Growing in the desert: Summer Tucson gardening tips

Helping your plants beat the heat

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Gardening in Tucson during the hot summer months can be challenging, but there are plenty of resources and tips gardeners can take advantage of to help their plants survive the summer.

And it’s not just talking about watering them more either.

“It’s like the Olympics of gardening,” joked Parker Filer, a horticulture agent at the Pima Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens at the U of A Pima County Extension on North Campbell. “It can be a serious challenge, but if you select the right plants and treat them right, they will grow.”

The collaboration between the University of Arizona and Pima County is a public resource, open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m.

“Mulching is super important this time of year,” Filer said. “It’s a good way to keep weeds down and will keep your soil temperature cooler. Your watering schedule should also change, starting earlier in the morning when it is not as hot out yet. This gives the sun less time to soak up moisture. Longer duration, lower intensity.”

Shade is also vitally important to some plants and their growth.

“Your traditional summer crops tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants; they will require occasional shade, so it’s good to keep shade cloth handy,” according to Filer.

The Demonstration Gardens are a lot more than just a display. Have a specific problem with a plant, master gardeners will help diagnose the issue and decide what to do next.

“This is all self serve, folks can just come and explore at their own pace,” Filer said.

Not exactly sure what to do with that garden yet, these gardens are the place to find out. 14 demonstration gardens and master gardeners are on hand to teach new or experienced gardeners all they need to know about growing in the desert.

“We’re all learning together,” said Filer. “We’re here to help.”

To learn more about classes and tours, click HERE.

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