Before the full heat of the Arizona summer hit, Blue Eyes and I did a lot of work in our backyard: he built me some vegetable garden boxes, and we poured a patio, and planted trees and tomatoes and peppers and squash, and Blue Eyes filled in the last patch of gravely dirt with delicious grass. Honestly, it’s been so hot for so long that we haven’t used the backyard much, but now that we are finally (crossing fingers) past the days of triple-digit temperatures, it’s time to truly enjoy the backyard that we have built.
And, it’s also time to plant Round Two of our vegetable garden. The hellacious heat of the summer withers most vegetation by July, but you can replant in late August and early September for a November bumper crop, and that is exactly what I did. Several weeks ago I carefully tucked a fresh batch of seeds and plants into the soil and within a few days they started popping up with sprouts and new leaves. (I also planted a few flowers among the veggies because, well, because I can. And I like flowers. Basically.)
My plants have been in the ground for almost 3 weeks now and they are growing like crazy! Meanwhile, I’m still harvesting butternut squash and eggplant that I planted back in March. My backyard is like my own little farmer’s market right now, and I love it more than I can truly say. I planted zucchini and yellow squash and cucumbers and cozelle, a stripey squash native to the Southwest.
Another box is full of kale and cauliflower and carrots and green beans (the green onions didn’t make it…sad face). I think that little rebel plant on the right is a sunflower that never germinated in the spring…I hope that is the case!
I filled up an entire box with a new batch of herbs, and the few that survived the heat have been putting out new leaves like crazy. I’m glad I didn’t pull up the basil sticks, they are lush and green again with new little starts filling in some of the dirt patches.
I just planted a whole box of spinach and beets and peas and lemon cucumbers, and I can’t wait to see them poke their little green heads out of the ground.
People keep telling me that “Arizona actually has really cold winters…” but I just do not believe it. I was here last year, and I ran my air conditioner every. single. day. But, if I can eat fresh-from-the-garden spinach and snap peas thru January I will, perhaps, not complain quite so much about the weather.
I’m already making plans for the spring, I want way more tomatoes, several tomatillos, some jicama, and another forest of peppers. This vegetable garden may just keep me sane thru my years here in Arizona.