9 Gardening Tips for Mesa Arizona’s Spring Planting Season Guide

When you’re searching for planting season Arizona for vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, cantaloupe, cilantro or any other type of fruit or vegetable A&P Nursery can help!  Our plant nurseries in Mesa, Gilbert, and Queen Creek are staffed with knowledgeable gardening expects who understand the unique challenges we face in the Phoenix Valley.

Arizona Spring Planting Season

The secret to growing vegetables and fruit in Mesa, Arizona is knowing your planting seasons“, here’s a spring planting season guide to help you out! 

Timing is one of the biggest mistakes new gardeners in Arizona make. The seasons in Arizona are much different than those in (Wisconsin for example, their spring season is more like autumn in AZ).

New gardeners in Mesa Arizona tend to make the mistake of planting the wrong vegetable at the wrong time.

Everyone has their own vision of a victory garden but growing vegetables in the Arizona desert can be a tough task for those who forget about Arizona’s planting cycle.

For example: gardeners in other states usually plant tomatoes in May, for Arizona, this could be the worst mistake you make. Your tomatoes will surely be dead by July due to Arizona’s 110+ heat in the summer. The Midwest planting cycle doesn’t work for the desert.

Vegetable Planting Calendar Guide for Arizona

Here’s a list of common vegetables and the best time to get them in the ground.

Vegetables to Plant in February ArizonaVegetables to Plant in February – Parsley, Fennel, Dill, Cilantro, Spinach, Rutabaga, Radishes, Potatoes, Peas (snap, shell, snow), Lettuce, Collards, Chard, Carrots, Bok Choy and Beets.


Vegetables to Plant in March ArizonaVegetables to Plant in March – Dill, Cilantro, Watermelon, Spinach, Radishes, Peanuts, Melons, Corn, Carrots, Beets, Beans (snap).


Vegetables to Plant in April ArizonaVegetables to Plant in April – Dill, Cilantro, Watermelon, Summer Squash, Spinach, Scallions, Radishes, Peas (southern), Peanuts, Okra, Melons, Cucumbers, corn, Carrots, Cantaloupe, Beans (snap).


Vegetables to Plant in May ArizonaVegetables to Plant in May – Cilantro, Watermelon, Scallions, Radishes, Peas (southern), Peanuts, Okra, Melons, Gourds, Cucumber, Corn, Cantaloupe, Beans (snap).


Vegetables to Plant in June ArizonaVegetables to Plant in June – Cilantro, Watermelon, Peas (southern), Peanuts, Okra, Melons, Gourds, Cucumber, Corn, Cantaloupe, Beans.


Vegetables to Plant in July ArizonaVegetables to Plant in July – Dill, Cilantro, Basil, Squash (summer and winter), Pumpkin, Peas (southern), Melons, Cucumber, Corn, Cantaloupe, Beans.


Vegetables to Plant in August ArizonaVegetables to Plant in August – Dill, Cilantro, Basil, Turnip, Spinach, Rutabaga, Radish, Peas, Onions, Mustard, Lettuce, Kohlrabi, Kale, Cucumbers, Corn, Collards, Chinese Cabbage, Chard, Carrots, Beets, Bean (bush and snap).


Vegetables to Plant in September ArizonaVegetables to Plant in September – Parsley, Dill, Cilantro, Turnip, Spinach, Rutabaga, Radish, Peas, Parsnip, Onions, Mustard, Lettuce, Leeks, Kohlrabi, Kale, Escarole/Endive, Collards, Chinese Cabbage, Chard, Carrots, Pac Choi, Bok Choy, Beet, Arugula.


Vegetables to Plant in October ArizonaVegetables to Plant in October – Spinach, Shallots, Onions, Mache, Garlic, Arugula.


Here’s 10 Tips for Gardening In Mesa, Arizona’s Spring Planting Season Guide

Know your Timing & Planting Seasons
Fall and Spring are Mesa Arizona’s 2 distinct growing seasons. Both seasons have specific vegetables that grown best in warmer or colder temperatures.
Gardeners from the Midwest or East part of the US should try to think of Arizona summers as winter time. This is not the time to sow seeds. Summer is by far the harshest season in Mesa. But unlike other parts of the US, vegetables can grow in the summer in AZ in you plant early enough in the spring and chose the right type of warmer-weather vegetables.

Go to https://apnursery.com/blog/garden-planting-schedule/ for when and what to plant.

1. Location, Location, Location

Location matters in vegetable growing just like location matters in real estate. Make sure and pick the right spots for growing, too much shade will keep from growing and too much sun can kill your vegetables.

2. Adequate Sunlight

Vegetable plants need at least 6-8 hrs of sunlight every day. It’s easy to have too much sunlight than it is to have too much shade. You can always purchase shade close which is very inexpensive but you can’t buy sunlight so make sure and plant your vegetables in a place where they can get the 6-8 hours of light they need and if it’s too much, add the shade cloth.

3. Bed Size

Start small. Even the most experienced gardeners can become frustrated when raising vegetables in Arizona. They take a while to get accustomed to the demands and rhythms of the Desert climate.

Start with a 4X4 raised bed. Many local plant and garden nurseries sell readymade beds. You can also construct one yourself. Other gardeners recommend digging garden beds instead of raised ones because your are using the natural soil and will avoid build-up of salt typically associated with raised beds.

4. Soil Types

Arizona soil has lots of miners but almost no organic matter. Most gardeners in AZ recommend a blend of 50-50 mixture of compost and native AZ soil. Local plant nurseries sell compost mixtures. IF you are digging your own garden, water the spot first to soften the soil and then add in your compost material.

5. Watering

Most vegetables need to be watered at least one foot deep. A good way to check the water depth is by using a screw driver. You may think your plants need more water than they do due to the dry climate but this can be just as harmful as under watering them. Plants with too much water lose oxygen. Giving them too much water can cause diseases to your vegetable and surrounding plants.

6. Master Gardener Hotline

Keep this number in your contact list: 602-827-8200, ext. 301. This master gardener hotline is operated by  master gardeners who are volunteers and it may take up to 48 hours to get a response from them.

7. Selecting Plants

Pay attention to the variety of plants you are choosing and if they are appropriate for the current season in which you are growing in. Dont plant tomatoes too late in the spring season because they take at least 90 days to produce fruit. You would be harvesting your tomatoes in 110+ heat. If you plan on planting in March, make sure and choose varieties of tomatoes that take 45-60 days to harvest.

8. Harvest Time Pacing

Due to the 2 growing seasons in Arizona, you can pace their harvest time.

It may be getting too late to plant lettuce in August, you can plant every two weeks to ensure you will have a continual harvest in the spring season.

9. Yield And Scale

Use plants that don’t take up a lot of space, unless your family likes watermelons of course. Expecially do this if you are starting a small garden. You can also space out your planting so that you and your family will have a continuous harvest of the fruit or vegetable of your liking.

Thank you for visiting, we hope you enjoyed out top 10 Tips for Gardening In Mesa, Arizona’s Spring Planting Season Guide. 

Nursery & Gardening Supplies

If you’re thinking about starting a new garden or want to improve one you’ve already started A&P Nursery can help!  Let our team help you select the best plants and seeds to get your garden thriving.  Whether you are looking for purely display type plants or want to grow your own produce, we can help!

Best Shade Trees For Phoenix

If you’re searching for the “best shade trees for Phoenix” you’re probably choosing trees to have planted at your home or office.  Shade is great for lazy afternoons in the yard, but can also provide additional benefits.  Read about which shade trees are best for your Phoenix Valley home or office.

According to what the National Forest Service has said, “you can save on energy by having trees planted around your home, and there are several other benefits from this as well.”

Best Shade Trees Species

The National Forest Service has also expressed that, “having two trees that are each 25 ft. in height and planted on the west side of the home, and another tree that is 25 ft. in height planted on the east side of the home can save as much as 25% of A/C costs when you are living on the southwest side.” Naturally, having other mature trees around a home will also give it more curb appeal.

Velvet Mesquite Tree PhoenixChilean and/or velvet mesquite

The two of these mesquites grow rather quickly, however, the Chilean will grow to be around 30 ft. in height, but the velvet is an Arizona native, growing to only around 25 ft. in height, having a younger root system.

Palo Verde Tree PhoenixPalo verdes

The state tree of Arizona is the ‘palo verdes’, with two different species being native to the state of Arizona, which are, foothill, and the blue palo verdes. These are known for their photosynthesis, which comes from the chlorophyll from their green bark that gives them their characteristics. They both grow rapidly, reaching around 30 ft. in height. However, the blue palo verdes is capable of reaching 40 ft. in height. In the spring, both will have beautiful yellow blooms.

Palo Brea Tree PhoenixPalo brea

This type of tree is considered a hybrid version of a palo verdes, and it is popular due to how easy it is to prune into a canopy. This type also has less risks of being damaged by big wind storms.

Afghan Pine Tree PhoenixAfghan and Aleppo pine

With the long growing season Arizona has, trees such as the Afghanistan and the Syria can grow rapidly, as they are native to Arizona and will reach about 50 ft. in height. Which make them good to use for filling your yard space.

Pink Dawn Chitalpa Tree PhoenixChitalpa Tree & Desert willow

When looking for a tree that is going to add color to your landscape, take into consideration the desert willow. This tree will reach 25 ft. in height. They can have pink, white, or even purple trumpet-shaped flowers blooming between the spring and fall.

Phoenix Valley Shade Tree Nursery

If you are looking for great shade trees for your Phoenix Valley home or office, A&P Nursery is your source for the best stock.  We grow our trees right here in the Phoenix Valley, so you know the trees are already used to our heat.  Get a shade tree for your landscape, increase its value, appearance, and even provide some shade for your property.  Stop by and browse the best shade trees for the Phoenix Valley. We have 4 locations in the East Phoenix Valley.

Call or visit one of our 4 locations today

Types Of Plants In a Nursery

If you happen to be a garden lover, then you know that there are only a few pleasures that will equal to browsing the aisles of your local nursery. Below is how you can make the best use of your time and actually get a real bang for your buck.

Types of Plants found in a Nursery

While you are walking through a nursery, you will certainly find plants that are found in 3 different forms: You have in-container plants which are normally your perennials, annuals, and smaller trees and shrubs. You have bare-root plants which are normally your large hedge plants and roses. Then you have Balled-and-Burlapped Plants which are normally larger shrubs and trees that have burlap wrapped around the root balls. Plants will also be grown differently as well. Some will be kept in containers, some kept in fields, and some start out in the field but are eventually transplanted into a container to be sold.

Local Field Grown Plants

Nurseries will often times grow shrubs and trees in their fields, where the plants are much easier to maintain and are able to grow to a much larger size than if they were to be kept in containers. Field grown stock will need to be dug up in winter and early spring before it stops being dormant, wrapped in burlap and twin and even in metal cages when it comes to large trees, then shipped to the sales center. The balled and burlapped plants may actually lose up to 90% of their root systems, but this is the only way to be able to offer very large plants for any type of selling.

Once you have selected the best plants, you need to learn about the importance of their soil for their growth.

Before you select a tree, you want to make sure that you have read the tag which will list its mature height and spread.

Bare Root Stock

Bare root stock will be dug from the fields during the dormant season which starts late fall to early spring and will be placed in cold storage. Because there isn’t any dirt to surround the root system, the bare root shrubs and trees are light and quite easy to transport including being easy to transplant. They also cost a lot less than a balled and burlapped plant or container grown plant.

Cold Season Availability

During the late fall to early spring for some temperate zones, a nursery may offer you the chance to purchase bare root plants in groups of 50 to 100 for hedges like lilacs. For a general rule, bare root plants are not offered at a regular nursery as the plants will come out of dormancy and begin to grow whenever they are removed from their plant cold storage. A Bare root plant is best for those online mail order nurseries, where they are often kept in suspended animation of cold storage and then shipped to you in time to be immediately planted. Not to mention that purchasing roses that are bare root plants from a single source means that there will be less of a chance of you bringing home a fungal disease to your garden.

Container Grown Plants

Container grown stock will start its life within a container. As the plant begins to grow larger, the grower will transplant it into a larger container. The more years that it is spent inside of a container, the more money and time that a grower has spent on the plant, which actually explains why some container grown plants are quite expensive. For instance, dwarf conifers, which are really slow growing will spend several years in a container before it ever starts growing large enough to even be sold.

How to pick your nursery plants

You will be able to learn a lot from a nursery simply by comparing the available plants. For instance, if you are wanting to buy a River Birchtree and the nursery you got to happens to have 10 trees in the size you want. They are between 8 and 10 feet tall and feature large trunks that are starting to show the peeling characteristic of a mature river birch. They are $230 each, so they are not cheap, but they offer immediate satisfaction for your landscape.

Examine The Selection

Examine the trees. Some may just have one trunk while others have 2 or more. You are wanting a 3 trunk river birch, and only 6 out of the 10 trees meet that criteria. One may have pale colored green leaves, where the others are a healthy leafy green type of color. You will want to skip over the pale colored one because it is probably starved of nitrogen. 2 of your trees may have root balls that are smaller than the others, so skip over it. Then one of the 3 trees left has a large root that is through the burlap and it seems quite dried out and distressed, so skip that one as well. Then look at the last 2 trees. Either one will most likely be right, but there will be one that will really speak to you to take it home.

Be sure to talk to nursery staff members as they are a valuable resource when it comes to picking the right type of plan for your needs.

Pick Plants To Match Scale

If you are wanting to know if a particular tree will grow a bit too tall for your yard, then here is a good rule to keep in mind: in order to keep your tree in scale with your house, they need to be no more than ¼ to 1/3 taller than your roof. If you have a one story design or a ranch house that has a height of between 12 and 15 feet, then the mature height for your trees near your home need to be between 15 and 20 feet. A two story home that is up to 22 feet tall, can handle a taller tree that is between 22 and 30 feet tall during its maturity. Plant your taller trees around the perimeter of your yard, where they will not be able to overpower your house.

You may also decide that you would like to purchase a smaller sized river birch that is only $150, so that you are able to spend the remainder on three azalea bushes to plant around your tree. Be sure to limit your purchases to a number of items that you are going to be able to plant in a single day. If you are unable to plant in a single day, then group the plants together in a shaded area and also make sure that you are watering them until you are able to finish planting them in another day or two.

Nursery Plant Guarantees

Quality nurseries will also guarantee the plants that it sells to you. If you purchase a healthy and promising shrub or tree, then plant it properly, and you diligently water and mulch it, then it should flourish and thrive for you. If not, you should contact your nursery. Many will refund your money or replace your plant. You will need to have your receipt and you may also need to bring in the dead plant.

Transporting your Plants

You want to be sure that you have securely wrapped your trees and other plants for your trip home.

You have finally picked out your plants and you have paid for them. Now you have to figure out how to get them home. If you have purchased a large tree, it is best to have your nursery deliver them to your property, although that is normally an extra fee for this service. In the fall, many nurseries will often run specials. They are going to try and sell as much of their stock as possible, so that they don’t have to provide any winter care, and they may include delivery in your purchase price. Here is another helpful tip: If you have spent over $1,000 for plants, ask if the nursery can do free delivery, as it never hurts to ask.

If you happen to be hauling your own plants home, then you want to make sure that you are brought rope and tarp to cover them. Wind damage, even if you are only a couple of miles from home and driving at a slow pace, can permanently damage or even kill off your plants. Like evergreens, who cannot handle any type of dehydration in their needles.

Picking out Balled and Burlapped Plants

Tip: Avoid any plants that have large roots protruding from rotting burlap material.

What you should look for:

  • Healthy and green foliage with the supple branch tips.
  • Branches that have fat leaf and flower buds before the begin leafing.
  • Shape that is appropriate for the cultivar and species of plant.
  • Living branches. 1 to 2 dead branches will not hurt your plant, but more than 3 may indicate a serious problem.
  • Solid root ball that feels firm and moist.
  • Conifers that show signs of new spring growth. Candles should be soft, flexible and bright green.
  • Evidence that watering systems have been used. Look for muddy earth aisles or puddles on the walkways at your nursery.
  • Mulch around the root ball.
  • A root ball that is between 10 and 12 times the trunk diameter.
  • Properly tied and wrapped plants. The burlap needs to look new and the twine needs to be snug but not too tight which can choke the trunk.

What to avoid:

  • Numerous broken branches
  • Leaves or needles that are turning brown or curling
  • Diseased foliage
  • Plants showing no signs of new growth when others are showing growth, especially in conifers.
  • Limp ended branches that have dried out leaves. This happens to indicate that there was water deprivation
  • Large exposed roots. Roots may come through the burlap, but you should avoid the ones that seem much larger than the plant.
  • Branches that have leaves at the base of the plant which indicate that branches may be winter killed.
  • A badly skinned trunk
  • Twine gripping the neck of the plant
  • Trunks that move easily when the ball remains still. This indicates that the roots may have broken from the trunk of the tree.
  • Lopsided root ball, which means that the plant was dropped.
  • Rotted burlap as this indicates that the plant may not have sold past season. If the plant is properly cared for, this isn’t a problem, but you should inspect the plant carefully.
  • Trees that tilt when the wind blows which mean that it isn’t properly supported.
  • Dried out root ball. The burlap or twine will be loose.

Picking Bare Root Plants

What to look for:

  • Well-formed stems
  • Ready to burst leaf nodes
  • Moist roots
  • Evenly distributed and healthy basal roots that have multiple feeder roots

What to Avoid:

  • Unfurled leaves, especially ones that are sunlight starved and white. This indicates that the plant broke dormancy.
  • Broken stalks on multi-branched plants like roses
  • Broken roots especially the large taproots
  • Root system that is too small to support the plant
  • Roots that twisted into a ball
  • Lopsided roots

Picking Container Plants

What to look for:

  • Plants with foliage on most branches. The leaves should be uniformed colored.
  • Sleek, healthy looking branches that are not dried out.
  • Well established roots that are surrounded by firm soil. If able, gently pull the plant from the container to inspect the roots.
  • Leaf and bloom nodes are ready to burst even in early season.
  • Shape that is appropriate for the cultivar and species of the plant.
  • Uniformly moist soil.

What to avoid:

  • Healthy foliage on top but brown foliage underneath.
  • Broken branches.
  • Diseased foliage
  • Large roots coming from the container
  • Roots that have been exposed on the This may actually indicate that the plant did not sell during the last season and that the vital soil and nutrients have been lost.
  • Pot bound roots. Pull the plant from its container and check to see if the roots encircle the plant, if it does that means that it has grown too long in the container.

Phoenix Valley Nursery Stores

If you live in the Phoenix Valley A&P Nursery has 4 locations to serve you.  The east valley locations are easy to get to and are full of top quality locally grown plants, shrubs, trees, and other great options for your landscape.  Our team has a wealth of knowledge about all things green and can help you start your garden or landscaping project.  We can also help you find the perfect tools to maintain your landscape to ensure it stays healthy and looking its best.

Click To See All The Types Of Plants In Our Nursery

Call or visit one of our 4 locations today

How To Harvest Vegetable Gardens

If you’re searching for how to harvest vegetable gardens you’re probably right at the end of a growing season looking for the best tips.  A lot of different kinds of vegetables mature around the same period of time so it can be a task for backyard vegetable gardeners to keep up.

When Are Vegetables Ready?

The majority of veggies are ready and at their peak of flavor and tenderness when they are smaller.  Zucchini is one of the veggies that is best to pick smaller than wait for them to grow into giants.  They are best when they are about 6 or 7 inches long.  When they are grown too long they get woody and tough.

Keep Track Of Your Vegetables Planting

Seed packets indicate how long it will take for your seeds to grow and mature into the veggies you are excited about growing.   Keep your seed packets, mark your calendar, or use an online calendar to mark the approximate date the plants should be close to ready to harvest.

Keep Track Of Vegetable Varieties

Different varieties of fruits and veggies are designed to grow to different sizes before they are harvested.  One variety of beans might be ready when they are quite short while others can grow to more than a foot before they are ready.  Even watermelon varieties can differ a lot between when they are ready to harvest.  Know what you planted, keep track of their progress, and mark your calendar.

Harvesting Tips

As your garden grows and once it is ready to harvest it is important to keep an eye out for trouble and easier to harvest in small steps.  All of your veggies will probably not be ready on the same day, so picking what is ready daily will take less time and effort than dedicating an entire day to doing all of it at once.

Harvest Daily

One way to stay on top of harvesting is doing a little each day by taking your basket out and inspecting your vegetables to see what is ready to pick.  If you pick your veggies as soon as they are rip it encourages the plant to keep growing more.

Watch For Trouble

As you tend your garden or harvest it is important to watch for trouble in your garden.  Rotting fruit or yelling leaves are signs of problems and should be removed.  Even if the problem is serious such as a branch having cracked from excessive rain or a blossom end rot its best to remove the problem areas.  If you don’t your plant is wasting resources on fruits you won’t be able to eat.

Common Vegetable Harvesting

There are some varieties of vegetables which end up in practically every backyard garden.  Things like tomatoes, herbs, green beans, sweet corn, peas, and root veggies. Read below for tips for harvesting specific types of veggies.

Harvesting Sweet Corn

The key to sweet corn is when you harvest.  This is a variety of corn which beings to lose that wonderful sweet flavor the moment it is picked.  That means growing it in your garden is the ultimate way to get the absolute best sweet corn flavor.  In fact in years past many families wouldn’t pick it until a pot of water was already boiling and ready to blanch it.  Your sweet corn is ready to harvest when you can feel the kernels are full and round beneath the husk, a kernel produces a milky sap when squished, and the silk at the top of is drying out.

Harvesting Tomatoes

There are so many different varieties of tomatoes that it is impossible to list exactly when to harvest each of them without a post dedicated to harvesting tomatoes.  There are larger slicer types that take much longer than cherry tomatoes and even more variety.  Follow the seed packets carefully to know when to check these tomatoes.  Tomatoes produce the best flavor when they are allowed to fully ripen on the vine, but do continue to ripen even after being picked.

Harvesting Herbs

Unlike other kinds of veggies or fruit harvesting herbs is an ongoing and frequent process.  Cut back or pinch herbs often to encourage them to grow new stems and leaves.  These are the parts we eat and the more shoots your herbs have to produce, they more you will get. This means you will probably have an excess of things like basil or oregano but they can be used for recipes like pesto or oregano can be dried in brown paper bags.

Vegetable Gardening Nursery & Supply

If you want to get the most out of your vegetable garden our team has the knowledge to grow local, best plants, best seeds, and even carry easy gardening kits to get you started.  No matter what stage you’re at we can help you maximize your backyard gardening efforts!

Call or visit one of our 4 locations today

Does Every Cactus Grow Flowers?

Cacti are common in Arizona and the Phoenix Valley, but does every cactus grow flowers?  When they do they are some of the most beautiful displays imaginable.  If you own a cactus or are thinking of growing one you will want to read this to make sure you understand which cacti grow flowers, how long it will take, and how often they will bloom.

Which Cactus Grow Flowers?

Cacti are flowering plants, and that means all cacti are able to grow flowers when they are mature.  The key to your cactus growing flowers is waiting for age and caring for it the right way.  Some cacti species don’t reach maturity for 30 years, such as the Saguaro Cactus, which means it’ll take that long to see the first blooms.

Other cacti will not bloom even once they are mature if they are not getting the right watering, light conditions, and fertilization.   Cacti grown indoors are notorious for not blooming as they many times do not get the right balance of short days and long nights.

Cacti Flowering by Size

The time it will take for your cactus to flower depends largely on the size of the cactus.  Giant cactus such as the Saguaro will take 10 times as long to reach maturity and have the ability to flower.  Keep in mind that each cactus must have a balance between the right light per day, correct watering, good soil, and be fertilized correctly.

Round Cacti

Some of the cacti that bloom the most are in the round category of cacti.  They can bloom as early as 3 to 4 years after they sprout.  Two of the most popular cacti are the Rebutia and Pincusion cactus.  They both produce beautiful flowers once they have reached maturity.  The flowers they grow can range in color from white, magenta, pink to red, green, yellow, purple and orange.

Short Stem Cacti

Stems on short columnar cacti typically flower within 5 years of germination.  The Hedgehog Cactus, Easter Lily Cactus, and Peanut Cactus are 3 of the most popular examples of short stem cacti that grow well in USDA zones 8 through 11.  Flowers for this type of cactus range in size and color yet offer owners an amazing display of color.

Columnar Cacti

The taller growing columnar cacti many times take longer to mature, which means longer to grow flowers.  However cacti grown from rooting branches from mature cacti that are already blooming will continue to flower, if the water, light, and fertilizing is right. Saguaro branches will not root so all Saguaro are grown from seed as it is against federal law to remove them from habitat.  That means that Saguaro can take 40 to 55 years to flower when they start as a seed.

Best Indoor Flowering Conditions

To grow flowering cacti indoors in pots you will want to ensure that your cactus is getting at least 4 hours of sunlight per day.  Morning sunlight is best as it is less harsh as afternoon sunlight, so if you have a patio or window that is east facing it is a great place to put your cactus.  Water your cactus regularly for the season of growing.

It’s important to allow the top 2 inches of water to dry out before you water again and make sure water is coming through the drainage holes on the pot.  For indoor growing using a soilless option is a great cactus growing medium.  Use equal parts of vermiculite, peat, and perlite which will be well draining and easy to fertilize.  Each month fertilize your cactus during the spring and summer using a half strength high phosphorous, low nitrogen formula that helps encourage flowering.

Phoenix Valley Cactus Nursery

If you are looking to buy a new cactus, get the best fertilizers, or learn how to get your cactus to bloom, we can help!  Having a cactus in your home or yard is a way to have a living piece of the Southwest and when they bloom the color is vibrant and beautiful.  Get all the help you need to get your cactus to flower in Arizona with the help of A&P Nursery!

Call or visit one of our 4 locations today

How Hydroponics Works

If you’re searching the phrase “How Hydroponics Works” this post is to help you understand what hydroponics is and how it works.  Hydroponics offers gardeners a way to grow more, more quickly.  Read more below to get the full description of how hydroponics can help you grow more vegetables and other healthy plants.

What is Hydroponics?

By definition, hydroponics is a technique for growing plants in a solution that is rich in nutrients and water based. Hydroponics is a method that doesn’t use soil, root systems are supported by inert mediums, such as rockwool, perlite, peat moss, clay pellets, or vermiculite. The basis of hydroponics is to enable the roots of plants to be directly in contact with nutrient rich solution, and oxygen that is important for healthiest growth.

It is highly recommended that this guide is read through, allowing you to learn the most about hydroponics as possible prior to beginning your garden. If you do not plan on using a hydroponics garden, the guide can still be worth reading, as you will learn what plants require in different stages of their growth, all by reading about hydroponic basics.

Advantages of hydroponics

Using hydroponics to grow provides several advantages, with the largest being an increase growth rate for plants. Having the proper setup can allow plant to mature at a faster rate, up to 25%. Faster maturity means quicker and more produce, up to 30% compared to the same plant in a soil based garden.

Plants are able to grow quicker, and larger due to reduced stress to obtain the required nutrients. With hydroponics, even a small root system can provide plants with what it requires. This allows plants to focus towards growth above the surface, rather than root system expanding below the surface.

This is possible because of careful control over pH levels and the nutrient solution. Using a hydroponic garden system reduces the amount of water used compared to soil based gardens. Being an enclosed setup, it has a lower amount of evaporation. Finally, hydroponics is actually more environmentally friendly, as it reduces the amount of pollution and waste associated with soil runoff.


Although there are several advantages to a hydroponics system, as with anything, there are some disadvantages too. The largest disadvantage most people run into with having a quality hydroponics system, no matter the size, is the cost. A hydroponics setup is more expensive than a soil setup, but you get what you pay for and dirt is not very expensive.

Hydroponics setups on a larger scale can be time consuming to get started, especially if you are not very experienced as a grower. Also, managing a hydroponics system is time consuming to maintain. The nutrient and pH levels must be monitored and balanced, daily.

The largest risk factors with having a hydroponics system are mechanical failures, such as a pump. Depending on the scale of your system, a pump failure could kill your plants in a few hours. The reason plants can quickly die, is due to the medium being unable to absorb and store water, unlike soil. Therefore, plants in a hydroponics system depend realty on fresh water supply.

Types of Hydroponic Systems

Hydroponics offer several different types of systems. Some of the highest quality, and popular hydroponic systems available are hybrid hydroponic systems which combine various types of hydroponic setups. What makes hydroponics unique, is the various methods available to get nutrient solution to plants.

Deepwater Culture

The Deepwater Culture (DWC) method is also referred to as the reservoir method. It is the easiest technique to grow plants using a hydroponic system. The Deepwater Culture hydroponics system allows roots to suspend directly in the nutrient solution, which then gets oxygenated with an aquarium air pump to avoid roots of plants from drowning. It is important to prevent any light from entering this system, as it can result in algae growth. Algae wreaks havoc on hydroponic systems.

With Deepwater Culture systems, the main advantage is not having a pray or drip emitter that can clog. Therefore, DWC is a great option for those wanting an organic hydroponic system, because organic nutrients have a higher clog rate.

Nutrient Film Technique

The Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is a form of hydroponics that uses a continuous flow, where the nutrient solution constantly flows over roots of plants. Generally, the setup has a slight tilt so that gravity forces the flow of nutrient solution.

This setup works well as plant roots will absorb more oxygen from air, rather than nutrient solution. This provides plants with the nutrients they require, as only root tips are in contact with the nutrient solution. However, growth rate is increased as plants are able to obtain more oxygen.


An aeroponics hydroponics setup uses a misting technique to get the nutrient solution to the roots, which are suspended in the air. There are two main methods for getting solution on the exposed roots. First, misting the roots using a fine spray nozzle. Second, using a pond fogger. When using a pond fogger, you want to use one with a Teflon coated disc to lower the amount of required maintenance.

One commercialized aeroponics system you may have heard of is the AeroGarden. When starting out with aeroponics, the AeroGarden is a good entry point. This turn-key system has limited setup requirements, and has greater supplies and support to get going.


The wicking method is the least expensive, and easiest method of hydroponics. The concept of wicking includes having a material, such as cotton. The roots of your plants grow around one end of the material, while the other end is placed within the nutrient solution and gets transported to the roots via the material.

Although, this method can be simplified even more if you remove the wicking material and apply a medium which provides the ability of wicking the nutrients directly to the roots. To do this, suspend the bottom of the medium material in the nutrient solution. We highly recommend using a medium such as vermiculite or perlite. You should avoid mediums such as coconut coir, Rockwool, and peat moss due to their absorption rates being too high, which can result in plants being suffocated.

Ebb & Flow

Ebb & Flow hydroponic systems are also called flood and drain systems. They are a good system to grow plants with hydroponics. It works by flooding the growth area at certain intervals with nutrient solution. The solution then drains slowly, back in the reservoir. Using a pump hooked to a timer, it repeats the process at certain intervals to provide the amount of desired nutrients.

The Ebb & Flow hydroponic system is an ideal method for plants used to times of dryness. Specific plants will flourish when going through slight dry spells, as it results in the root systems growing to find moisture. With the roots growing bigger, plants are able to grow quicker due to more nutrients being absorbed.

Drip System

They drip system hydroponic setup is basic, as drips systems work by providing the hydroponic medium with a slow flow of nutrient solution. It highly recommends a slow draining medium, such as coconut coir, Rockwool, or peat moss. If you use a medium with a faster drain rate, you will want to use a faster drip emitter.

One of the major disadvantages to a drip system is the emitter/dripper is popular for clogs. Although we prefer to avoid using a drip system, they can be very effective for growing with hydroponics, if you can prevent clogs that are common with this method. The drip system clogs due to particle build up from the nutrients. There is an increased risk of clogging for those using organic nutrients.

Useful Tips

We recommend that you change the nutrient solution out of your system’s reservoir every two or three weeks.

Reservoir water temperature should remain between 65 and 75 degrees. The water temperature can be maintained using a water chiller or heater.

By using an air pump equipped with a flexible tube and air stone can increase the circulation while keeping nutrient solution properly oxygenated.

In situations where plants do not appear healthy, either distorted or discolored, the first step you should take is checking and adjusting pH levels. If you find the pH levels are not the issue, flush the system using a solution, such as Clearex.

It is recommended that you follow feeding cycles that the nutrients’ manufacturer provided.

Once your growing cycle is finished, flush, clean and sterilize the whole hydroponic system. Your reservoir should be drained and any debris removed, followed by running the whole system for a day using a combination of non-chlorine bleach and water. You should use 1/8th cup non-chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Finally, drain the system again, and remove any bleach by flushing it using clean water.

Why Choose Hydroponics?

A hydroponic system is a great option for all forms of growers. The reason it is such a good option is due to it providing the ability to control variables which impact your plant growth. Finely tuned hydroponic systems are able to surpass the plant quality of soil based systems, and yields more produce.

Hydroponics is the best option if you want to grow the largest, healthiest, and tastiest plants possible. Initially it can appear intimidating with the work and equipment involved, but once you familiar with the setup it will seem much simpler. Begin small, keeping things simple, and you will be amazed with your hydroponic system.

Phoenix Valley Gardening Supply

If you are looking for the best quality vegetable seeds, plants, or nutrients for your hydroponic system A&P Nursery carries the healthiest locally grown plants, has helpful and friendly staff, and can help you with all of your gardening and landscaping needs.  Visit one of our 4 locations or call with your questions.

Types Of Plant Nurseries

There are three main categories for plant nurseries, which are: ‘Wholesale‘, ‘retail‘, and ‘mail-order‘.

On This Page:

Those who grow plants and flowers in bulk in order to resell to retailers, and certain businesses, such as landscapers and/or building contractors, are known as ‘wholesale nurseries’.

Wholesale Nurseries

Setting up wholesale nurseries consists of several decision making strategies, which have to be made before hand, things like what are you going to grow, who the customers are going to be, and your plans on delivering the plants or flowers to the customers. For instance, let’s suppose that your largest customers are going to be landscapers, in this case, it more than likely means that you will need to grow plenty field grown plants a little on the larger scale, and the plants and flowers for the summer will need to be plenty of container grown plants for transplanting.

Land & Labor Considerations

However, should you have Garden Center customers, you will need your plants and flowers to be accessible all year around, which means they will need to grow in containers that are singular, double, and quads. When you decide what it is you are going to be growing just remember that the key of a wholesale nursery making profit is to have a limited variety, and then grow large amounts of them. In order for the wholesale nurseries to be able to make their business work, they need a lot of land for growing, and a huge workforce.

Plant Selection

 Wholesale nurseries sometimes specialize in the smaller starter plants; in the nursery industry they are known as ‘liners’. This type of nursery will sell their liners to both, wholesalers and retailers alike, and they will continue to grow them, selling to their own customers. Wholesale liner nurseries will typically include plants like tissue cultured plants, seedlings, and rooted cuttings. Because of they are cheaper to obtain and easy to grow, liners today are being produced from seeds. Plants which have been genetically improved of their uniformity, size, color, and many other traits, are the vegetative propagated liners, which have been becoming very popular as liner products. Included in the liner business is the need of maintaining plants at longer periods of time should there be difficulties that arise, which also includes a requirement of establishing a better cutting stock. Those who grow seeds have to be knowledgeable in the regards to the seeds provenance, for some trees might not do too well in different areas, as they would in another.

Retail Nurseries

It is not hard to guess who retail nurseries sell too, of course, they sell their plants to their retail customers. There are a few retail garden centers who will grow many of their plants themselves, however, most of them will purchase the plants from a wholesale nursery too resell to their customers. It is important that retail nurseries stay focused on their customer’s needs, this will let them know just what it is they should be selling. The retail nurseries high end or higher profit items includes plants in the larger sizes, and also accessories, such as window boxes, garden tools, and birdbaths, among many other accessories. The retail nurseries can make some of their profit from creating custom planters and replanting using decorative containers.

Mail-Order Nurseries

Selling their products through the mail are the mail-order nurseries. Many are still growing their own plants, while others are purchasing from the wholesalers to resell. More than any of the other nursery businesses, when in the mail-order nursery business, it is significant to be able to define your customer base. The nurseries that specialize in growing plants that are unique, and plants that are considered to be a specialty, which they are able to ship anywhere they want will have the highest profit margin, this is because the mail-order nurseries selling their plants to be picked up locally at a retail nursery are going to be less popular.

Phoenix Valley Nurseries

If you are looking for a local plant nursery to buy your plants, trees, or shrubs from in Mesa, Queen Creek, or Gilbert, Arizona A&P Nursery offers plants grow for sale by our own hands here in the valley.  We grow our own stock to ensure the quality, health, and that the plants will thrive despite our incredible summer time heat.  We have the right plants, tools, and knowledge for the Valley of the Sun and can help educate you on how to get the job done, or schedule services from our trusted landscaping partners.

Top 10 summer bedding plants

If you are searching for the top 10 summer bedding plants this post is for you.  Summer bedding plants don’t need to be marigolds and petunias. There are a lot of common bedding plants but there are also a lot of varieties of annual bedding plants that you can grow for color, height, and scent such as sweet pea to cornflowers to zinnias to Rudbeckia. There are some like geraniums and petunias that are perennials that are very frost tender, which will need to be treated like an annual and will need frost protection. There are others that are hardy annuals that you just place outside. Most all summer bedding plants can be grown from a seed, but there will be a lot work to grow them, from germination to pricking out the tiny seedlings. If you don’t have space or time for raising a seedling, then try bedding plug plants to start your garden quickly. It is easy to order your bedding plants online. Below are the best summer bedding plants.


This is a very versatile summer bedding plant. They are loved for their large, colorful blooms and the ability to thrive in shade and sun. They flower through the summer and do so until the first frost. Begonia bedding plants can be trailing or upright are great for beds, hanging baskets, window baskets, and borders. There are some varieties like the Non-Stop Mocca Begonia that has dark leaves that add some interest to the flowers. Tuberous Begonias may be lifted and stored during winter and will get much bigger every year where the semperfloren cultivars like the Lotto Mixed are just annual bedding plants.

Sweet pea

Sweet pea makes a great cottage bedding plant. Let them grow around netting, obelisks, or wigwams where they will reach heights of 6 feet or try the dwarf variety for ground cover on borders and in front of beds. They have a delightful fragrance and a variety of colors. Sweet pea is a great summer bedding plant and provide plenty of fragrant, gorgeous cut flowers during summer.

Busy Lizzie

If you have a shadier bed and borders, then Impatiens summer bedding plants will give you plenty of large flowers in plenty of colors from reds to white to pinks and purples. The New Guinea Impatiens has taken the place of Impatiens Walleriana because of the Busy Lizzie downy mildew, but they have the same characteristics. They have a long flowering period, bushy habit, and a preference for partial shade. They form big spreading plants and are great for ground cover in borders and beds or they can fill your patio containers with color to the first frost.


These are common bedding plants for a really good reason. They are sun loving, sturdy plants that are great for dry, hot conditions and will flower until the first frost. Pelagoniums, called Geraniums, are very versatile plants for summer that including upright, trailing and climbing varieties that are great for obelisks, borders, beds, hanging baskets and patio containers. They are mainly available in shades of red, pink, and white as well as bedding plants in shades of burgundy, lilac, and apricot.


This plant is loved for their flower spikes and long flowering period. Antirrhinums have a unique mouth-like flowers that will open when they are squeezed which make them a favorite for children. They come in a range of vibrant and strong colors. They will vary in height from the dwarf plants being 10 inches tall to the Royal Bride variety that reach 35 inches tall. Tall Antirrhinums or Snapdragons make great cut flowers and will add height to your borders and beds. The dwarf variety may be used in patio containers, beds and borders. If you are looking for a plant that attracts bees, then Snapdragons are the way to go as they are a good source of nectar and are popular with the bumble bee.


The dainty flowers of this plant will create unique waterfalls of color in containers and hanging baskets, or you can grow the upright varieties for edging your borders and beds. They have long flowering periods and are easy to grow, and they also compliment any summer bedding plan that you have and look great mixing with other types of plants in a hanging basket.  Lobelia comes in shades of white, blue and purple. They are great if you are looking for annual bedding plants that are blue.


This is a summer bedding plant that has exciting blooms. Petunias are quite popular for their large trumpet shaped flowers in a variety of bright patterns and colors such as picotees and stripes. These are half-hardy annuals that can be upright or trailing, and look great in hanging baskets, window containers or boxes, or in borders or beds. There are some petunias like Purple Tower that will train itself to climb frames. If you are looking for purple bedding plants, then petunias are the choice as they come in lilac-blue, deep purple, and mauve.


Rudbeckias or coneflowers are cheerful and robust bedding plants. They are great as late summer bedding plants, as they flower from July to October and add some fire to your annual displays with yellow, red, and orange colors. Varieties like Toto are great for patio containers and beds and the varieties like Cherry Brandy are great tall varieties work well in beds or borders or planted between shrubs and perennials. They look great in the garden and they also make great cut flowers for indoor vases.

Californian Poppy

If you are wanting vibrant colors, then you can’t beat the Californian Poppy. This is a very hardy annual that is grown in borders and beds and will self-seed, which create plenty of colors every year. Normally, they are orange, but new breeding has introduced colors of apricot, yellows, pinks and reds. They have silky blooms that are in neat clumps of blue-green foliage and will attract hoverflies and bees. They work well in dry, poor soil in full sun. Simply scatter the seeds where you want them and they will do the rest.


If you have been looking for a bedding plant that will attract bees, then you need Cosmos. These unique shaped flowers are on wiry, slender stems and are a good source of late nectar for any pollinating insects. They have fern like foliage which adds texture to bedding plans and works great in a cottage style border or bed. They mainly come in shades of white, pink and red, although Cosmos Sulphureus will provide fiery reds, yellows and oranges. They often bloom during mid-summer and will flower until mid-autumn. They also make unique cut arrangements for indoor vases.

Summer Bedding Plants Arizona

If you are looking to buy quality plants from local nurseries A&P Nursery has locally grown high quality nursery stock of bedding plants.  Our plants are ready for your landscape and the heat of Arizona as they are grown locally.  We carry a wide selection of bedding plants at our 4 locations in Mesa, Queen Creek, and Gilbert.  Stop by or call today!

Tips for Fertilizing Arizona Plants

Tips for Fertilizing Arizona Plants


If you’re searching for tips for fertilizing Arizona plants, this is the article for you.  The fertilizing process is an important part of gardening as it keeps trees and plants healthier and ensures they are getting all of the nutrients required for a stimulated growth.

Fertilizers on this Page:

Primary Fertilizer Nutrients

Fertilizer mixes are created with three main nutrients or ingredients which act as a plant based multi-vitamin.  These are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous:

N = Nitrogen Photosynthesis, which is the process that plants use for converting sunshine into food. Nitrogen is used by plants to assist them in producing chlorophyll, which is the main chemical in the process of photosynthesis.

K = Potassium, which assists the plant in manufacturing and digesting food.

P = Phosphorous, which assists in supporting and stimulating stronger development of blossoms, fruits, stems and roots.

Various types of fertilizers are available. Prior to making a decision on the fertilizer, you should determine the type of plants, soil, trees or shrubs that will need to be fertilized. Keep in mind that with fertilizing, more is not always better, as fertilizing too much can lead to plants being damaged.

Fertilizer Varieties Available

When you need help with answering any fertilizing questions or advice on products, your AP Nursery specialists are ready and willing to help. Below are some of the fertilizing products offered:

Planting Mix & MulchA&P Moisture Mulch

This is a 2 cubic foot bag of composted mulch and nutrients. When purchased with plants it provides a 6 month warranty for plants.

Fruit Tree Citrus Tree Pecan Tree FoodBedding Plant Food

This is a great option when you’re preparing a new flower bed or even after you’ve planted your bedding plants.  Good for year round use you can get either a 4 lbs or 15 lbs bag.  This product has a 7-22-8 analysis.

Fruit Tree Citrus Tree Pecan Tree FoodFruit, Citrus and Pecan Tree Food

This fertilizer is great for used in spring, summer, and fall and helps your nut and fruit trees grow.  Available in either 4 lbs or 20 lbs bags this product has a 19-10-5 analysis.

Plant Food FertilizerGardener’s Special

A favorite with gardeners who grow vegetable gardens, flower beds, and roses it can be used all year long or after planting. Available in either 4 lbs or 15 lbs bags this product has a 11-5-11 analysis.

Green Maker Lawn FertilizerGreen Maker

If you want to get the green lush lawn that makes a house feel like a home this product is perfect. It is specifically formulated for alkaline soils that features slow release nitrogen and is high in iron which grows the lushest green lawns. It is available in 30 lbs bags and consists for 18-06 + 10% sulfur.

New Lawn StarterNew Lawn Starter

Starting your lawn in the heat takes the right planning and products.  This product is formulated to help your new lawn grow faster, stronger, and be greener.  It promotes better root systems and is designed for use when prepping soil, seeding, sodding, or sprigging. Available in a variety of sizes this product has a 9-13-7 analysis.

Palm Tree FoodPalm Tree Food

Palm trees might not be native to Arizona but they have become one of the icons for many homes and business parks.  This palm food is designed to keep your palm trees looking great during hot summer months.  Available in 20 lbs bags it has a 12-8-4 analysis.

Root Stimulator & Plant Starter SolutionRoot Stimulator

When transplanting trees or shrubs it can shock the plant.  Root stimulator helps ease relocation or even established plants which are stressed.  Available in 1 pint, 1 quart, and 1 gallon sizes this product has a 4-10-3 analysis.

Tree & Shrub FoodTree & Shrub Food

If you want to have the best looking oak tree, evergreens, or palm trees in the valley this is the product to use.  Good for use in spring, summer, and fall this product is designed to give your majestic trees everything they need to stay looking regal. Available in 4 lbs or 20 lbs bags it has a 19-8-10 analysis.

Lawn FertilizerWeed-Out Lawn Fertilizer

If your lawn has weeds and could use a boost for growing more lush and green Weed-Out Fertilizer is a great option. Not only does it help your lawn grow greener and more thick but it helps kill the weeds growing along side the blades. Available in either 20 lbs or 40 lbs bags this product is best used when it is under 95°F on weeds that have broad leaves.


Fall fertilizer for your lawn

Keep your lawn cut to about two or three inches to produce healthy grass roots. By cutting the grass too low, you will cause them to die quicker and it can result in patches being left.

  • During fertilizing, ensure you should use the 3-1-2 ratio (law to food).
  • Spread annual rye grass seeds on your lawn in the warmer season for adding color throughout winter, while reseeding the lawn on thinner areas.
  • Apply ½ inch of compost for the top-dressing to help build the root system for your grass.
  • In areas that are compacted, ensure you aerate the lawn using an aerator machine.
  • Ensure your lawn is watered during the fall, especially in the event a dry month occurs.


Pomegranate Tree Fertilizing: When it comes to fertilizing pomegranate, using a fertilizer that contains ammonium sulfate is a good choice. Use roughly 1/3 cup and sprinkle it on the ground near the roots to help add nutrients to the soil which the tree will require for healthy growth. During the first year of growth, you should do this about three times. The best months for fertilizing are Feb. May, and Sept.

Cherry Tree Fertilizing: If your cherry tree has consistently grown more than eight inches, fertilizing is not required. However, if the growth rate is under eight inches, you should use some fertilizer rich in nitrogen. Start by measuring the tree 12 inches from the ground and apply 1/8thlb. of nitrogen per inch of the trunk’s diameter.

Fig Tree Fertilizing: There are many times when a fig tree is planted directly into the ground, there’s no need for fertilizing. However, there is an exception if the soil is sandy. If you are not sure if the soil you tree is planted in contains the nutrients needed, you can take a sample and have it tested. If it is determined the soil is low in nutrients, you should get ½ lb. of nitrogen and split it equally over three treatments. You should apply nitrogen in the growing months of May, June, July.

Indoor Succulents Fertilizing: Similar to other type of plants, succulents experience the most growth during spring and summer months. You should ensure that your succulents are fertilized three to four times between spring and summer. Using the standard houseplant type fertilizer will work, but ensure that you use half the recommended amount when being used on succulent plants. You do not need to fertilizer the indoor succulent during the fall and winter months, because the growth either slows or fully stops.

Fertilizer For Sale In East Valley

Your landscape needs a helping hand in Arizona and if you live in the East Valley of Phoenix A&P Nursery has all of the fertilizers you will need to take your yard from average to all the rage. Stop by and see one of our garden experts to help choose the right fertilizers for your needs.

Garden Soil Vs. Potting Mix | Differences

For many passionate gardeners they’ve had to find out what the advantages are for Garden soil vs. Potting mix.  Depending on your application with regard to the soil’s  moisture and nutrient retention characteristics you will want one over the other.

Garden Soil Vs Potting Mix

Knowing your types of soil can mean the difference between a successful and satisfying season of gardening and wasting your time and effort trying to cultivate ground that will never pay you back by rewarding your efforts with a vibrant and healthy garden.

Potting Mix

Potting mix is a manufactured soil type and one caveat that it carries is the fact that it does not contain very much actual organic material. The main feature of potting soil is its ability to retain moisture within a container that contains a plant or several plants. As time passes potting soil can become dry and will actually begin to repel water as it ages. When this happens topping off your potting soil with organic material is recommended and very necessary in order for your potted plants to thrive.

Garden Soil

Garden soil and top soil usually come together in mixes with 50/50 ratios for each soil type. These soils are best used in open beds as opposed to enclosed areas such as pots. The reason for this is because these soil types tend to retain too much moisture when contained in enclosures as opposed to constantly being exposed to open air. Top soil and garden soil also has a tendency to pull away from the sides of containers when it is allowed to dry out. Some soils that contain clay can actually be too heavy for pots and will settle and compact in a manner similar to what concrete does.

Loam vs. Topsoil

Gardening Topsoil – Being the utmost layer of soil, topsoil can be up to 12 inches deep.  Being reliant on whatever organic matter has come to rest on it topsoil can vary between being very nutrient rich and not really worth much when coming to cultivating a healthy garden.  Also being reliant on geographical region it will just depend on if your clay, sand, or silt is present and in which distribution in your garden.  In addition depending on the area and previous owners it might contain chemicals and or pesticides.

Gardening Loam – This is a classification given to soil when the distribution of sand, clay and silt is relatively evenly distributed.  Generally speaking loam contains about 50% sand, 30-40% silt and 7-20% clay.  When people say they are selling loam it’s important to understand that calling something loam doesn’t specify the content of organic material but simply that it’s got a more even content of the other soil types.

Buying The Right Soil

It’s easy to confuse Topsoil and Loam because you can just naturally have a loam soil in your yard.  To keep them straight it’s easy to remember that topsoil simply refers to the location of the soil, while loam is a reference to the quality of the soil being balance between the other soil types.

Tree & Shrub Food
Lawn Fertilizer
Plant Food Fertilizer
Green Maker Lawn Fertilizer
Root Stimulator & Plant Starter Solution

When buying your topsoil a good rule of green-thumb is to pay attention to the type of topsoil you’re being offered.  It can just be topsoil, or it can be loam topsoil.  You can actually judge it for yourself and what to look for is for the soil to be crumbly yet not sticky or gritty.  It should also be firm enough to roll between your hands when moist.

Palm Tree Food
New Lawn Starter
Fruit Tree Citrus Tree Pecan Tree Food
Fruit Tree Citrus Tree Pecan Tree Food
Planting Mix & Mulch

Garden Soil Types

There are 6 main categories of soil types that you might find.  The way you categorize which type of soil you have in your garden depends on which type of particle happens be in the majority in your soil.

Clay Soils

Clay soils – This type of soil has over 25% clay.  It’s also colloquially known as heavy soil.  Despite the fact that this type of soil can be potentially high in nutrients they have a tendency to retain an excess of water due to capillary attraction with the tiny spaces between the plethora of clay particles.  This means that it takes longer to drain and longer to warm up than sandy soils.  During summer this soil can get so dry that cracks can show on its surface.   During the wetter months it tends to be easily compacted when walked on while wet.  This can be a challenging type of soil to cultivate, but with proper plant selection and a bit of patience it can be very rewarding.

This can be an excellent soil for shrubs and perennials such as Aster, Bergamot, Flowering quince and Helen’s flower.  Early soft berry crops and vegetables can be problematic to grow in clay rich soil because of it’s compact and cool nature.  In contrast summer crop vegetables, fruit trees and even ornamental trees and shrubs can thrive on this soil.

Chalky Soils

Chalky Soils – Having larger grained and usually stonier consistency than the other soils this soil type is free draining and tends to sit over chalk or limestone bedrock.  It’s high alkalinity can sometimes lead to yellowish leaves and stunted growth.  This tendency can be addressed by simply using some fertilizers to balance the PH and even adding some humus can counteract the quick draining and improve workability.

The types of plants that can thrive in this soil type are trees, bulbs like Lilac lilies, and vegetables such as beets, sweet corn, beets, and spinach.

Sandy Soils

Sandy Soils – In contrast to your Clay Soils the sand content is the vast majority of this soil type.  Additionally it’s known as light soil types.  During watering or rain storms they drain quickly and are easy to work and cultivate.  During the spring and morning these soils warm up more quickly than Clay Soils. The downside unfortunately is that they don’t hold nutrients and they dry out quickly.  Another potential problem is high levels of natural acidity in Sandy Soil.

As one of the most common soil types Sandy soil can excel at growing things like shrubs and bulbs.  It is great for Tulips, Hibiscus and tree mallow.  A wealth of vegetables do very well in this soil type, parsnips, carrots, and potatoes do very well.  In fact many of our produce is grown commercially in sandy soils.   These include zucchini, corn, squash, peppers, strawberries, lettuce, collard greens, peanuts, watermelon, tomatoes and lettuce.

Silt Soils

Silt Soils – The size of the particles are somewhere between your clay and sand type materials.  Its mineral origin is feldspar and quartz.  It’s commonly found in places where long gone lakes or rivers once existed and nutrient rich materials came to rest.  It’s considered by many to be among the most fertile soils available.  This soil drains better than Clay Soil but retains enough moisture to support healthy plant growth.

This is a great soil for things like grass, climbers, shrubs and perennials.  Trees like Willow, Cypress, Dogwood and Birch love this soil because of its moisture content.  In fact this can also be a great option for most of your fruit and vegetable crops.  Given there is sufficient drainage.

Loam Soils

Loam Soils – This type of soil is a combination of the soil types and ends up avoiding the extremes that Clay and Sandy soil types tend to have while still being very fertile.  Loams are easy to work and drain well.  There are Clay-Loam and Sandy-Loam variants just depending on the primary characteristics.

Being the balanced soil type most vegetable and berry crops will do very well in this soil.  You can also grow things like bamboo, perennials, shrubs, and more. . .the list of applications is exhaustive for this soil which is what makes it such a strong option for the serious gardener.  It does take a bit of maintenance with rotating your crops and maintaining the moisture of this soil, especially during the hotter and drier months.

Peat Soils

Peat Soils – Predominantly comprised of organic matter these are usually very fertile and hold a bunch of moisture.  However it is rarely found it gardens.  A soil is considered peat when it has in excess of 30% organic matter (dry mass) that has accumulated and composted on the surface.  Technically it is a heterogeneous mix of decomposed plant material that’s decayed in water saturated, oxygen free environment.

Being a great soil type for root type crops that thrive in well-drained soils you’ll have great success growing things like Witch Hazel, Heather, Camellia, and Lantern Trees.  As far as vegetables that love this soil type you’ll find legumes, root crops, and even salad type crops excel in this soil type.

East Phoenix Valley Soil & Fertilizer

The experts at A&P Nursery stand at the ready with a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all of your different gardening questions.  We can help you ammend your soil, use the right fertilizers for your plants, and even help you understand best practice watering for your soil type.  Give us a call we’ll help you develop a successful approach from the soil up to having a healthy and satisfying garden.  You can choose whichever location is most convenient for you.