Isn’t there something just so wonderful when you see little seedlings start to sprout?  It makes me feel like it is springtime even though it is still the middle of winter when I see the tiny green leaves begin to break out from the soil.  The broccoli sprouted in less then a week.

Many types of vegetables and fruit grow very well in the desert.  Lettuce is the top agricultural product that is grown in Arizona.  Other crops include melons, broccoli, citrus, cauliflower, onions and carrots, wheat and corn.
Growing vegetables is a very popular past-time for many backyard gardeners.  You can find more information on what vegetables grow in the Arizona desert and when to plant them at The Arizona Master Gardener Vegetable Guide .
 Now, some of you may (or may not) be wondering what I have to confess now.  I’ve already confessed to not having my favorite flower in my garden, you can read my earlier post here if you like.  What else could there be?  
For those of you who have kindly followed my blog for a while, you may be wondering if these seedlings are mine – you may have noticed that I have not shown any pictures of my vegetable garden in the past.  Well, there is a good reason for that….I don’t have one.   Now, I honestly love vegetable gardens and have planted them for others and raised my own as a child.  I’ve also had to grow my own plot of vegetables at college when I was earning my horticulture degree – I had to learn how to do it well because I was being graded 😉
That being said, my true love in the garden are ornamental plants and I only have so much space to fit them all in and still have room for any new plants that I fall in love with.  

 I have the wonderful fortune to live only 5 minutes away from Double S Farms, which is the residence of my mother, youngest sister and her family.  They have a wonderful vegetable garden and the seedlings belong to them.  

Since it is important to me to provide information about all types of desert gardening, I will be posting about Double S Farm’s vegetable garden in the future….and Little Farmers #1 & 2 🙂
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

28 replies
  1. Janet
    Janet says:

    Sometimes it is best to leave the veggies to others….or at least most of them. How fortunate to be so close to S & S Farms….I would be there every day for that night's dinner.

  2. leavesnbloom
    leavesnbloom says:

    I'm really looking forward to these postings plus pics of those little farmers again. I'm more a plant flower person rather than vegetable grower. I usually do some cut and come again in pots outside. Too cold yet for me to be sowing seeds – another 2 weeks and I'll be starting but not veggies.

  3. Kiki
    Kiki says:

    Wonderful post! So nice to live so close..fantastic!Beautiful photos..and yes seeing seedling is very exciting..a great feeling of what is to come!

  4. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    When I saw your post and picture, I was thinking to myself that you probably have to start this seeds early to beat the heat??? While we wait until later to "meet the heat!" Lucky for you to have your families farm right down the road. I wouldn't grow any either if I could just go pick some up nearby!!

  5. Shady Gardener
    Shady Gardener says:

    Noelle, You are so honest! 🙂 I don't really have space for a vegetable garden (mostly, too shady) either. But by starting seedlings, are you able to share in the bounty??

  6. hegartywebberpartnership
    hegartywebberpartnership says:

    Can't be bothered to grow vegetables myself and when any one asks me I always say that all proper professional gardeners like to get their veg washed and ready prepared in the supermarket. They always look shocked and a bit disappointed, but who cares?

    Robert
    Hegartywebberpartnership

  7. Carol
    Carol says:

    Sometimes I think my veggie garden is my favorite garden and last year, when the rabbits ate me out I was heart sick! This year I will not let that happen. It is great that you have a large garden to share Noelle. Those little seedlings look so promising!

  8. fairegarden
    fairegarden says:

    How lucky you are, and how honest, Noelle! To have a farm, with family no less, close by. We only started a veggie patch a couple of years ago, it is still a very tiny part of the garden. Ornamentals are our favorites, but veggies will always get some space too.
    Frances

  9. sweet bay
    sweet bay says:

    I have found vegetable gardening much harder than flower gardening, to be honest! I let my husband deal with the vegs this year. Vegs out of the garden are very much worth the effort though.

  10. hummer
    hummer says:

    Glad to see the post and encouragement to grow your own vegetables.
    I had a question about the cucumbers. Won't they be leggy by the time they can be set out?

  11. debsgarden
    debsgarden says:

    I think my husband would turn our yard into a farm if I would let him, but I love the ornamentals also; and we really have too much shade, which is priceless in our summer months. I do love homegrown veggies, though.

  12. gardeningAngel
    gardeningAngel says:

    Noelle, thanks for this post – I learned something new today! I would have never thought of Arizona being a great place for lettuce, since lettuce seems to like it cooler and bolts in hot weather. I too am much more of a flower and herb person, but have some veggies in the summer. Kathy

  13. Teresa O
    Teresa O says:

    Many years ago I was admonished for growing so many flowers with this little tidbit, "Well, if I can't eat it, I don't grow it." My initial thought was that this lady was missing out on gardening for the sheer joy of it. Since then, I realize that the joy of gardening comes in all forms and isn't it great that every gardener shares a bit of herself with the world by what she plants.

    I'm smiling at your heartfelt confession.

  14. Grace
    Grace says:

    That's a great question Hummer. I have to preface this by saying I am not the gardener in the house – I leave that to my husband and my mom and the vegetable garden is a new adventure for them too. So this first year will be a definite learning experience for us. (My confession – I had to google "leggy" 😉

    In the low desert where we live, cucumber can be planted with protective measures as early as February 15th with the ideal planting date being March 1st. Hopefully, we'll be on target and our seedlings will be nice and strong.

    Again, this is a new experience for us and I'm sure it will be filled with a lot of trial and error and leggy seedlings along the way. Fortunately for us we've found some amazing local resources for advice and information. I hope Noelle will keep you posted to see how our veggies turn out. Wish us luck =)

  15. JGH
    JGH says:

    Oh, I hope you will continue to post about them! Just looking at these is making me want to start some seeds. But I haven't even ordered mine yet!

    Don't feel too bad about not growing vegetables. So many plants, so little time…..

  16. James Missier
    James Missier says:

    I love vege gardens, it feels great to use them for cooking especially thinking of walking to the garden, harvesting them fresh and taking them to the kitchen.
    But my space is so little and the time for garden is so limited that I had settled for hardy ornament plants which requires little care and brightens my day.

  17. Rose
    Rose says:

    I grow some vegetables, only because I have the room, but I much prefer ornamentals, too. I think you have the best of both worlds–with fresh produce so close by, you don't need to worry about growing your own. Besides, if a crop does well, there are usually more than enough vegetables to share with others. I'm always giving away green beans and green peppers:)

  18. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    Hi Noelle, i am late again in commenting here, but i am really amused with your confessions. I realize i can relate with you because we are both horticulturists. In my case i did not specialize in ornamentals because i know even if i dont study them i will still know them, so i rather took Postharvest Physiology, with some african violets on my windows and the lab's windows. I know how to plant vegies and love to do it but we dont have much sunlight already near the house. The fruit trees are already big that shades every small plant below. I love your situation there. pls visit my orchid blooms i assure you they are beautiful, hahaha

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