Edible Landscape – Fruits and Vegetables
Fruit trees, especially citrus, are very popular in the Phoenix Valley of the Sun. We have a very long growing season, (Phoenix is in USDA plant hardiness zone 9) and the low desert zone enjoys warm winters, followed by wonderful springtime temperatures and then hot summers. These types of trees add beauty to any residential garden. Some will take a while to grow, such as apple or orange trees, while others will be ready within a season. Certain fruit trees require a certain amount of chilling hours to produce fruit, and since we do not consistently get enough cold winter weather to meet the requirements for these particular fruit trees you may find only in other parts of the country with more frigid winter seasons. You will, however, find varieties of peaches, apricots and apples that grow well here. Also, you can find figs, pears, persimmons, plums, quince, grapes, kiwi, blackberries, strawberries and pomegranates are other fruits that can be grown here. Of course, the choice is completely up to you with what you grow. These will add even more beauty to your landscape, as well as provide you a larger variety of edible produce. Think of it as an “edible landscape!”
Vegetable producing plants also are very popular in our climate zone. Since the majority of vegetables grow underground, it offers the chance to create raised, or slightly elevated gardens. With a beautiful, defined border, this will allow you to keep your vegetable patches separate from your other landscape features. We recommend mineral-rich organic soil, so your produce offers you the maximum health benefits.
Some of the fruits and vegetables work better for certain times of the year. There are certain types that have a “season”, such as the summer for when strawberries are produced while grapes are considered to be more of a fall or winter fruit. Their preferred season is when they will grow best, and is something that you need to consider. We have two growing seasons here in the Valley of the Sun gardens – the cool season and the warm season. For a range of optimal dates, see University of Arizona Cooperative Extension’s Vegetable Platig Calendar for Maricopa County, ag.arizoa.edu/pubs/garden/az1005.pdf. Just about everything delectable grows here, with few exception.
Plants with edible fruits are warm-season crops, such as corn, cucumber, eggplant, jicama, melons, okra, peppers, pumpkin, squash and tomatoes.
Plants with edible leaves, stems and roots are cool-season crops, such as beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, carrots, onions, parsnips, radishes, salad greens turnips and peas.
In summary, having fruits and vegetables growing in your garden offers beauty and attractiveness to your landscape design, significant money savings on produce, and will make you so much healthier!