Arizona Desert July Plant Guide
It’s July and it is hot and humid and Arizona residents spend their days watching the storms roll in. Even though this is the hottest time of the year here in the Phoenix, Arizona desert, there are some things we can plant. Our Arizona desert July plant guide will help you keep your plants alive through the summer months and prepare you for your fall harvest of plants and vegetables.
Most of our summers are very hot and dry and many of our plants will be struggling without the much needed rain. When we do not get rain from our summer monsoon our soil builds up with salt and you can see it in the plants. The tips of your leaves on trees like the Ash tree, Citrus trees, and many other varieties will begin to brown from the salt build up. Your palm trees will get sun burnt on the prongs, especially the Sago palm. The rain washes away the salt with a nice, deep watering. So for hot, dry summers make sure you are watering deep to wash the salt from the roots. Shallow watering only makes the problem worse. Don’t worry, the nice, cool fall weather will be here soon.
What to plant:
Pumpkins – You can plant pumpkins in Arizona just in time for Halloween. For small pumpkins, plant Baby Bear, Jack Be Little or White Baby Boo. They have 4-5′ long vines. You can plant a white pumpkin called Casper. It is an 8-10pound pumpkin. Other ideas include Cinderella, a red French heirloom or Balck Futzo, or Japanese heirloom. You can also plant squash and cantaloupe for a fall harvest.
Native Crops – buy desert adapted seeds of melons, squash, tepary beans, and amaranth. Some melon options include: Isleta Pueblo, Navajo Yellow and Oodham Ke:li Ba:so (“old woman’s knees). This thrives in the low desert and produce sweet and tasty pale green flesh. Go to NATIVESEEDS.ORG, BURPEE.COM OR HIGHMOWINGSEEDS.COM. Radishes and short season kale can also be planted now.
Corn – Mid month is when you want to plant your seeds for fall sweet corn.
Sunflowers – These giant beauties do great in our Arizona summers. Plant Mammoth variety for for edible seeds. Autumn Beauty, Red Hedge or Sonja are great for cut flowers.
Palms and Bermuda grass- You can continue to plant your palms and bermuda grass lawns.
Solarize soil – You can solarize your garden soil this time of year if weeds and disease have infested your garden for an organic solution. Spread 2″ of manure on top of the soil and soak with water. Cover the bed loosely with a sheet of thick, clear plastic to allow the sun through. Bury the plastic edges or weigh them down so they cannot blow away. Leave it for 6-8 weeks. The nitrogen in the manure and the water and sun will heat up and kill most of the weeds seeds and pathogens. Just in time to prepare for your fall garden. Don’t worry about the earthworms. They will go deep to get away from the heat.
Prevent citrus rinds from cracking – Citrus rinds become tough without adequate moisture and cannot expand as the fruit swells. To avoid this water mature citrus trees every 10-14 days in the summer. Water long and deep. Water young trees every 5-10 days. Apply water to the drip line (outer edges of canopy), and move emitters or hoses as the canopy spreads. Make sure the water soakes 3′ deep with each watering for mature trees. This long deep watering will allow the roots to take in the water and then dry out in between for a very healthy tree and great tasting fruit.