Growing vegetables in your home garden is so enjoyable and rewarding! I hope you give it a try, you’ll love it! Here are my five raised garden beds and containers filled with vegetables and berry bushes, at my home in Phoenix, zone 9b. This spring in my garden, here what I have growing: boysenberry, raspberry, blueberry, mint, lemon thyme, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, peppers, cilantro, strawberries, watermelon, green beans, sugar snap peas, edamame, zinnia, marigolds, snap dragons, allysum, squash, zucchini. I’m going to plant my pumpkin seeds soon.
I also have my courtyard filled with containers of vegetables that we planted. The courtyard provides the perfect situation for morning sun and afternoon shade, so we are taking advantage of that. We planted tomatoes, squash, zucchinis, strawberries, sugar snap peas, peppers and a few sunflowers.
I just planted four raspberry bushes and some zinnia in this raised bed. I added a mint plant to keep the bad bugs and critters away. More about companion planting in a bit!
Zinnia and Marigolds-The Dream Team
I planted zinnia along the borders of most of my raised garden beds, which look super cute and are a great companion plant. They attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds which are all great pollinators. Harmful bugs like aphids, do not like the smell of zinnias or marigolds.
Raised garden beds are great because our native soil is hard and claylike on our side yard. With raised beds, I can add quality soil so that my plants can flourish! Here’s the soil that I put in my beds, along with worm castings, and other nutrients like vermiculite, azomite, and mushroom compost to create the perfect environment for my veggies to grow. Links below the picture.
Companion plants for your vegetables and berry bushes:
Companion planting is important for pest control and pollination.
Alyssum and marigolds are great to keep away the bad bugs. I have these in all my vegetable garden beds.
Grapevine, companion plants:
Our grapevines are thriving on our side yard! They love the Phoenix heat and sunshine. We have the following varieties of grape vines plants: Zinfandel, Merlot, Chardonnay, Interlaken and Seedless Red. There are videos of my grapevines saved to my Instagram highlight called Vegetable Garden.
Blueberries companion plants:
*Strawberries- I planted two varieties of strawberries this year: seascape and chandler. We’ll see how they do… And the blueberry plant in the background is a sharp blue.
Creeping thyme- I planted lemon thyme and it smells SO good!
*Thyme~ ground cover type
Poppies and lupine wildflowers
Boysenberry companion plants:
Tomatoes & Peppers companion plants:
Basil, onions, garlic, chives
Green beans, Corn, Cucumbers, and Peppers:
These four plants grow well together and corn acts as a great shade structure for other veggies who don’t want to scorch in afternoon sun. I have them growing harmoniously in one of my raised garden beds. It’s amazing how well the corn is doing! I love watching it grow taller and healthier each day. Here’s the type of corn that I planted and you can see how it looks then compared to a few weeks later in a pic a few down. Impressive, right?!
Pic below shows how our corn looks a few weeks after I planted it.
I just planted this cucumber plant a couple weeks ago and it’s coming along nicely. I have a metal trellis for it to grow vertically. I planted cilantro next to it to help repel the bad bugs.
Barbados Cherry Tree:
Oh how this tree adores our Phoenix heat and sunshine! And it’s very hearty! We planted it two years ago, but last year the main branch broke of during a monsoon storm. It since recovered and it’s going strong again. It gets LOADED in tart red cherries. The plan is to have this tree create afternoon shade for some of our raised garden beds.
Here’s how our cherry tree has grown after two years. It’s a fast grower! Last summer the leader branch got knocked off in the monsoon storm, but it was determined to make a comeback and it sure did!
Afternoon shade is important for most plants in Phoenix, especially in the summer. I put 50% shade cloth over my vegetable garden. I got it locally, but here are a few options online for similar shade cloth. I do not shade our Cherry Tree.
Critters and Pests:
Ok so we have the cutest little ground squirrels who live in the grass field next to our house, but the are NOT so cute when they visit our garden! They ate most of my edamame plant and sugar snap peas. Little buggers! They look like prarie dogs, but after googling them, I discovered that they are round tailed ground squirrels. I don’t have the heart to harm them, so we catch them in a live trap and then give them a new zip code lol! We take them a few miles away and release them in the desert. We’ve been catching them with peanut butter on some crackers or bread. I have some video on my Instagram stories of the little buggers and their release into the desert.
Companion planting, as described above helps a lot with getting rid of unwanted beetles, caterpillars, and aphids. You can also check out Neem Oil and Liquid Fence. Herbs like mint, cilantro, basil, and thyme are also great natural deterents. Many bugs are our friends, like bees of course and lady bugs! Celebrate if you see these in your garden!
Every vegetable garden NEEDS sunflowers! If you haven’t tried planting sunflower seeds in Phoenix yet, this is a sign to do it now! lol! They love our Phoenix sunshine and heat. We’ve had great success with growing Mammoth sunflowers. For a couple of bucks for a bag of seeds, you can’t go wrong. Big Bang for your buck. I like the Burpee Mammoth Organic seeds. Sunflowers are amazing and very satisfying to grow. We’ve grown them to 12ft in our yard.
My grandparents had a large vegetable garden in their backyard and I used to love meandering around it when we visited when I was a kid. My favorite part was picking and eating raspberries from their huge raspberry bush. I remember my grandparents spending a ton of time caring for their garden and gathering the harvest. We always had fresh tomatoes, beans, cabbage and corn for dinner when we were at their house, picked fresh from their garden. I can see why they enjoyed gardening so much and I love it, too!:)
Here’s today’s harvest below. We’ve gotten at least 20 tomatoes so far off of the plant in the courtyard, which is in a container. It’s like 6 ft tall already and the tomatoes are so tasty.
I hope you are inspired to start your own vegetable garden. It is a very positive and rewarding hobby. Let me know if you have any questions! You can DM me on Instagram. XO- Amy