Vegetables can be planted in almost any region, as long as they are planted in the right conditions and season. Some need cooler weather, while others need the heat to thrive. In Arizona, the weather (minus the summer months when it is near impossible because of the heat) is nearly ideal for growing vegetables. There are two categories of vegetables to consider planting in Arizona: warm season and cool season. Surprisingly, many vegetables can grow in the Arizona desert--they just need to be planted at the correct time, according to the Arizona Master Gardeners. It is also important to know that some vegetables grow better from seeds while others need to be transplanted.
In Arizona, the winter temperatures fluctuate depending on your region. Up north there is snow, while in the south temperatures do not drop below 40 degrees F. Warm-season vegetables must be planted in late winter to early spring, so by the time they germinate and mature, the frost is over. These vegetables include common produce such as several varieties of beans, honeydew melon, watermelon, cantaloupe, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers, corn, tomatoes, pumpkin, squash and sweet potatoes. These vegetables will not survive once the sun grows stronger, as they will be sunburned in the Arizona summer sun.
Cool-season vegetables must be planted in Arizona gardens from late fall to early winter, since they must have cooler soil in order to sprout and gain strength. These vegetables include common produce like beets, garlic, broccoli, onions, cabbage, peas, carrots, lettuce, potatoes, radishes and spinach. These will flourish best in cooler air, as they mature in late winter to early spring.
There are some vegetables that will be easier to care for, and have a higher survival rate, than others when transplanted. These vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower, eggplant, pepper, onion and tomatoes. Carrots, celery, squash and okra may be transplanted, but are more difficult to care for.
Planting Vegetable Seeds
Growing vegetables from seeds takes more time than transplants (depending on the variety). Vegetables best grown from seeds include leeks, Brussels sprouts, parsley, spinach, endives, kale, watermelon, cucumber, peas and asparagus, to name a handful.