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Growing It Local > Geographic Areas > Southwest Deserts

Southwest Deserts Fruit & Vegetable Gardening

General Information

 

The Southwest Deserts include the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Deserts.

The Mojave Desert spans Southeastern California, Southern Nevada, Southwest Utah, and Northwest Arizona. It is sometimes called the High Desert because elevations are higher than the Sonoran Desert to the South, which is called the Low Desert. Larger cities include Las Vegas, Lancaster, Palmdale, Barstow, Bullhead City, Kingman,  and St. George.

The Sonoran Desert spans Southeastern California and Southwestern Arizona. Because of the long growing season and access to water, the Coachella and Imperial Valleys are important agricultural areas that produce much of the Winter vegetables for the US. Fall, Winter, and Spring are great times for gardening in much of the region. Winter rainfall increases from East to West while summer rainfall increases from West to East. Larger cities include Phoenix and Tuscon, Arizona. Other Sonoran Desert cities include Blythe and Indio in California and Gila Bend and Casa Grande in Arizona.

The Chihuahuan Desert spans an area from South and Central New Mexico through Far Western Texas to the Pecos River. July and August are usually the higher rainfall months.There are areas of irrigated cropland along major rivers with crops of hay, alfalfa, onions, chili peppers, cotton, pecans, and corn. Major communities include Las Cruces, Roswell, Carlsbad, El Paso, Ciudad Juarez, Pecos, Torreon, Saltillo, and Matehuala.

Local Vegetable Gardening Information

High Desert Food: Growing and buying high quality food in the Mohave desert

High Desert Permaculture

Evaluation of Tomato Varieties for West Texas

Growing Zones, Recommended Crop Varieties, and Planting and Harvesting Information for Home Vegetable Gardens in New Mexico

Las Vegas

 

Las Vegas Gardening Information

Great Basin Permaculture is a local non-profit dedicated to permaculture design in our dry land community through action and education.

Great Basin Permaculture (Las Vegas)

Coachella Valley

 

Coachella Valley Gardening Information

The Coachella Valley is bordered by the San Jacinto, Santa Rosa and San Bernardino mountains and is part of the watershed that drains into the Salton Sea. Water sources are groundwater, the Colorado River, and the All-American canal.

Because of its long growing season, available water, and manageable soils, the Coachella Valley is an important agricultural region. The valley is the primary date-growing region in the United States, growing about 95 percent of the nation's crop. Other important crops include citrus, table grapes, melons, corn, lettuce, carrots, broccoli and a number of specialty vegetables.

Larger towns and cities include Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indio, Cathedral City, Coachella, La Quinta, Desert Hot Springs, Rancho Mirage, and Indian Wells.

Online Coachella Valley Photo Blog

This Photo Blog is about agriculture in the Coachella Valley and includes great pictures and interesting information. It includes information about water efficiency and shade houses. Agricultural water in the valley is distributed by underground pipes, rather than open ditches as are used in the Imperial Valley. More than 60% of farms use drip irrigation.

Maven's Photo Blog

Coachella Valley Gardening Book

This online book about gardening in the Coachella Valley includes information about both fruit and vegetable and landscape gardening. The first two sections include information about general regional gardening topics such as mulching and irrigating. The fourth (pink) section includes information about fruit and vegetable gardening.

Gardening in the Coachella Valley

Gardening Help Line

Master Gardeners are available to answer gardening questions for free. Contact them by phone, email, or office walk-in.

Riverside & Indio Help Line Contact Information (Scroll down page.)

UC Riverside Palm Desert Campus Master Gardener Program

Farmers Markets

Coachella Farmers Markets

Imperial Valley

 

Imperial Valley Gardening Information

Because of its climate and availability of water, the Imperial Valley is a major agricultural region. A long growing season allows two crop cycles a year. Local farmers produce a great variety of crops, currently more than 100 different types. It is one of California’s top five producers of spinach, potatoes, cauliflower, sweet corn, broccoli and onions. Other major agricultural products include cotton, lettuce, melons, citrus. It is estimated that more than 2/3 of the vegetables consumed in the United States during the Winter months are grown in the Imperial Valley as well as Winter fruit, cotton, and grains.

Larger towns and cities include Yuma, Brawley, Calexico, El Centro, Imperial, Calipatria, Holtville, and Westmorland.

Imperial Valley Photo Blog

Mavens' Photo Blog titled, "Photo tour of the Imperial Valley: The most productive agricultural area in the world" includes great pictures and information.

Maven's Photo Blog

Farmers Markets

Brawley Farmers Market

 

Phoenix

 

Phoenix Area Information

The Arizona Cooperative Extension provides free information about low desert gardening including information about growing fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Low Desert Gardening Information

Online Arizona Master Gardener Manual

They've produced this guide with planting dates for common vegetables:

Maricopa Planting Dates

Gardening Help Line

The Maricopa County Master Gardeners are available to answer gardening questions for free in person, by phone, or email.

Help Line Contact Information

Farmers Markets

Phoenix Area Farmers Markets

Tuscon

 

Tuscon Area Information

The Arizona Cooperative Extension provides free information about low desert gardening including information about growing fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Low Desert Gardening Information

Online Arizona Master Gardener Manual

Gardening Help Line

The Pima County Master Gardeners are available to answer gardening questions for free in person, by phone, or email.

Plant Clinic Hours, Location, and Contact Information

Community Supported Agriculture

A good way to buy local is through Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs). Consumers buy a subscription from a farmer to receive fresh produce weekly or bi-weekly, usually delivered to a pick-up location.

Tuscon Community Supported Agriculture

Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets in the Tuscon Area

Southern Arizona Heirloom Farmers Markets