young person gardening
01 Sep

Gardening in the Desert: Top Tips for Fall Planting in Tucson



The homes in our Fairfield communities have ample backyard space for whatever you and your family need! Why not start a garden this Autumn? A garden is a great way to grow the supplies for morning green smoothies and give your kids and grandkids a year-round hobby. Fall in Tucson is temperate so we have the luxury of longer growing patterns. Our warm weather means we can keep growing and planting longer. It also means we can have more variety!


Starting a garden can be daunting; there are plenty of details to consider! For example, what, when, and where to plant. Should you start from seeds or sprouts? Can you really plant pieces of sweet potatoes and grow more sweet potatoes? The answers are: read more, depends what you’re growing, and yes!


 Start small with just a few crops that can handle the heat and low humidity. By Thanksgiving, you’ll have a harvest that you can cook for the whole family! Well, maybe not the turkey but you can supply the carrots!


Here are 3 tips for how to plant an Autumn garden in Arizona:


  1. Choose your plants carefully. 

  • Focus on plants that can resist a light frost or those that mature quickly so they’re ready to harvest before cold winter nights. 
  • Plants that can resist a light frost include spinach, broccoli, turnips, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, and carrots.
  • Plants that mature quickly include arugula, turnips, radishes, and mustard greens. 
  • The best plants to grow from seeds are beans, peas, and carrots. 
  • Pro tip: When planting seeds in Arizona, plant them lower in the soil where it’s cooler and stays damp. 
  1. Watch the sunlight to choose where to plant.
  • Gardens need 6-8 hours of sunlight, preferably with morning sun. In Fall and Winter, the angle of the sunlight means the place in your yard that gets too much sun in the summer might be the perfect place for a winter garden. An area that is south-facing is perfect!
  • Start small! A garden can be a lot of work but you don’t have to dedicate a considerable part of your yard. Start with two or three plants and see how you go!
  1. Plant care is self-care.
  • Water your garden well. Newly planted seeds especially need to be kept moist. Check the watering recommendations for your plants and be sure to plan your garden based on the amount of water that each plant needs.
  • Watch for pests! Insects like aphids, whiteflies, and cabbage worms want to eat your garden as much as you do! Leafy greens in particular are vulnerable to aphids and whiteflies. You can spray the undersides of leaves with a mixture of soap and water. Be sure to rinse off immediately. Treat your plants often till the insects are gone.
  • Breathe and be in nature. Gardening has daily tasks that need to be completed but as opposed to seeing it as time-consuming or a chore, enjoy the time to be outside. You can turn it into active meditation. Get your hands dirty! Establish a routine that nourishes your heart and soul as well as nourishes your garden. 


For best planting times, check out a reliable planting guide. Most of all, have fun! Don’t get discouraged if your first harvest is small. Gardening is a great family activity. Keep planting and soon you and your plants will both be thriving.