Six Summer Gardening Tips from our Urban Farm

Gardening in Phoenix, particularly during summer, can seem like a daunting task. If you are interested in it, but don't know where to start, we're here to help. We asked our resident expert gardener, Tony Kasowski, to share some useful tips to have a thriving urban farm in the desert. 

1. Know what to plant 

During the summer, Tony recommends growing things such as peppers, summer squash, luffa, tea hibiscus, watermelon or lemon cucumbers. These kinds of crops are tolerant to heat and can continue growing even as temperatures in Phoenix rise. 

2. Be prepared

Tony says to keep two things in mind: compost and water. Quality compost is essential to a succesful harvest, and so is chlorine-free water. To get rid of the chlorine, you can either use a filter, or, since chlorine is a gas, let water sit in a bucket for 24 hours before using it. 

3. Keep your watering on point 

The soil in Phoenix can actually hold a lot of water, so overwatering can be a real problem. With the heat, excess watering can create problems such as rut and fungus.

4. Know how to counteract the heat

As the city heats up, don't hesitate to use a shade cloth. With this help, peppers, tomatoes and other vegetables can last through summer.

5. Know your resources

If you are new to gardening and feel overwhelmed, don't be afraid to ask for help. The Maricopa County Cooperative Extension and the Valley Permaculture Alliance are great places to start.  

6. Get involved

If you're ready to dive in, consider spending some time at our main campus' thriving one-and-a-half acre urban farm . While volunteering at the garden, not only will you spend time working alongside Tony, but you will help grow vegetables to be served at our five dining rooms. 

Fresh vegetables are essential for a balanced diet and you could help make sure our guests have access to them.