Arizona Summer vs My First Vegetable Garden

This is my first experience with an Arizona summer, and while I am halfway though it, I am sooo over the heat. I have managed to make a solid dent on my Summer Bucket List, which has been good. I could complain about the heat forever, but I am trying really hard to complain about focus on other things.

So far my biggest complaint obstacle thru the insufferable Arizona summer is the cabin fever. My long history of skin issues (cancer, cancer, cancer) means I can’t just slap on the sunscreen and hop in the pool all afternoon to beat the heat. I do go to the gym several times a week just to get my body moving a little without having ankle-to-wrist-plus-hat coverage, and that has helped quite a bit to combat the feeling of being trapped in an (air conditioned! yay!) cage.

Mr. Blue Eyes built me some fantastic garden boxes in our backyard revamp, and I filled them up with seeds and tiny vegetable plants and hoped they’d make it. It’s been a bit of a learning curve: my yellow squash and zucchini have died; a crazy-even-for-here heat wave withered my peppers and herbs (123* F?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!); the birds have had a heyday with the tomatoes, pecking them to pieces. BUT! we rigged up some shade to protect most of our little plants and I found some bird-repellant holographic tape to scare the birds away.


In the last few weeks the butternut squash and watermelon bed has gone crazy with trailing vines all over the place and about a dozen squash and four watermelons all growing nicely under those broad leaves. In the last two days I’ve picked FIVE tomatoes and the one remaining bell pepper, and there are some darling baby eggplants that will probably be ready to pick next week.


I am ridiculously happy about my little plants, it’s been fun to watch them grow (and frustrating to watch them wither and die) and has given me something to look forward to, as stupid or silly as that sounds. I have been doing some research, and apparently you can replant several different things in mid-August and get a second harvest in October or November, and lettuce and spinach and peas do really well over the “winter” months, so I’ll be trying that, for sure. We always had a very big vegetable garden while I was growing up, and I know how to keep veggies alive…but the climate here is VERY different from my Rocky Mountain hometown. Hopefully I’ll have a little more success moving forward!


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13 thoughts on “Arizona Summer vs My First Vegetable Garden

  1. The first year is always a learning curve. Hell this is the 3rd year we’ve had a garden and we’re still learning! We had a big sage plant that we removed from one spot and nothing that we planted in its place grew – had no idea it was incompatible with some things! Congrats on your harvest 🙂


    1. That makes me feel a little better, actually. I forget that the vegetable garden I grew up taking care of had already been perfected for YEARS (soil, rotation, water) before I ever got assigned weeding duty.


      On Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 1:24 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:



  2. You almost make me want to garden. Although that reminds me that I haven’t watered our plants in a while, so maybe I’m not ready for an actual garden yet..


    1. Ha! I started with indoor plants. Five years ago I couldn’t keep a cactus alive. But, I’ve got a small suite of potted plants that even survived the move, and had a little success with two outside pots in SLC (tomatoes, bell peppers)….this is my next big step! Eeep!


      On Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 3:06 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:



  3. You may have already done this but, check to see if there is an agricultural extension of the university there or a 4-H program. Either one should have pointers for you. Years ago a took a sample of a voluntary bush that was growing along the side of my house to our local University of Nevada AG Extension Office. The director helped me identify it…goose berry, who knew, not me.


    1. I grew up with a really large backyard, and about half of it was vegetable garden: tomatoes, peas, corn, peppers, spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, onions, broccoli rabe, radishes, carrots, asparagus, raspberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, and ten thousand pumpkins. Every October my Mom still has a little pumpkin patch in her backyard, easily growing over 100 pumpkins that she gives away to neighborhood kids.


      On Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 9:53 AM, Feisty Harriet wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It’s kind of pitiful to think that it took MONTHS to get this tiny little pile, but hey, first year gardener here. 😉


      On Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 12:24 AM, Feisty Harriet wrote:



  4. I’m so sad, because I had a lovely herb garden for like 2 months, and then my tomato plant sprouted dozens of cute flowers and produced dozens of tiny green cherry tomatoes….. all of which, every single one, has been picked and stolen by some evil animal at night jussstt before they fully ripen. I suspect raccoons, because it doesn’t look like the thief is eating the tomatoes off the vine (there is no debris left anywhere) and they are already dressed as thieves with their eyemasks and creepy little hands, so it makes sense. Sort of.

    Then we had our own heatwave here (NOT LIKE THAT HOLY SHIT, but still 90s-100 every day for many days) and I am too pregnant to care enough to move my boxes, so everything withered and died from the heat and sun. GOOD JOB ME GREAT FIRST YEAR HARVEST.


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