by April Reinhardt
(last updated August 7, 2017)
If you are a gardener and live in the southwest United States, then you probably subscribe to the guidelines of the Sunset Zones, rather than the USDA Zones. The Sunset Zones map indicates zones 10, 11, 12, and 13 comprise areas from California to New Mexico, and are termed the Southwest Desert Zone.
While planting a garden in the desert zones proves challenging, it is possible to grow plants and vegetables successfully. Southwest gardeners have the advantage of warm weather with an extra long growing season. In fact, most southwest zones have two growing seasons; one in spring and another in fall, and usually no freezing temperatures. Follow these guidelines when planting a southwest garden:
Since southwest gardeners have the benefit of having two planting seasons, take advantage of that fact and plant cool-season flowers and vegetables in the fall. Flowers that grow well during southwest autumns are snapdragons, pansies, and sweet peas. Vegetables grow very well in the southwest during autumn and some of the best cool-season vegetables to grow are potatoes, lettuce, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, to name just a few.
Don't overlook the fact that tropical plants and trees grow well in the southwest, as well as cacti.
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