Garden Planting Calendar for Tucson
This calendar is a rough planting guide for food plants in the Tucson area. It is compiled from Desert Harvest, Tucson Organic Gardeners’ Composter newsletter, Native Seeds/SEARCH planting chart, and conversations with Tucson gardeners. Please experiment and let us know if you have any improvements. Let’s grow this list and our knowledge as we grow our gardens — and then share the abundance!
Sow beets, lettuce, carrots, parsley, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips, onions, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, kale, Chinese cabbage, Chinese celery, cilantro, collards, leeks, mustard greens, Swiss chard
Plant bare-root plants
Plant beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, Chinese celery, cilantro, collard, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard green, onion sets, pea, radish, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip, Jerusalem artichoke
Plant bush beans, cucumbers, squash, dill, chard, and sweet corn late in the month
Mulch potatoes and onion
March 15 is traditionally the last day of frost. If the native velvet mesquite trees are leafing out that, too, is a good sign that we will now be frost free until fall.
Last sowing of carrots, beets, and heat tolerant leaf lettuce
Set out transplants of tomatoes and peppers
Plant basil, squash, sweet corn, Lima beans, snap beans, cantaloupes, watermelon
After danger of frost you can plant Lima beans, black-eyed peas, cane sorghum, chilies, chiltepines, cotton, gourds, indigo, panic grass, teosinte, tobacco, tomatillos
Mulch trees, shrubs, and vegetables (will retain moisture and lessen stress on plants as temperatures warm up
Plant such annuals as marigolds to add color and deter pests from garden
You may want to sow tall plants such as sunflowers and amaranth on the west side of your plot to screen other plants from the hot afternoon sun.
If planting corn consider the traditional “three sisters” arrangement of corn, beans, and squash or melons together. The corn creates a trellis and shade. The beans fix nitrogen in the soil and grow up the corn. The squash or melons take advantage of the shade and nitrogen while creating a living-mulch over the ground to protect the soil.
Plant okra, asparagus, beans, cherry tomatoes, sunflowers, amaranth, cucumber, eggplant, melons, Lima beans, black-eyed peas, cane sorghum, chilies, chiltepines, cotton, gourds, indigo, panic grass, teosinte, tobacco, tomatillos, muskmelon
Still not too late to plant pumpkins, cantelopes, squash
Plant summer bulbs – caladium, anna, dahlia, glads, iris
Warm-to-hot-season greens such as amaranth, purslane, lambsquarters, Malabar spinach, and Yakina Savoy lettuce can be sown now and grown through summer — all will appreciate afternoon shade from a tall trellis, native mesquite tree, or sunflowers to the west.
Plant heat tolerant veggies: Lima beans, eggplants, peanuts, peppers, sweet potatoes
Cover tomatoes with shade cloth or perhaps you have grown some shade
Sow fall tomatoes indoors
Make sure you have covered the soil with mulch to retain moisture and reduce plant stress
With the monsoon rains plant tepary beans, devil’s claw, corn
Start tomatoes, peppers, eggplants inside
If you want, some folks now prune their tomato plants by 2/3
Hand pollinate squash and melon flowers in the early morning or increase pollinator habitat and they’ll do the work for you
You can sow sweet corn again
Set out tomato, pepper plants mid month
Direct seed cucumbers and bush beans late in the month
Set out transplants of broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower
Plant most greens such as spinach, lettuce, chard, collards, kale, mustard greens, etc.
Plant garlic, carrots, onions, parsley, peas, cilantro, radishes, sweet peas, beets, broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage and celery, turnips, garbanzos, lentils, desert chia, rutabaga, artichoke, and nasturtiums
Start thinking about neighborhood street and shade tree planting programs. Contact Trees for Tucson 791-3109 and see www.DesertHarvesters.org for tree lists and tree order forms.
Plant carrots, beets, broccoli, spinach, garbanzos, lentils, desert chia, cilantro, peas, parsnip, salsify
Sow native wildflowers
Plant peas, fava beans, beets, carrots, lettuce, spinach, mustard, turnips, chard, horseradish, rhubarb
Set out seedlings of celery, cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts
Plant hardy herbs like cilantro
Plant hollyhocks, calendula, alyssum, bachelor buttons, freesias
Late in month, start tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants indoors