Growing Avocado In Arizona

Growing Avocado In Arizona

With the rising costs of produce at the local grocery stores many Arizona residents are starting to grow more and more of their produce themselves. Avocado is a favorite for many recipes and meals. Being able to grow it in your yard saves money and gives you the knowledge that they were grown organically and in the best methods possible.

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Best Type Of Avocado Tree For Phoenix
Best Type Of Avocado Tree For Phoenix

There is a wide variety of avocado trees. Some do better in different climates than others. With the heat in Arizona the type of avocado tree you choose can mean the difference between success and failure. For the heat in our area it is best to choose either the Guatemalan or Mexican Avocado trees.

Avocado Tree Site Selection
Avocado Tree Site Selection

The site you choose for your avocado tree should be protected from the wind and have fast draining soil. This means that you will want a more sandy type soil as opposed to the clay that can be common in Arizona. It is best to prep the soil in the area you want to plant the avocado tree. Include some compost in the mix so nutrients will be abundant. The soil should end up being equal parts of sand and compost.

It is best to plan a spot that gets sun in the morning, and shade in the afternoon. The afternoon is the hottest part of the day and the avocado tree does not enjoy the harsh light and temperatures.  This means planting the tree on the east side of your yard. It is also best if there is a large tree to plant it near or under.  If you don’t have a tree that will provide shade for the afternoon you will need to provide shade for the tree so it does not burn. Shade structures are pretty easy to set up, as your local nursery

Planting Avocado Trees
Planting Avocado Trees

A hole should be dug that is 2 to 3 times the width of the container and the same depth. Before putting the tree in the hole saturate the hole with water and wait for the water to drain. Once the water has drained from the hole you can place your avocado tree in. Gently pack the mixed soil, compost and sand around the root ball.

Create a little berm, or moat of raised soil around the base of the plant with the soil you have and fill it with water. It should be about 4 inches high and help contain the water so it is delivered well to the root ball.

Watering Avocado Trees
Watering Avocado Trees

During the summer and growing months you will need to give the tree a good soak at least once a month. For the hotter months you should give your avocado tree a deep soak every 2 weeks. You need to irrigate the avocado tree for several hours to push the salt away from the root ball.

Avocado Trees Fertilization
Avocado Trees Fertilization

Stay away from standard fertilizers that may contain salt or sodium. It is harmful for the avocado tree and will stunt its growth. Many avid gardeners choose to use fish emulsion at least once during the growing season. Fish fertilizers are safer for your avocado trees and are available at your location nursery.

Avocado Trees Pest Control
Avocado Trees Pest Control

With the avocado tree not being native to Arizona they have no natural pests. If you find that your garden ends up with one or another type of insect that is attacking your avocados make sure to check with your local nursery for which type of pesticides or covers you can use to help protect your investment.

East Phoenix Valley Nurseries

A&P Nursery has 4 locations that can help you with all of your gardening needs. From the large yard to small urban farming type set ups we have the plants, the tools, the knowledge to help get you going and keep your gardening thriving!


Growing Tipu Trees In Arizona

Growing Tipu Trees In Arizona

Are you searching the internet for “Growing Tipu Trees In Arizona“? If so A&P Nursery has you covered with this guide to growing the tree in Arizona. We hope this answers any questions you might have, if not we welcome you to stop by or call one of our 4 East Valley locations.

The Tipu Tree, or Tipuana  Tipu is native to South America. This makes it naturally accustomed to hot summers, and its leaves are lush, full and provide great shade. Growing a Tipu Tree in Arizona can provide much needed and welcomed shade for backyards, parks, and landscape projects.

During the summer months the Tipu tree features small apricot-yellow flowers. These flowers give way to a bunch pea-like pods developing that have the “helicopter” like leaves attached. The beautiful flowers give a much welcomed splash of color to Arizona gardens during the summer.

The Tipu can grow as high as 25 feet in just a few years from a sapling bought at a nursery in Arizona. Outside of Arizona, the Tipu tree is known to grow much taller, some reaching as high as 100 feet. These fast growing trees need to be trimmed and pruned frequently during the first couple of years to ensure that a good overall balance and structure is created. The pruning also helps the tree grow better root networks.

Planting The Tipu Tree

The Tipu tree is famous for its amazing growth rate. This is a benefit for people that want to plant a tree for shade in their yard. However care must be taken when choosing a location to plant the Tipu tree. The root systems grow quickly and are strong enough to disturb concrete walkways, foundations, or pools. Its best to plant these trees away from concrete structures. However if a trench is dug about 3 feet deep and filled with roofing shingles, gravel, or other barrier material it will help contain the root structure of the Tipu tree.

If your soil is clay or sandy, like much of the soil is in Arizona, plan to amend these soils with organic matter. Compost can be a great source of nutrients and help with drainage. If your home is a place with high winds you might consider some support stakes to help the tree weather the winds before it has an established root system to help it stand straight.

Watering The Tipu Tree

When the Tipu Tree is first planted you will want to water it deeply. This helps the soil settle around the roots and will help you know if you need to level more soil around the tree.

In the arid desert environment that constitutes most of Arizona the Tipu Tree will need watering about 2-3 times a week. This is best achieved with drip or soaker type watering hoses. The goal is to keep the soil moist, but not wet. Mulch on the ground around the base of the Tipu tree can help retain the water during the hottest parts of the year.

Tipu Tree Pruning

With the speed that Tipu trees grow it is important to prune them to create an upside down vase like shape early, and continue to train the tree to maintain this shape is it reaches its adult growth size. It’s best to prune the Tipu Tree later in the year when it has lost its leaves. This is a time of year where the tree is dormant and the pruning will be accepted best.

Drooping Branches Need Pruning

Drooping branches of the Tipu Tree take away from its beauty. When you see these branches first identify where it should be going, either up, down, or sideways. Track back from the drooping section along the branch until you find a shoot going the direction you want the tree to grow in. This is the spot you want to prune at. Use a pruning saw, chain saw, or pruning lopper to remove the drooping branch close to the branch you want to continue growing.

Safe Pruning Of Larger Branches

While it is relatively easy to trim the thinner branches any branch that is thicker than about an inch and a half should be removed with care. You will want to start your cut about 6 to 12 inches from the trunk of the tree. Cut the bottom side of the branch about 1/3rd of the way through. Then switch to the top side of the branch. Ensure that you are safe and your ladder is set correctly or you have someone holding the ladder to make it steady. Then cut the in the same spot from the top of the branch until it falls. Don’t forget to remove the stump that is coming out of the trunk. You can trim it back to be flush with the trunk. It may swell a bit, but leaving the stump can cause rot and endanger the entire tree.

Tipu Tree Pest Control

While the Tipu Tree does not produce fruit that we can consume there are insects that feast on the pea-like pods. The Tipu Tree is a favorite food for the spittlebug. There are also Tipu psyllid bugs that have started invading Tipu trees in southern California. With this in mind it is a good idea to use pesticides to ensure the health and longevity of your Tipu tree. Talk to your local nursery about what is available to control these pests and make a schedule of when it needs to be done.


Tipu Tree Nurseries In East Valley, Phoenix AZ

A&P Nursery is passionate about all things gardening. We have a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and all types of flowers to make the most of your garden or landscaping project in Arizona. We also have landscaping companies we recommend to get the job done for you. Stop by one of our locations or call us today with any questions you have about Tipu trees, or anything else gardening.


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.

Keyhole Gardening In Arizona

Keyhole Gardening In Arizona

If you live in Arizona and are searching for “Keyhole Gardening” you are probably looking for a new way to get the most out of your gardening efforts.  Summers are hot in Arizona and there typically isn’t much rainfall. Building a drought tolerant garden is one of the challenges for gardeners in the arid areas in the southwest.

What Is A Keyhole Garden?

Keyhole gardens are a type of raised-bed gardening system. The shape of the raise-bed planter is typically made in a circular shape that is about 6 feet wide. It is most comfortable when the height is about waist level, to reduce on bending down and straining your back. While the garden is built in a circular shape, a section is left open so it is easy to walk up to the center of the garden.

The purpose of leaving this area open is to access the center area that is used to contain compost. With the center of the keyhole garden chalked full of nutrients it helps nourish the soil. The style of the garden lends its name from the overhead appearance looking like the opening to a keyhole. These gardens can be made with inexpensive materials or recycled materials and due to their design use considerably less water than conventional gardening types.

How Keyhole Gardens Does More With Less

Keyhole gardening grows more produce, will less water. This is achieved via a unique approach to design. Typically gardens involve frequent watering and periodic fertilizing to increase the nutrient content in the soil. Gardeners that include their compost in their gardening habits usually have a compost pile, and must use buckets or wheelbarrows to take the compost from the pile, to where they want to work. Keyhole gardens are connected directly with the compost pile. Every time the keyhole garden is watered or it rains the nutrients from the compost pile are distributed onto and into the soil.

Where Did Keyhole Gardening Start?

The keyhole gardening system was developed by humanitarian aid organizations that were working in southern Africa. The climate in these areas is known for being extremely dry and can be unforgiving. Residents of south African countries struggled to garden with depleted and eroded soils caused by intensive agricultural actives. The BBC reports that a family in Lesotho Africa is able to feed a family of 10 with just 3 keyhole gardens, and even have excess to sell throughout the year.

Building A Keyhole Garden

Keyhole Garden Construction Illustration

Keyhole gardens are fairly simple to construct. They consist of a raise center compost pile contained by sturdy but permeable wrapping, surrounded by gently sloped soil, and an exterior wall. Many times the base layer will include a drainage layer that is made from debris, twigs, or even a rock layer. They are usually anywhere from 2 to 3 feet in height and 6 feet wide. When building your keyhole garden you should ensure it is built to the height you are comfortable working at. Gardeners that prefer to sit on a stool while they work their raised garden beds a lower 2 foot height is best.

East Valley Gardening Nurseries

If you need materials, gardening tools, plants, or advice on how to get your garden started or make the most of the garden you already have, come see the experts at A&P Nursery at one of our convenient east valley nurseries. Keyhole gardening will help you use less water, and get the most out of your soil by continually distributing the nutrients from your compost. Stop by or give us a call at the location nearest you.

Planting Roses in Arizona

Planting Roses in Arizona

It is prime time for planting roses in the Phoenix area, in fact it will soon be too late. Roses are best planted during the latter half of December and January in the Phoenix area. For northern Arizona it is best to wait until March and April. Growing Roses in the desert southwest is a great addition of the traditional gardening centerpiece. While a lot of xeriscapes focus on primarily desert plants like succulents and trees that are adapted to the desert heat, roses are the crowning jewel that can set your yard apart.

Rose Selection

Selecting the roses you want to incorporate into your landscape is a straightforward process with just a few things to keep in mind. The size of the full grown

Size – Different types of rose variants grow to be different sizes. The type of roses you choose for your landscape should take into consideration how large the fully grown plant will be. Savvy gardeners plan for the full size of their plants so they do not have to over prune, or remove plants that rub against houses or fight for space and sunlight in their landscape. Some types of roses like to grow and climb. This means they should be planted in areas that include support for the climbing types of roses.

Climate – Every plant has a rating for which zone it grows best in. The Phoenix valley varies between zone 8 and zone 9. Choose roses that will do well in this environment. They should be more heat resistant than geared to resist the cold like you would need in northern Arizona.

Grades Of Roses – When you are looking at roses to plant in your landscape you want to make sure that you select nothing less than the best. Roses are graded as 1,1 ½, and 2, with number 1 being the best grade. You will be able to recognize a number one grade rose when there are three or more “canes” that are as thick as a pencil. Number 1 ½ will only have 2 canes that are pencil thick, and number 2 roses will be only a foot from where the canes come together.

How To Plant Roses

The way you buy your roses will affect how and when you should plant them. Nurseries in the Phoenix valley during the cold months should offer bare root, packaged, and container roses. If you are buying either bare root or packaged you should make sure to have them in the ground by the end of January.

Bare Root & Packaged

If the roses you buy are either packaged or sold to you with bare roots you will need to get them in the ground in late December or January. Before planting you should soak the roots in water for a few hours.


Roses that are left over from the dormant period of the year are sold in containers. These roses can be planted at any time during the year.

Rose Spacing

The various types of roses grow to different diameters. You should plan your landscape to not be overcrowded and give each rose plant its own space. For polyanthas and miniatures you should plan between a 1 and 2 feet. Rose shrubs need twice that space and should be given 2 to 4 feet. Tree roses grow to a greater diameter and should be allowed between 3 and 5 feet. Climbing roses should have even more space, between 6 and 10 feet of space. Climbing roses also grow better when eastern exposure.

Planting Your Bare Root Roses

  1. The first step in planting your roses is to soak it in water for at least 8 hours. They can do well with up to 24 hours of soaking if you are not going to be home, or want to give it the maximum saturation.
  2. Digging your hole is the next project. It should be between 18 to 30 inches wide to accommodate the root system and the root ball.
  3. Mix soil with a cup of triple superphosphate and a cup of sulfur
  4. Create a cone shape mound in the center of the hole with your mix and native soil.
  5. Spread out the roots of your roses to fit over the cone. The union between the canes and root should be about 2 inches above the soil line.
  6. Trim the canes to about 8 to 10 inches. You want to make sure the top buds are facing out from the center of the plant.
  7. To help retain the water you provide you will want to have about a 4 inch layer of mulch around the surface of the plant.
  8. Ensure that you water well every day for the first week.

Roses For Sale In The East Phoenix Valley

If you live in the Phoenix valley and want the best selection and most knowledgeable customer service A&P nursery has 4 locations to serve you. With the best stock of plants in the East Valley we can get you everything you need to get started with growing your own roses. We also have a list of great landscaping companies that we can recommend to plant the specific roses you choose. Call or visit one of our locations to ask any questions you have or to get started with planting your own roses in the Phoenix area.

Perennial Flowers Arizona

Perennial Flowers Arizona

Gardeners love perennial flowers in Arizona for a lot of reasons. There are hundreds of variations and types of perennials. They come in a wide variety of foliage types, flower colors, forms, and come with different environmental requirements. Perennials bloom for different amounts of time. Some only bloom for about a week, while others will bloom for over a month. This is a great way to give a huge blaze of color to your garden. But many times perennials are added to landscapes purely for their beautiful foliage.

What Does Perennial Mean?

A perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years, or more. Shrubs fit this definition but are not usually technically classified as a perennial. This is because the majority of perennials are non wooded, and shrubs generally are. The majority of perennials are herbaceous. This means that the section of the plant that is above ground dies each year and decays into the soil’s surface. The root system is the anchor of the perennial and what brings it back each spring.

Why Plant Perennial Flowers?

There are number of benefits in planting perennial flowers and plants. Trees and shrubs are usually the larger more prominent features in landscaping. Perennials are the filler and ground level interest in any landscaping design. Annual flowers need to be replanted each year, while perennials can live for many years with the proper care. This means a reduced workload to keep the garden up. The root system doesn’t just help keep the plant coming back every year, but it makes the perennials hardier. This means not only do perennials tolerate dry spells better, but because their root system is more developed they help prevent erosion.

Planting Instructions For Perennial Flowers
Perennial Flower Soil Preparation Arizona

Location – Because perennial is a general term each type of perennial plant will need a different type of location to thrive. Some perennials like primroses require plenty of shade and deep loamy soils. Other perennials won’t survive without full sun. When designing your landscaping approach consider each location and select the plants that will do well in those areas.

Preparing the soil – Perennials require more through soil preparation than many other types of gardening projects. With annuals and product gardens the soil is prepared each planting cycle and you can add organic matter at these times. Perennials are love because they last longer than a couple of years. Attention must be paid to ensure that you start with a well mulched soil, to provide the needed nutrients. Loamy soils are the best in these applications because they drain well but retain the moisture needed by the plants.

Depending on the plant the addition of compost can also be advantageous. There are perennials that do not tolerate the rich nutrients compost adds to the soil. So consult your local Arizona nursery for more information about the individual plants you’ve chosen or want to purchase.

Types Of Perennial Flowers For Arizona

The southwest presents different challenges and environments for gardeners. Given the hot summers and typically drier weather some plants just simply do better in Arizona. Here are some of the favorite perennials that do well in our desert conditions.

Datura Perennial Flower Arizona
– The Datura is a native type of wildflower to the southwest. It blooms all summer long and tends to sprawl as wide as it can. This can fill up the ground areas and make garden beds look complete. As beautiful as this perennial is, care must be taken with small children and animals as all of the plant poisonous.

Salvia Perennial Flower Arizona
– A great companion for Datura is Salvia. The blooms appear in spikes and come in a bunch of colors. These are a favorite plant for butterflies and hummingbirds and are drought and heat resistant. This makes the Salvia a easy win, especially for the beginner gardener.

Penstemon Perennial Flower Arizona
– Penstemon is one of the toughest perennials available. In addition to also drawing in hummingbirds and butterflies Penstemon can be a great flower to add to a custom or homemade arrangement.

Primrose Perennial Flower Arizona
– The contrast between the sunny yellow blossoms and the darker evergreen foliage makes the Primrose a favorite perennial for the Arizona gardener. Primrose also is a low growing type of perennial. This makes it a great choice for ground cover for those hot and sunny areas.

Arizona Perennial Flower Nursery

The best place for any gardening project to begin is with the experts. Arizona nurseries have everything you need to get your gardening project underway and know how to help you get your perennials started the right way. A&P Nursery has locations in Mesa, Gilbert, and Queens Creek Arizona and is happy to help you get get started. Call or visit today!



Benefits of Backyard Gardening in Arizona

Benefits of Backyard Gardening in Arizona

Backyard gardening is becoming a favorite activity for many families in Arizona. Not only do you get the exercise and feeling of accomplishment of growing your own, but you also get better tasting produce and save money on paying the grocery stores. Below we look at all of the benefits of backyard gardening in Arizona.

Health Benefits of Backyard Gardening
Backyard Gardening Exercise and Health Arizona

We all know that eating our fruits and vegetables is a proven way for us to stay healthier.  Study after study has found that the people that eat more fruits and veggies suffer from less chronic diseases like gastrointestinal disease, heart disease, and impaired vision and cancer.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of treatment, and what easier way is there to have the healthier food growing right in our own backyards?  Better than that, when you grow your own you can oversee the planting, growing, and harvesting which will ensure the best flavor.  Being the freshest fruit and veggies you can get, you’re also assured to have the full nutrient value that your food can offer.

Stress is a fact of our lives, jobs, family, and politics can put us under a lot of pressure.  Gardening has been found to be one of the best ways to help alleviate stress as it gets us out in the fresh air and sunshine doing some light exercise and keeping us active.

Financial Benefits of Backyard Gardening
Financial Benefits of Backyard Gardening Arizona

Considering the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables these days, having a backyard garden can be a great source of savings on your grocery bill. In fact when you start checking prices for things like fresh tomatoes you’ll find they can be $2 per pound or more.  The average gardener can get as much as 10 pounds of tomatoes out of just one tomato plant.  So with even a modest amount of plants you can see the savings adding up quickly.  In addition the cost of getting started is very low, a typical packet of tomato seeds is usually less than a couple of dollars.

You might be thinking that you don’t have enough room to start you own garden for feeding your family.  Even a small plot dedicated to gardening can produce a significant amount of food.  Even just a tenth of an acre can be used to produce enough most of the veggies that a single person will eat in a year.  If all you’ve got is a balcony or porch you can still grow many vegetables in containers and we all know, every little bit helps when it comes to our budgets.

Backyard Gardening as a Way to Enrich Our Children’s lives
Backyard Gardening Enriches Childrens Lives Arizona

A great way to help kids learn valuable lessons is right in your backyard. They can be in the garden observing the animals, insects, and plants growing there.  This helps them understand their relationship to the environment and their place in caring for it.

Not to mention how as they help out in the growing of food that benefits the family they will develop a sense of accomplishment and surely enjoy eating the fruits and veggies of  their labors.  This is a great way for them to learn the value of hard work, while improving their nutrition.

There are additional benefits to our health with backyard gardening. Getting outside and enjoying some sunlight has benefits to improve our moods. A lot of people today suffer from depression and the number 1 key to beating it is exercise and getting outside. All of the digging, shoveling, weeding, planting and harvesting you and your family will do in your garden will reap more rewards than just the fruit and vegetables.

Backyard Gardening’s Impact on the Environment

When most of us think about how we can help the environment we immediately focus on the fossil fuels we use in our own vehicles.  Most people aren’t aware of the tremendous costs involved in taking the fruit and vegetables we eat from where they are grown to sitting on our grocery store shelves, and then in turn on our trip home.  They say that you’ll save about 2 lbs of carbon emissions from going into the atmosphere for every pound of produce you grow yourself.

Backyard Produce Tastes Better
Backyard Produce Tastes Better Arizona

The fruit and vegetables you produce in your backyard garden are tended to with more care than the produce that is available at your local grocery store. If you’ve ever tasted a home grown tomato you’ll know the clear difference between backyard and store bought tomatoes. Tomatoes in particular ripen better on the vine, rather than on a truck or in your local store. This is true of just about every kind of perishable food. The closer you can get your fruit, vegetables, meat, and other perishable items to the source they are produced the fresher they will be. Fresh food simply tastes better and you can’t get closer to the source than having it growing in your own backyard.

Guidelines For A Great Backyard Garden
Backyard Gardening Guidlines Arizona

There is a monumental amount of information you can read about gardening. These are just a few guidelines to help you get started.

The Soil Is The Foundation

Depending on what you’re growing you will want different kinds of soil. Some plants need soils that will drain more quickly than others. Soils that have a lot of clay in them will need to be either replaced or reworked. Mulch can be added to clay rich soils to improve drainage and increase the nutrients. Research the specific plants you are wanting to grow and choose soils that benefit them specifically.

Well Watered Gardens

This is one situation where more isn’t always better. As much as plants need water to live, they also are susceptible to having problems with over watering. Root rot is a real problem with some plants and you need to make sure that you read about each plant and strike the right balance between providing enough water, without water logging and ruining your garden. In Arizona it is a smart idea to choose drought tough plants to start with, especially for landscaping.

Harvesting – Reaping The Rewards

Each type of fruit and vegetable has it’s own schedule for maturing and being ripe. Most seed packages have directions for how deep to plant each type of plant and how long it will take to grow.

After the harvest you will also have to evaluate how much of your fruit and vegetables you can use right away. Produce you are not going to use immediately can be preserved in a few different ways. Some people love to dry their fruit for a healthy snack. Others preserve their produce by freezing it until they are ready to use it. In these cases a stand alone freeze is a great idea. Be aware that you will want to create air tight seals to protect your produce from freezer burn. Frost free freezers tend to create more wear on your produce as they circulate air in the freezer to prevent the frost from building up. 

Gardening Made Easy In Arizona

The backyard gardening experts with A&P Nursery are ready with simple and easy ways for you to get started with a great hobby, that ends up paying you back again and again.

They even make a quick and easy way to get you started on your backyard garden with Easy Garden Kits.

If you’ve got a few questions or you’re ready to make plans and order away give us a call at one of our convenient locations near you.

Benefits Of Backyard Gardening In Arizona



Growing A Fig Tree In Arizona

Growing a fig tree in Arizona can be phenomenally rewarding. They grow two harvests per growing season, produce deliciously sweet fruit and are beautiful trees. Fig trees might take about 3 or more years to start producing a viable crop, but when they really start to produce you will have all the figs you can eat!

Figs being one of the oldest cultivated crops were a favorite of some of our oldest societies. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and even Egyptians enjoyed figs. Fig trees grow anywhere from 10 – 30 feet tall. The plants have leaves that make them look particularly tropical. The common fig tree is deciduous, so you can expect for the leaves to come off in the fall. Having all of its flowers as “female”, the fig does not require pollination to develop fruit. This means you will have bigger crops without having to rely on pollination.

In fact there are usually 2 cycles of harvesting figs per year. The first crop has the name “breba”. This is a crop that is the maturation of the previous growing year’s buds. The following crop is actually the main crop and is the fruit that develops from the buds that are set in spring and summer.

What Figs Taste Like

There are many varieties of fig trees, and fig flavors. A few of the most popular that have become mainstays of our pantries are; Brown Turkey, Black Mission, Sierra, Kadota, Calimyrna and King Fig Trees. Flavors can vary from nutty, caramel-coffee to maple syrup, caramel, honey and almond, and raspberry.

What To Do With Figs
What To Do With Figs Mesa

Many new fig tree owners are surprised with the volume of fruit these trees provide, once they are properly matured. It does take a couple of years after planting to get your tree to produce its first fruit. However when the going gets good, it really gets going. Many fig tree owners scramble to hurry and start making jam. But there is so much more that can be done with these versatile fruits.

Here are some of the ways you can enjoy your figs:

Add Flavor To Your Meat – While cooking up a roast for your holiday or weekend meal toss a few figs in with the meat. As they cook they release an wonderful aroma and slowly release their savory juices into the sauce.

Figs In The Batter – When you are making cookies, muffins or scones throwing some fig into the batter can add some unique and delicious flavor. It will set your treats apart and give them a wonderfully unique taste.

Fig Chutney – Chop up some figs and simmer them with a couple sprigs of thyme. Toss in some caramelized onions for a deliciously rich fig chutney. This can be a wonderful addition to your cracker and cheese platters to add some depth and variety.

Planting A Fig Tree In Your Mesa Backyard
Planting A Fig Tree In Your Mesa Backyard

Choosing Fig Trees – Most types of fig trees will grow anywhere. But some do better in the hot dry climate we have here in Mesa, AZ. The Conadria and the Kadota fig trees are a couple of the best suited for the Arizona heat.

  • Conadria Fig Trees are one of the largest fig trees, and has a high sugar content to the fruit. The fruit a Conadria produces can be used to eat fresh or make great dried fruit. This fig type also resists spoiling in rainy weather and has a small eye size. The small eye size helps with insect resistance.
  • Kadota Fig Trees produce a medium to large size fruit. The fruit is yellow in color and deliciously sweet. The fruit from the Kadota fig tree ripen best with hot temperatures and full sun. The Kadota fig tree is grown extensively and is actually one of the most common types of fig to find in the grocery stores.

Choosing A Site – Depending on the type of fig tree you choose you will need to consider the width around where you are planting the tree.  Fig trees can grow very large, spanning from 10-30 feet. In fact they can be wider than they are tall. Another consideration when choosing your site to plant your Mesa fig tree is the leaves it will drop. The fig is a deciduous tree and if you have a pool you’ll want to plant this tree in the front yard or as far as practical from your pool. Requiring at least 8-10 hours of full sun a day you’ll also want to keep your fig tree away from the house or anywhere that’s excessively shaded. Needing a soil type that drains well, the sandy soils you find here in Mesa are actually pretty ideal for a fig tree.

Planting Fig Trees – Like most trees that you want to plant in the desert, the time to plant the fig tree is in the fall or early spring. This gives the root system time to mature and be ready for the harsh summer weather we have here in Mesa.

Watering Fig Trees Mesa AZ

Watering Fig Trees – During normal summer heat in Mesa fig trees require watering about every 3-5 days. If its unusually hot and Arizona is setting records you should water more often. If you’re unsure of if your tree needs water use a soil probe to find out. All trees should be watered to a depth of 3 feet each time there is a irrigation event. There’s no hard and fast rule for how much water it will take for it to reach 3 feet as different soil types will take longer.

Fertilizing Your Fig Tree – Many times fig trees that are planted directly in the ground have no need for fertilization. The exception is if they are planted in sandy soil. If you’re unsure if your soil has the required nutrients you can have your soil tested by a lab. If your soil is deemed to be low in nutrients get a half a pound of nitrogen and divide it equally into 3 treatments. Apply the nitrogen in the months of growth, May, June, and July.

Pruning Fig Trees – One of the greatest parts of growing figs from your own fig tree in Mesa is that they rarely require pruning. They produce two crops per growing season and are best pruned after the second harvest. If you wait and try to prune your fig during the winter risk removing some of the fruit already growing that would be in your first harvest.

Mesa Fig Tree Pests – Luckily in Arizona we don’t have as many pests to worry about as some regions in the United States. There are 3 pests you might encounter with your fig tree. The green fig beetle, birds and gophers are the most common pests for this area. To protect your figs from the beetle and birds you can cover the fruit with bagging or netting. There is little that can be done about gophers.

Growing A Pomegranate Tree In Mesa AZ

If you’d like to learn more about fig trees in Mesa or you’re ready to buy one come see the experts at A&P Nursery at one of their 4 convenient Mesa locations.



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: