Growing a Vegetable Garden in Arizona

Growing a Vegetable Garden in Arizona

If you are searching for “Growing a Vegetable Garden in Arizona” you’ve probably just bought your first home in the state and want to kick off your gardening right. A&P Nursery is Phoenix’ East Valley Nursery and gardening headquarters for the right tools, right plants, and the knowledge to do it right. This article is designed to help you understand the basics of gardening in the state.

Questions answered in this post:

What it takes to grow a vegetable garden in AZWhat does it take to vegetable garden in Arizona? – Gardening in Arizona can present unique challenges whether you are growing a garden for aesthetic purposes or one that produces vegetables and fruits. The intense desert climate in Arizona only lends itself to certain plant species that can flourish in the unique and dry climate. This article is going to focus on vegetable bearing gardens and how to maximize their potential if you happen to live in the desert Southwest.

The best location to grow your vegetable garden in AZWhat’s the best location for my vegetable garden in Arizona? – The first factors you need to consider are going to be the basics that will apply to gardening no matter where you are located on the planet; soil quality, water, sun exposure, timing. Making sure you have an adequate plan and location that will fully facilitate your garden’s anticipated needs is going to have the most influence on the potential success of your garden and the extent that the success can be maximized. Scout your property and pay close attention to the lay of the land and its surroundings. If you can’t find a plot with enough sun exposure, you may need to plant or remove a tree or two and also place or remove any objects you may want that can assist in the proper amount of sunlight reaching the hungry plants in your garden.  Vegetables need at least 6 hours of sunlight; they also need adequate time in the shade as the AZ sun can be quite harsh on overexposed plants.

The best soil type for vegetable growing in AZWhich soil type is best for growing vegetables in Arizona?  The vast majority of Mesa plants absolutely love gardening loam.  Loam is a soil classification that means that the soil is a balance clay and sandy soil.  This gives you the benefits of both and alleviates the drawbacks.

The best size of garden to start with in MesaWhat’s the best size of vegetable garden to start with? – The size of your garden is a factor that you need to decide early on as well. Starting small is best for most people because a smaller garden is much easier to manage. Starting smaller affords you the opportunity to know how much time and effort goes into even a small amount of plants, which will let you know how big of a garden you can actually attend to adequately.

Preparing the ground for a vegetable gardenHow do I prepare the ground for my Mesa vegetable garden? – Once you find the right plot for your garden you may have some work to do to properly prep it for planting. Sod may be on the plot you select and will need to be removed in order to be able to till the soil. Once you have removed the sod and tilled the soil, you can add organic compost, manure and planting soil before tilling a final time before starting the planting process.

Raised Garden Beds in MesaHow do I control soil quality and watering better? – Another way to get started with your garden is to use raised garden beds.  Using a raised garden system is highly recommended for gardening in Arizona. This will give you valuable added control over the overall conditions and soil quality of your garden.  If you aren’t Bob Villa you can always get yourself a pre-fabricated raised garden bed kit.

The vegtables that grow best in Mesa AZWhat vegetables grow best in Arizona? – The next factor to consider is which vegetable bearing plants can thrive in Arizona. The crops that are easiest to grow in AZ are green beans, herbs, peppers, sugar, snap peas, tomatoes, radishes, and carrots. Sticking to these varieties initially will not only set you up for success, it will give you valuable experience that will be much needed if you plan on branching out and growing varieties that are harder to foster in AZ. The best times of year to plant the seeds for the plants species listed above is between the months of November and March. Understand that around January frost becomes more likely and you should make sure your crops are covered so they do not become damaged or even die, due to frost exposure.

Growing a double crop of vegtables in Mesa AZCan I grow two crops of vegetables in Mesa?  There is a unique advantage to growing vegetables in Arizona and that is the fact that many vegetables can have double growing seasons. The fact that you can double your yearly harvests in AZ means that you potentially grow twice as much produce and that can save you money on groceries while eating fresh produce almost year round. As your green thumb becomes established, your harvests will increase and become exponentially more plentiful. This article is about vegetables, but is should be noted that the same goes for fruit and having citrus growing year round will provide a great aroma to your property as the trees bud and bear fruit.

Vegtables that love growing in Arizona SoilWhat’s the best vegetable to grow in Arizona?  Green Beans are one of the best vegetables to grow in AZ. The soil in Phoenix is especially well suited to the growing of green beans.  November is the recommended time of year to plant Green Bean seeds, just remember to cover the plants once frost becomes a threat. One option to avoid frost is to start the plants life indoors, moving them outside once the frost season has passed. You can also place tomato cages around your Green Bean plants in order to consolidate space in your garden. Sugar Snap peas are another vegetable that grows well in the same window. You can follow the same steps to avoid frost with Sugar Snap Peas that we mentioned using with Green Beans.

Vegtables that love growing in Arizona SoilAnother vegetable that loves the long growing year in Arizona is Parsley.  Parsley absolutely loves the Arizona climate and can thrive as much as you want it too. You may actually have to eventually limit the parsley as it can start to take over your garden. Planting in the springtime is recommended and once your plants begin to mature, you can have fresh parsley at the ready year round.

Best seeds for beginner vegetable gardener in Mesa AZWhat types of seeds are best for beginners in Phoenix? For the beginner gardener it helps to have a type of seed that germinates quickly and is heartier.  In Arizona, it is best to select seeds that have gestation periods of 60 days or less as they are the easiest to foster in the desert climate.

Gardening Tools for Growing vegtables in Mesa AZWhat tools do I need to garden in Arizona? – Like most things in life the right tools for the job makes the job that much easier, and more fun.  A good pair of gloves for the handling of prickly items, and also to offer a little protection from insects goes a long way. You’ll want a sturdy shovel for those pesky rocks and tougher soil that you might need to dig in to plant items with deeper root system, such as trees.  Having a garden spade makes maintaining edges around flower beds and the preparation for installing raised garden beds much easier than using a rounded shovel edge.

Watering system for vegetable gardens in Mesa AZHow do I water my vegetable Garden in Arizona? – Depending on the type of garden you plant and which vegetables you choose you will need different watering systems.  But having an automated system makes it that much easier for the passionate gardener.  You can get drip lines that put the water directly on the ground next to your vegetables instead of sprinklers, which are best suited for water lawns.

Keeping pests out of your garden in Mesa AZHow do I keep pests away from your vegetable garden? – There are various kinds of pests you can encounter here in Arizona.  Some will need professional removal, such as venomous snakes or scorpions.  Contact a licensed professional that has the training and right equipment to remove such pests.  For the rest of the insects and foraging animals you can use chicken wire or other types of fencing to keep them out.  As for insects there are different kinds of sprays available at your local gardening shop.

East Phoenix Valley Gardening Supply

A&P Nursery is your local expert in Mesa, Arizona.  We have the knowledge, we have the tools, and we are here to help you start, maintain, and push your garden up to a new level.  Contact our experts for the help that will get results and make your hard work come to bear great results.

“I was in a bind, I needed to fix up the garden of a rental house that my lease was coming to an end. The owners had planted geraniums and some had died during the summer heat. I had gone to Lowes/Home Depot in hopes to pick up a few and none had any (a little too early in the season for them). I looked online for local nursery’s and this was the closest one too me. I called ahead and the person on the phone was incredibly helpful and friendly. Made my way over and was instantly greeted the second I walked in. They walked me to the geraniums and helped me pick out the best one. They picked it up, rung it up, and brought it out to the car for me. They were knowledgeable, friendly, and even funny. This will be my official nursery for all of my planting needs.”
Kelly J. – 10/1/2016

Mesa Vegetable Gardening Specialists Nursery AZ


Growing Tomatoes In Arizona

Growing Tomatoes In Arizona

If you are searching for “Growing Tomatoes In Arizona” you are probably like a lot of Arizona residents and love the taste of fresh tomatoes. The best way to get fresh tomatoes is to grow them in your own garden. This guide will help you get the ball rolling on growing your very own tomatoes in your yard.

When To Start Your Tomato Plant
When To Start Growing Tomatoes In Arizona

The time to start your tomatoes growing in Arizona is 5-7 weeks before you plan on planting them into the ground. You want to wait for putting them into the ground until there is no chance there will be a frost. Waiting until this time also ensures that the soil has warmed up. For areas of Arizona that don’t experience frost or freezing temperatures this will be earlier than later.

If you are starting this way from the seed you will want to use a light soil mix and afford your tomato plants plenty of sunlight to help get them ready for planting outdoors. It is best if you can put them by a south facing window to get the most light possible. If this isn’t possible or there is too much shade you may choose to add additional light. Insufficient light at this stage produces tomato plants that are tall and spindly.

Planting Tomatoes In Arizona

When To Plant Your Tomato Plant

Whether you have started indoors from a seed or you bought a transplant from your local nursery the best time to plant is after the last danger of frost is over. This will vary depending on the latitude and altitude of where you live. The transplants you buy or the ones you have grown in your home should be about 6 to 10 inches in height.

How To Plant Your Tomato Plants

If you plan to trellis or stake your tomato plants you will want to space them 24 inches apart. If you plant to have more than one row the rows should be 3 feet apart. Staking or using the trellis system will help taking care of your tomatoes easier. Having them off the ground helps control and reduce fruit rot. Even spraying and harvesting requires less strenuous work.

Putting The Plant In The Ground

You will want to plant these so that only the top 2 or 3 sets of true leaves are above the surface of the soil. If you have used or bought biodegradable containers you will be able to tear open one of the sides to give the root system a head start.  If the plant containers are plastic or other non biodegradable materials you will want to knock them out the containers and work to help spread the roots gently.

Tomato Plant Care Arizona

First Watering & Starter Solution

Once you have the transplant in the ground at the right height you will want to press down on the soil to create a small depression in the ground. This will act as a water holding area to assist with property watering habits. To wash the soil you will want to pour about one pint on faster solution. The starter solution consists of 2 tablespoons of fertilizer per gallon of water.

Setting Your Stakes

Choose stakes that are about 6 feet long and about 2 inches wide. Drive them into the soil about 4 to 6 inches from the transplant and about a foot deep into the soil. Marking off the depth before you start will help you hit the right depth. Attach strips of cloth or heavy twine to your stakes every 10 inches. As the plant matures and grows you will want to gently tie it to the stake loosely at these areas.

Staked Plants Need Pruning

Tomato plants that will be grown using stakes should be pruned to only have 1 or 2 main stems. At the spots where the stem and leaf connect a new shoot will try to develop. If you plant to have to main stems you will need to choose a shoot, usually you want the first or second leaf stem to allow the second stem to grow. You will want to remove suckers or other shoots weekly to restrict your tomato plants to these two main stems.

What To Do If Your Tomato Plants Stop Growing
What To Do If Your Tomato Plants Stop Growing

Spring brings with it renewal and the excitement of a whole year of possibilities, both in and out of the garden. When we plant tomatoes we always are excited for warmer weather and a bountiful harvest.  The right conditions promote vigorous growth for tomato plants. However there are factors that will slow or even stop the growth of your tomatoes. Some of these factors include diseases, pests, inadequate pruning, genetic makeup, and soil quality.

Tomato Plant Soil Quality

All plants including tomatoes need good soil to grow. Good soil isn’t just soil that drains properly but is rich in nutrients. If the soil hasn’t been enriched with the right nutrients or it has been used for a number of years your tomatoes might have slow or stunted growth. Poor soil also produces weaker plants that are more susceptible to diseases and pests.

Tomato plants with poor soil nutrition will have fruit that stays small and takes longer to ripen. The way to fix your soil quality and provide the nutrients your plants need to grow is aged compost. You will want to surround all of your tomato plants with the compost with a layer of about 2 to 3 inches. As your tomatoes reach the size of golf balls you will want to add some fertilizer or ammonium nitrate. Repeat the application of fertilizer every 3 weeks while avoiding getting any on the plant’s leaves. Use 1 tablespoon of the 10-10-10 fertilizer and ensure that you water all of your plants deeply after you fertilize.

Tomato Plant Pruning

Many times tomato plants grow rapidly then stop putting out flowers and fruit. This can be due to what is called “suckers”. Suckers are extra branches that take away energy the plant needs to keep creating flowers and producing fruit.

Regular pruning helps cut down on the wasted energy in your tomato plants. The place to find these “suckers” is between two established branches. It is easy to prune these suckers off. All you need to do to remove a sucker is pinch at the base and wiggle it back and forth until it breaks off.

When tomato plants get bigger you should still consider pruning branches or stems that simply aren’t flowering or producing fruit. They are a drain on the overall resources of water and nutrients that will be better used on the producing stems.

Tomato Plant Diseases & Pests

Tomato Plant Diseases & Pests Arizona

Despite the best soil, watering, and nutrients you can still end up with serious problems from pests and diseases. After being attacked by insects or disease the plant must use the resources that would have gone into growth to repair the damage. Some of the common disease that reduce growth in tomatoes are blossom-end rot, root rot, wilt, fusarium crown rot, bacterial canker, and cucumber mosaic virus. The insects that can reduce or stop growth are hornworms, aphids, flea beetles, stinkbugs, and psyllids. Each pest and disease has their own treatment program so talking to your local nursery about the recommended approach to resolving your problem is the best course of action.

Weather & Tomato Plants

The weather when growing your tomatoes also plays a big part in your success. Excessively cold or hot weather can stunt the growth of your fruit. Mild weather is best for tomatoes, and that isn’t always possible in parts of Arizona. When daytime highs exceed 90° the tomatoes stop setting fruit. In fact if nighttime lows stay above 75° there are also growth issues. The low temperature for tomato plants is about 50°. When the weather is either too cold or too hot your tomato plants will focus on survival instead of growth. This means for the hotter parts of Arizona like Phoenix or Tucson you should consider having a climate controlled area with plenty of sun to grow your tomatoes.

Determinate Tomato Plants

Each living thing on the planet has its own genetic makeup, and tomato plants are no different. There are two main types of genetic makeup tomato plants, determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomato plants have a restricted height and grow only a certain amount of fruit. Indeterminate varieties however grow until the first frost of winter and are not limited to how many tomatoes they grow. You will know you have a determinate tomato plant if you see a blossom at the very top of the plant. This is how it signals that it will not be growing any higher.

Tomato Plants For Sale
Tomato Plants For Sale

If you want to get the best crop of tomatoes possible having the best seeds or transplants is right way to start. A&P Nursery has 4 convenient East Phoenix Valley locations to help you make the most of your garden. With the best seeds, plants, knowledge, fertilizer, and tools we will help you jump start your garden and get that “bumper crop” you’re dreaming of. Call or visit one of our locations today.

Making Terrariums

Making Terrariums Mesa AZ

Terrariums add life, beauty, and visual interest to any indoor spot. They add life to a well lit office or a room in your home and even help increase the oxygen content in the air. Having that bit of green in your spaces brings the touch of life to any setting. This guide will help you understand the steps needed to make your own terrarium.

Getting The Gear

Before you can start your terrarium there are a few things you need to collect and buy. You might already have a few of these laying around that you can re-purpose. Here is a list of what you will need to get started:

Terrarium Container

The container you build your terrarium can be as small or as big as you want. Popular containers people use for terrariums can be candy bowls, goldfish bowls, and even canning jars. You can even choose a container that features a top and a seal.

A Set Of Gloves

Many terrarium lovers choose to plant succulents and cactus as they are easy on the water, which means easy on the maintenance. Use gloves and protect your hands as you build your terrarium. It also keeps the possible stains of dirt off your hands.

Tools For Success

Depending on the size of your terrarium it might be difficult to reach into the container to position things. Having a nice set of long tweezers for positioning helps you get it right. Also some funnels or spoons help lay your layers of rock and soil evenly.

Base Layer

Having a place for the water to come to rest is critical for terrariums. Many people simply use rocks like marbles, polished pebbles, or even sea glass. Others choose to use activated charcoal to give the base layer the property of water cleansing.

Sheet Moss

Sheet moss in your terrarium helps create a layer to keep your charcoal clean. It helps separate the potting soil layer from the activated charcoal or substrate.

Potting Soil

Using potting soil that you buy at your local nursery is the best way to start your terrarium. Using soil from outside can be problematic as it might already contain seeds for other plants or the wrong pH balance for the type of plants you are adding to your terrarium.

Terrarium Plants

There are all sorts of options for terrarium plants. Most indoor plants are going to be placed in semi low light areas. Choosing plants that can thrive in low light is key to making a successful terrarium.

Putting Your Terrarium Together

Once you have all your materials, container, tools, and plants you are ready to get your hands dirty. Follow these steps to build your terrarium.

Step #1 – Make sure the container you have chosen is clean inside. Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean the container and that it is rinsed thoroughly.

Step #2 – Take a handful of your base layer, the rocks, and place them at the bottom of your container. This layer should be about 1-2 inches thick. Its purpose is aeration and drainage. Without the base layer being a place for water to drain your plants can be over-watered and have root rot.

Step #3 – Place your semi damp sheet moss on top of the layer of rocks. If you need to soak your sheet moss for a few seconds and gently squeeze it to remove excess moisture. Place it evenly and make sure it creates a nice seal on all of the edges to prevent soil from leaking into the base layer of rocks.

Step #4 – Using spoons or a funnel add your potting soil to your terrarium on top of the sheet moss. The type you use will depend on the type of plants you have chosen. Each type of plant typically says on its tag which type of soil is best. If you have multiple types of plants simply using a non-moisture-control soil should work fine.

If you want your terrarium to have a little visual interest you can choose to have valleys, hills, and an uneven surface with this layer. There should be several inches of soil for your plants to grow in and get the nutrients they need to thrive.

Step #5 – Much like planting your plants outdoors, you will need to loosen up the root ball. Then you will want to set them in a small divot in your soil and cover the roots with soil. If the plants you have chosen don’t quite fit you can trim them a bit to help add them to your terrarium.

Step #6 – Get some water in your terrarium. It will help the plants adjust to a new environment. Water sparingly as there are not drainage holes in terrariums. Most plants used for terrariums are also low water use plants so just keep an eye on your soil and make sure it doesn’t get too dry. Many owners simply mist their plants every other week and have plenty of water for their plants to grow.

For closed terrarium systems you will want to create a healthy balance of water which will heat up, evaporate, and then “rain” down on your plants each day to give them the water they need. This is a delicate balance and has to be carefully managed for sealed terrarium systems.

Terrarium Supplies – Phoenix Valley

If you are ready to make a terrarium and live in the Phoenix valley A&P Nursery has the plants, soils, tools and understanding to help you get started. Come take a look at our inventory of plants for your terrarium and get our expert advice on choosing the right soil and plants for the size of terrarium you want to start.

Growing Succulents Indoors In Phoenix


Many Phoenix residents live in apartments and urban areas with little space for a garden. Houseplants are a good way to bring the benefits of a living plant into your home, but many people struggle to remember watering as often as they should. Growing succulents indoors in Phoenix is a much easier undertaking, and they are visually amazing.

In nature succulents are naturally drought resistant due to the thick stems, fleshy leaves, and well developed root systems. This means they can absolutely horde water. This makes them perfect for indoor plants as they don’t need as much attention. One succulent everyone is intimately aware of are cacti. However cacti are just one example of succulents. The wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors is near limitless.

The succulent’s shapes are dramatic, otherworldly, and add unique appeal to any room of your home. Take a moment and learn how caring for one of these beauties can be simple and rewarding.

What Makes Growing Succulents Indoors Great?

The air inside our homes is naturally drier than outside. This fact makes it hard for most traditional houseplants to thrive. Succulents originate from areas of the world that are naturally dry. This makes them naturally better at surviving in dry environments, without showing signs of distress.

Choosing Indoor Succulent Containers

When choosing your container for your succulent your number 1 concern is drainage. The pot needs to have drainage holes so that water does not linger too long and rot the root system. Some choose to use non glazed pots for this very reason to help ensure proper drainage. Because some water is invariably going to find its way out of these drainage holes, get a drainage saucer to catch this water. No one likes having to mop up after a plant.

Indoor Succulent Soil

Like most desert plants succulents enjoy well draining, sandy soil. For the pots you plant your indoor succulents in you will want to duplicate that mix. This can be done by blending half potting soil with half sand. To make sure you have the right mix wet the soil and then squeeze it in your hand. If it falls apart you’ve got the right mix. If it holds together like playdough you need more sand.

Fertilizing Indoor Succulents

Much like most other plants succulents see the most significant growth in the spring and summer. Fertilize your succulents 3 to 4 times during the course of the spring and summer. Standard houseplant fertilizer is fine, but make sure you only use about half as much with your succulent plants. During the fall and winter the indoor succulent does not need to be fertilized as their growth has either slowed or stopped completely.

Indoor Succulent Light

The majority of succulents want the sunlight. Give them as much light as you can by placing them at a south or east facing window. During the warmer months succulents can be placed outside. Just ensure that they have a protected location from sudden downpours. Each succulent has a preferred amount of sunlight they prefer per day, take note as you are buying each type to ensure you get the best light.

Watering Indoor Succulents

While under watering is one of the common houseplant killers, over watering is the killer of indoor succulents. Succulents are a category of plants defined by their structural ability to collect and store water. Watering them too much causes root rot and can lead to their demise.

Your goal with indoor succulent watering is to provide just enough water that they are not withering. A visual clue that you need to water is the appearance of the leaves goes from a nice shine to a dull look. If the leaves start to pucker or shrink it is time to test the soil’s moisture. Place one of your fingers directly into the soil and put it 2 knuckles deep. If it is dry all the way down it is time to provide some water.

Put enough water that you can see that it is coming out of the drainage holes, and coming into the saucer. Before bed, just make sure that your drainage saucer is emptied so that the soil can dry completely. It is normal and healthy for the soil to dry out between waterings.

Indoor Succulent Nursery East Phoenix Valley

A&P Nursery has 4 locations in the East Phoenix Valley for all of your indoor succulent needs. We have the pots, plants, fertilizer and knowledge about how to best grow each of the different varieties of succulent plants in your Phoenix home. Stop by one of our 4 locations to get started with your indoor succulent garden.


Growing Vegetables in Raised Garden Beds

Growing Vegetables in Raised Garden Beds Mesa AZ

For the novice or beginner gardener the advantages of growing vegetables in raised garden beds might not be clear.  There are multiple benefits of using raised garden beds for growing all your herbs and vegetables.  Here we examine a list of advantages of raised garden beds.

Weed Control – The archenemy of the gardener is the weed, they are time consuming to remove and can wear a back out in no time at all.  Raised garden beds help minimize these pesky garden sapping annoyances.  If you start out with weed free soil you can dramatically cut down on worrying about hours spent weeding instead of growing those prize winning veggies.  Also because the raised garden bed is set on top of existing topsoil you can set weed barriers between existing soil and your new loam or potting soil to keep them from creeping in.

Pest Control – With the soil and plants raised up off the ground it can also be a great way to limit the exposure to slugs and snails.  If you are plagued by gophers you can also put down some chicken wire by the weed barrier which will prevent pests from tunneling in under your hard work.

Selective Soil – When you are starting from scratch you can build your soil right.  Using the best loam or potting soil you can launch your backyard garden with the best of everything.  Soil is critical in the game plan for your gardening success.  Loam is a balance of soil types with the benefit of sandy soil drainage but the advantages of nutrient rich clay soils. Raised Garden Beds also help keep your designer soil in your garden during heavy rains, instead of it eroding and washing away.

Controlled Drainage – Since you are creating a garden in an enclosed space you can also customize the bottom of the structure to allow varied levels of drainage to compliment the type of vegetables you are growing.  Keeping moisture around just a bit long from some is beneficial, while other types of fruit like watermelon enjoy a sandy soil that drains quickly.

Extended Growing Season – For plants and vegetables to thrive soil needs to warm up to a certain point.  Since the soil in the raised garden bed is getting heated from the sides it warms quicker than soil that’s just surrounded on all sides by more soil.  A raised garden bed is a great way to get your plants out of the cooler winter ground and get a head start on the growing year.

More Ergonomic – Most people aren’t thrilled with the thought of a day hunched over with their back crying out for relief as you tend you garden and further your green thumb.  Raised garden beds are a more ergonomic way of gardening as the plants are higher up and easier to reach.  In fact if the proper steps are taken and the right materials and fasteners are used during construction gardeners are able to sit on the sides of these beds and comfortably tend their soil and plants.

Ability to Relocate – Despite if it’s across the yard or across town you can move these raised garden beds.  With standard gardening your plants are in the ground and you just have to leave it all behind and start over at the next place.

Higher Yields – You’re starting your garden earlier, pests are held at bay with a raised barrier, you’ve got betters soil, you’ve got better drainage.  This is the perfect storm to get better yields from your garden.  If you put in the effort doing it right, tending your plants and soil, the ground will give back and reward you.  In contrast to standard gardening methods a raised garden bed also requires less seeds, which is more cost effective.

Gorgeous Gardens – It’s simply more aesthetically pleasing when you use raised garden beds.  Things just look like they have a place and are living happily within your organized system of backyard order.

Premade Raised Garden Beds in Mesa AZ

A&P Nursery has you covered if you don’t want to invest the time or don’t have the tools to build a raised garden bed from scratch.   These raised garden beds are quick, easy set up.  Check out more information on these garden kits.

The experts at A&P Nursery have 4 convenient locations to help you start out your raised vegetable garden right.

Call or come and visit one of their locations:


Gardening is Good for The Soul

Life can be hectic and it can be hard to find much needed peace and sanctuary in our everyday lives. Creating a space specifically for you to separate from the rest of the world and be with your thoughts in solitude is very healthy and beneficial for us to do. One way people decide to accomplish this is by gardening. Applying your focus and efforts into fostering life in a quiet and peaceful environment can be a physical form of meditation, which can be very revitalizing. Creating a barrier between your obligations and doing what you desire is something we should all do because it helps us to not feel like all we do is work or fulfill those obligations. Finding balance in life is a principle that has been held since ancient times. We have always understood that we have a need to retreat within ourselves and explore our own thoughts and feeling in quiet solitude. Meditating has many forms and benefits and its practice is as old as mankind itself. Gardening is one discipline that can be considered meditative as you are usually in solitude operating in a state of peace and tranquility, even if you aren’t actively exploring introspectively

Not only is the act of gardening soothing and healing, once the space has been cultivated for a period of time you will have a beautiful place to escape to and enjoy in peace, even when you aren’t tending to your plants. Most people find great satisfaction and peace when they are more in tune with nature and the levels of satisfaction and peace only increase over time.  If you desire a sanctuary, why not take it upon yourself to create one? Gardening can be done on any scale from small and simple to very large and complex. Gardening can also be good for bond building. Cooperating with a partner toward the common goal of assisting your plants to thrive can be a soothing as well as a catalyst to furthering the bond between you and whoever you decide to share you gardening experience with. As time passes you both will take pride in the fact that you cultivated your new beautiful space as a team and can now enjoy it as such! Gardening really can bring a family closer together. If you have kids, gardening can be a constructive way to instill discipline and diligent work ethic as well as responsibility. There are millions of ways to learn and teach, it just so happens to be that gardening is one of the most effective methods! This will benefit your young ones in the area of producing organic food for themselves in the future as long as growing food is part of the gardening style that you choose. We live in a day and age where food is getting further and further away from being organically produced and it is greatly effecting our health as we are not receiving the nutrients that we once did from the exact same foods. Ensuring that you have organic produce is a measure you can take against this trend and it will set the foundation for practicing healthy living habits. That is the greatest thing you can give to a child!

You can choose to create a space designed to appeal to you visual senses by being more aesthetically dynamic with vibrant and bright flowers and plants. You can also create a more functional garden that can produce food for you and your family, which brings its own version of tranquility and satisfaction. There really are no limits to the creativity you can express in your garden and you may find that you have found a lifelong hobby. If a garden is especially impressive and has evolved into a feature of your home and property, it can actually raise the overall value of your house and the lot that is sits on.  With all of these benefits present, why wouldn’t you want a garden!!!? All you need to do is decide to start a garden and the rest of the steps will follow. Do yourself a favor and develop that bright and shiny green thumb that you have always secretly desired!

Ground Covering Plants Can Free You of Weeds

If you are fostering a personal home garden, you are always looking for ways to improve your garden and the efficiency of its design. The More efficient your garden design is, the more you will be rewarded by your garden with rich and vibrant blooms and fruit/vegetable yields. A great way to both add to the aesthetic of you garden and raise its efficiency is using ground cover plants to control weed growth. There are a variety of ground cover plant types available with beautiful diversity. You can almost completely eradicate the complications created by weeds by planting they ground covering plants along your garden bed. When you are deciding which ground cover plants to place in your garden, understand that the species that work best to eradicate weed growth do so because the grow as aggressively as most weeds do. Not only will your garden bed be free of the ugliness of weeds, the ground will have a lush bed of flowers covering it and giving it a vibrant, aromatic atmosphere.

Some ground covering flowers that are both effective and beautiful include: Vinca Minor, Ajuga, and English Ivy. English ivy can be especially transforming and appealing aesthetically, as it can cascade down hillsides and overtake rocks and structures which will make edges and angles appear to be softer while adding a degree of elegance and sophistication. If you are looking for options that are more colorful than ivy, look at species such as Periwinkle and Vinca Minor which show off vivid shades of blue and purple.  Ajuga, also referred to as bugleweed grows flowers that are about six inches tall and show off pinks and whites along with purple and blue depending on the species.

Adding any of these ground cover plant varieties will help your garden stay out of the clutches of weeds while enhancing its visual allure with the addition of one (or more if you’d like) ground covering plant species.

How to Attract Birds and Butterflies to Your Garden

Gardens are usually visually appealing and atmospherically dynamic when tended to with love and guided intention. Most gardeners develop their green thumbs in order to create a personalized space that can be used as a sanctuary. One way to add another dynamic element to your environment is attracting birds and butterflies to you garden. Birds of all types, especially humming birds, will be attracted to your garden if a few simple steps are taken.

Attracting birds to your garden can be done in several fashions, depending on what kinds of birds you are hoping to attract.

Hummingbirds: Placing feeders filled with nectar and sugar water is a well known method for attracting these fascinating birds into your garden realm. One lesser known tidbit is that 60% of the diet of hummingbirds consists of insects. Spraying insecticide in your garden may actually be keeping hummingbirds away from your garden.

Quail, Doves, Sparrows: These are all seed loving birds, so growing plants that produce the kinds of seeds they prefer will naturally attract these birds. Sunflowers, globe mallow, desert marigolds, ironwood, brittlebush Palo Verde, barberry, desert hackberry, Mexican elderberry and pyracantha are all great choices for this.  Birds enjoy moving water as well, so any form of water feature will raise the frequency of the visits you’ll receive from your feathered friends.

Butterflies: These majestic creatures are attracted to plants like butterfly brush, desert bloom, desert milkweed, verbena, desert senna, fairy duster, lavender, citrus, privet, chocolate flower and butterfly weed. Planting one or more of these plants will ensure you are visited in your sanctuary on a regular basis by butterflies.

Attracting these beautiful creatures to your garden will not only add life to your garden in a very literal sense, it will help keep pests from populating as birds prey on many would-be invaders. Keeping your garden both beautiful and healthy can be accomplished by recruiting some of nature’s more than willing helpers.

How Trees Actually Produce Oxygen

We’ve all heard how important trees are to everything in our environment because of their ability to take in carbon dioxide and emit clean, breathable oxygen. While we all understand that trees perform this vital task many of us do not know how this process actually happens. We will outline how we and every other organism on the planet produce carbon dioxide and how trees transform our emissions and recycle them back into one of the necessary building blocks of life.


Photosynthesis is a term that refers to a plants ability to transmute various energy sources like sun light, water and carbon dioxide into usable energy or ‘food’ that the trees uses for sustenance. Plants can survive and even thrive as long as they have all three of those energy sources available. When it comes to carbon dioxide, plants ‘ingest’ carbon dioxide through the leaves where it is turned into sugars that the tree can use for nutrition. The excess water that the tree takes in that isn’t used to break down these sugars is emitted as oxygenated molecules that are released back into the atmosphere. Once light and carbon dioxide are taken in the stomates in the leaves begin the process of converting the carbon dioxide into the sugars the tree desires. The tree separates the water into hydrogen and oxygen and the hydrogen that isn’t used attaches to the carbon dioxide, becoming a fully oxygenated molecule.

Now, this is a brief explanation of an extremely complex process that can be elaborated on scientifically at great length. The more we know about trees, the more we may value them and realize how important they are for this entire planet that we call home. We tend to not see things that don’t have their own means of locomotion or lack eyes, ears etc as less than organisms that stand on equal ground to us and all other sentient creatures we share the Earth with. Hopefully understanding how complex plants, specifically trees, actually are will change this tendency and put plant life on the pedestal it deserves to be on.

Gardening Tips for the Heat

Gardening during the hot season presents challenges that are not present during the rest of the year. If you are newer to the gardening world you may not be aware of some of these challenges or how to handle them. Even if you are an experienced gardener, brushing up is always a good idea. Staying up to speed can only enhance your abilities as a gardener as the information gets ingrained more and more over time. With that said, here are some tips to deal with the heat during the summer and keep your plants flourishing.

Add Mulch: Laying down an one to two inches of mulch over your planting beds will help you conserve moisture so you plants can stay hydrated. The sun naturally speeds up evaporation and can rob your plants of all important water.

Give Your Plants Some Space: Being careful to not over plant is important as a crowded planting bed can prevent the soil from retaining enough moisture for each plant to consume an adequate amount. Give your plants room to breathe (or drink, for that matter) and they will thrive.

Make Sure There is Shade: Making sure your plants are shaded during the hottest parts of the day will go a long way in you achieving your gardening goals during the hot portion of the year. It will help your plants stay comfortable and retain moisture.

Soak Pots: Make sure the potting mix in your pots stays moist so it can deliver water adequately to the root system of you plant. If the potting mix dries out, water will merely run down the sides of the pot, between the pot’s walls and the clump of dried out soil. Make sure your pots always contain moisture in the soil.

Use Less Fertilizer: While this may seem counter intuitive, withholding fertilizer from your plants during the summer will prevent them from growing to large and needing larger amounts of water, which can be difficult to retain.

Drink Water!!!: The Arizona heat and sun can absolutely rob your body of moisture and valuable hydration. Heat born illnesses can be extremely painful and even deadly, but they are easily avoidable. Maintaining proper hydration is all you need to do in order to keep heat stroke at bay. Take a bottle of ice cold water out into your garden with you and think about watering yourself while you are watering your plants.

Wear a Hat: Wearing hats will keep the sun out of your eyes and off of your shoulders, if the hat is fully brimmed. Sun exposure can be very damaging to your skin if the exposure is too intense. This is especially true for sensitive facial and shoulder skin.

Wear Sun Protection: Protecting your body from harmful uv rays can be done in several ways. Sun block is an option as long as you have a strong enough spf, but sun block can be harmful in it’s own right if you have allergies or sensitivities. Another option is to where light colored and lightly weighted clothing to create a barrier between your skin and the sun. Light clothing that can reflect sun light away from your skin can also help keep you cool.