Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening in Zone 9b (West of Phoenix)

Tonopah, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hope you all had a Great Valentines Day yesterday.
Himself and I are wanting to start a raised bed vegetable garden with a drip irrigation watering system here in zone 9b
(Zip Code 85354) We are going to use cement blocks instead of lumber, partly due to cost of L. and also termites & rabbits!

Also we are planning to put some sort of shade clothe covering up to protect from both the sun and the birds .. also the rabbits, bless their little rabbit hearts!

We are just starting to build this today/tomorrow ... so I know I am behind the 8 ball to get seeds planted.

We have been looking at different types of planting medium to put in the R. beds and we want to add composted Chicken Manure which we can get from a local chicken ranch that composts, bags & sells.

Can anyone in our area offer any advice? We are open to learning! We have been researching info on the internet like crazy but then remembered I have had a membership to Dave's Garden for several years now & it is rather silly of me not to be using this resource & the advice I can get here.

Are there any other forums I should be reading besides this one?

Any and all help will be appreciated, Thanks .... Autumn16

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

Here is a thread by Mary in Phoenix about raised beds and covers (don't be fooled by the title, it's about more than heating the soil) http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1234526/ There is also a forum here on DG for Raised Bed Gardening, but more seems to be discussed here on the veggie forum.
My best protection from rabbits (and insects and wind) is row cover. I use a hoop system to keep it up off the plants and brick down the edges. If I don't cover my broccoli/cauliflower transplants the rabbits get half of them.
Several gardeners here use raised beds, Gymgirl, Honeybee and more (sorry, too early for memory to be working!)
Not in AZ, but understand fighting wind, heat and rabbits!

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hello Autumn16 - Calalily, thanks for linking to that thread, it really does have lots of good information. Autumn16, you may also want to visit the Southwest Gardening forum here on Dave's: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/region_sw/all/ You will find lots of friendly locals to chat with about gardening in the desert.

To answer you question about where to find soil for your new raised bed, if you have a pickup truck you can get good stuff from Pioneer Landscaping http://www.pioneersand.com/az/locations.htm They will also deliver, but I'm not sure of the minimum order for that. I go to the one on Northern and 115th Ave but I see there is one in Goodyear that may work for you. Last time I got one-half yard each of the sandy loam mix and the mulch mix. (Where are you getting the chicken manure?)

You can still sow seeds of many summer veggies, especially squash and beans but you are probably too late for tomatoes and peppers. But you can start tomato and pepper seeds indoors in August for a fall/winter crop.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

Tonopah, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hello Calalily and Mary McP .... Thank You Both for answering.

I will look at the other forums and other research .. It has been so long I need to re-learn a lot!!

Yes Mary, I have talked to Pioneer in Goodyear ... I wasn't thrilled with any of their mixes by themselves ... but DUH ..
I never thought of mixing them together to get what I want like you suggested. I have been out of gardening for awhile!

The composted Chicken Manure is sold by Hickmans (Egg Farm) .. I don't know name or composition or how much in each bag etc yet ... but have a friend that works there so will get some info and get back to you.

My daughter suggested I get plants this year since we are starting late so we can have a couple of things we couldn't have otherwise ... like tomatoes etc. Thanks again. Appreciate all the info I can get!

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Autumn16, Gregory Ware of Dos Arbolitos Nursery in Waddell is having a plant sale in central Phx tomorrow. He starts great veggies! Hopefully you see this in time. It's at Southwest Gardener in central Phx - http://www.southwestgardener.com/event-calendar/

Tomato Plantapalooza Sale

Sunday, February 19, noon to 3 p.m. This is a special plant sale just for tomato lovers (you know who you are). Gregory Ware from Dos Arbolitos Nursery grows some of the most interesting varieties of tomatoes we’ve seen. They are organically grown, acclimated to our desert climate and ready to take root in your garden. This is your chance to grow something new, unusual and tasty.

Tonopah, AZ(Zone 9b)

Oh Darn It!! Did not see this until today. 2/20/12
I'll look around and see what other options are available.
This would have been great.
Thanks so much.

Tonto Basin, AZ

Autumn16, we moved here 12 years ago and quickly found that managing soil moisture in the garden was quite difficult, even with drip watering. Must be quite a challenge in the valley, which is consistently 8 or 10 degrees hotter than here. What proved to be a breakthrough was mulching with 3 or 4 inches of coarse organic material over the drip lines. We use moldy horse hay from the barn, but I imagine straw hay or other similar material would work as well, except not cow hay which has many more weed seeds in it. Bagged mulch or nursery supplied bulk mulch might not do as well - I think it is absorbent enough to wick the moisture to the surface, which hay-like much doesn't do. A side benefit we've realized is that very few airborne seeds germinate, I think they get caught in the dry uppermost part of the mulch. What few do start to grow pop out easliy.

This message was edited Feb 20, 2012 8:35 PM

Tonopah, AZ(Zone 9b)

Wow ... tarheel12az ... what a grand idea. Thanks. I am going it one step at a time.

Himself is making me an Olympic garden I swear! He is in process of making 4 cement block raised beds.
Each is (inside measure) 267" x 63" x 15.5 " ....... so to plant them 14" high and leave 1.5 " to the top ... I need
[roughly] 24 cubic yards .. all totaled ... of fill and of composted chicken manure.

Pioneer SOD Mix is 60% Screened Dirt ... 30% Mulch ... 10% sand ... for a little extra water retention.

There will be 12" of that and 2" of Hickmans composted aand screened Chicken Manure mix in.
He is putting in a drip system ......... building a frame like a greenhouse around it on which will be small chicken wire.

It may keep out the rabbits, but the ground squirrels will laugh .. I have tried to tell him, but he thinks they will be kept out ..
lol .. We can either hang shade clothe or plastic to make a greenhouse .. or just leave it open. He really has made it
an Olympic Raised Garden. NICE!! Got our 1st 10 cubic Yards of Dirt today ... let the games begin!!

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Wow, you are making great progess.....I'm so proud of you!!! Keep us posted and hey! where's the pictures???

Tonopah, AZ(Zone 9b)

Well, I am a computer dummy!!I just tried to Upload (I guess) some pictures from my online verizon account to my facebook page and OMW ... some went but some others went as well .. Thankfully they were ones I don't mind for the world to see .. but what if???

I took 6 pix today and sent to my Dgt. (Sisnow) in New York ... but where on Dave's Garden do I get a Tutorial on how to upload photos to my account. I can text with the best of them, but some of this photo to social networking really stymies me!!! lol

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Oh - here on Dave's it could not be simpler: When you're typing your message, look below the message window it says, you may upload up to 5 images. All you have to do is find the image on your hard drive.....like c:My Pictures????

Tonto Basin, AZ

I remember a post years ago on DG with a link to a northeast gardener who had finally defeated the squirrels. They built an enclosure with 18 inch deep footings, sides and roof fully fenced with narrow mesh wire, looked to be about 12' x 24'.

A gardener on a mission.

Tonopah, AZ(Zone 9b)

Oh for Pete' sake ... Mary .. told you I am a computer dummy .. I see it now ... lol ... Thanks!

The ground squirrels here, tarheel2az that I was referring to would be defeated by that also ... but these little .. actually Gerbil's I think, cause they look more like a chipmunk then a squirrel will slip right through what the husband has out there to put up now. So we will see, live and learn.

I'll try for some pictures ... soon!

Tonto Basin, AZ

Cute little buggers, aren't they?

Tonopah, AZ(Zone 9b)

Yes they are darling, but determined !!

I am trying to get these darned pix uploaded off my cell phone. I got them from cell to my verizon online photo album ... no problem, I do that all the time. Now, I am trying to get them from there to Dave's garden .. something is messing them up. a couple of minutes ago I tried and D.G. gave me back a message .. has been submitted .. but I didn't get to select anything out of the album ... so heavens only knows what I submitted. ??? Still trying to figure this thing out. Might have to use my Camera, camera !! lol

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

What kinda phone are you uploading pics from? I upload from my BB all the time... LMK.

Tonopah, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hello Gymgirl ... I have a LG ENV2 from Verizon

When I take a pix I then send it to my Verizon Online Album. From there I can send it to facebook, but it sends some shots sideways even tho they leave Verizon upright? And I can't figure how to send from Verizon to Dave's Garden.

Irritates me so much when I can't figure things out. I usually can read, or fiddle around until I get it handled .. but not with this it has me ... lol Thanks.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Here's how I do it.

I take a pic on my phone, and don't send it anywhere. I have a 16g memory card in the phone, where I have files set up, just like on my computer. So, I save the pic to my garden pics file.

When I want to upload a pic to DG:
►I plug my cellphone into my computer and it does what it does so the computer recognizes the cellphone hardware has been plugged in.
►After I've posted my message in this very box, I drop down below this box to the "Choose File" box under First Image.
►I Click on "Choose File" and a browser window pops up
►I locate the drive where my cellphone is plugged in, and from there, it's just a matter of going to the garden pictures file, and selecting, then opening up the picture I want to upload
►The file addy for the pictures appears in the Choose File box.
►Then I click on the next box for Second image, and repeat the procedure above.

Hope this helps. Let me know.

Tonopah, AZ(Zone 9b)

Gymgirl, Thank you so much ... I will have to get a new USB cord to connect my cell to the computer as my Cat seems
to have thought it was a chew toy! I also have played with it a little on my own to see if I could figure it out .. but
not had much time as we have been gone here, gone there .. whew!! Soon as I can I will get back at this.
Again, Thanks so much for all your efforts .. I sincerely do appreciate it.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

autumn16 - have you tried emailing them to yourself? Depending on how many there are that could work. It's the ONLY way I've found to get my pics off my phone.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

You don't patch your cellphone into your computer, and simply upload the picture file?

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

gg, I've tried but was unable to locate the phone when it was plugged in. I rarely use the phone for pics so it's not a big enough deal to figure it out. I'm sure I tried what you outlined above because it makes perfect sense. If I used it as a camera more, I'd try harder, just not that important. Thanks for the note.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)


Tonopah, AZ(Zone 9b)


Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

and here I thought you were just a backyard gardener....nice setup autumn. That's some 'raised bed'. Do you/are you planning to sell to market?

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