heard it's difficult or even impossible to grow beautiful flowers, trees, and vegetables in the White Mountains of Arizona (the High Desert), well, with a little work, a lot of love, and SOIL AMENDMENTS and WATER, you can make your White Mountains Home bloom!

We are planning to add links and as much White Mountains Arizona specific gardening information we can find over time, so please check back. To see our White Mountains vegetable garden in Mid-Summer, click here:                           Our Garden

Getting Started:

  • Consider a raised garden OR: For our 12 x 16 garden,
    Bruce rented a backhoe and dug out what was mostly clay and
    rock to a depth of about 3 feet. Then, the standard railroad
    ties protected by plastic were installed by Bruce, of course.

             


  • Next, get some "dirt". If you're like most White Mountains
    Home Owners, you'll find you don't exactly have dirt.
    And so, you need to import some!


  • Typical White Mountains rock, clay, gravel!     


  • Mix your imported "dirt" with mulch, manure and fertilizer--
    this is, we admit, backbreaking, but you've got to make
    a nice, rich bed whether it's flowers or vegetables. Make
    sure you "lighten" the soil to avoid compacting.

The soil is probably the most important aspect of creating your garden. Creating rich soil can be expensive, but taking care in the beginning really pays off.

  • Call in the troops! Get "topsoil" from a local provider-- measure and order in yards.
  • Work in regular garden soil (potting soil) from the local garden center-- almost any good brand will work just fine.
  • Work in bags of steer manure; or, ask a friendly ranch neighbor if you can take some horse manure off his hands!
  • Work in mulch/compost/peat moss.
  • Work in a "soil lightener" (if needed)
  • Have a "helper" spread fertilizer during the soil blending process. We use regular lawn fertilizer-- Yes! It works for us!

 

Okay, more money! PROTECT YOUR GARDEN! You must put up fencing. Honestly, although digging in the native soil of the White Mountains can be a monumental task-- get out the post hole digger and build fencing! HINT: Use water freely to help you dig your post holes...

  • The sun in the High Desert can warp, ruin and otherwise destroy wood. So, Bruce recommends using cedar for fencing. Expensive, yes, but as years go by, your garden will more likely remain a thing of beauty. And, think about the resale value a beautiful fenced garden can encourage! Don't forget several coats of stain...
  • We used chicken wire to line our fence; and we've had little trouble with squirrels, rabbits, etc.
  • Make it high.
  • Make it very high.
  • Be sure to backfill the chicken wire base to ensure no little friends dig under your creation.

 

Planting Your Vegetable Garden:


"Walls o' Water"

You may have noticed some blue-green things in above "fence" picture and wondered what they were. They're called "Wall o'Water", and we just couldn't get our garden in during our shorter summer season without using them.

We start our seedling vegetable plants in these as early as mid-March. These are plastic accordion-like structures that one fills with water and "tents" the baby plants. They absorb sunlight, warming the water, and keep the plants warm during cold temperatures. As the plants grow, you add more water, opening the walls until late April (maybe) when you can remove them. They're amazing little "Green Houses", and we swear by them!



We typically wait until Mothers' Day to sow seeds. The White Mountains Arizona Gardening Rule of Thumb (green) is not to plant seeds until the oak leaves are "the size of a squirrel's ear". That's been a fairly good gauge for us. And we never fool with old adages...

We plant bush beans, pole beans and sweet corn. We ignore seed spacing instructions because we prefer that the garden is "full"-- believing that the denseness of plants helps keep the soil more moist. Well, it works for us.



Protect and Nurture:



    Care and Feeding
  • After planting your garden, be sure to spread a good layer of straw (on top of newly planted seeds, and all around seedlings. Straw helps conserve moisture in our blazing hot sun.
  • Water, water, water. When seeds/seedlings are small, go easy and go twice per day. As plants take hold and seeds sprout, continue watering twice daily, building up in amounts and duration as the plants grow. In the heat of the summer, water heavily-- more than you would think reasonable! Flooding is not a bad thing. Water twice a day. A wilted plant is screaming!
  • WIND! Be sure to protect young plants from wind. It's probably the biggest plant "killer" in the White Mountains. We usually split Walls o' water and construct wind breaks until the winds of spring and early summer die down, the plants are much bigger and can stand up on their own.
  • Feed them well. Because we need to put down so much water (sometimes flooding the garden), we believe nutrients wash out more quickly. We feed every week alternating with Alaskan Fish emulsion, a good all-purpose soluable vegetable fertilizer, and sugar-beet fertilizer.
  • TOMATO-SPECIFIC: We've found it's not a good idea to "sucker" or pinch back the tomato plants. We believe they need all the foliage they can produce to maintain coolness and shade the fruit. Yes, they can get to be monsters, the fruit MAY be smaller, but they'll be more healthy. Our tomato plants do grow over 8 feet tall...

Our White Mountains Mid-Summer Garden:

      
      
      




about     links     forum     shopping     contact      home