Introducing Master Gardener Monthly Series

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Rick Coggins PictureBy Ric Coggins

There is nothing more “green” than growing something! Plants take what we in the animal kingdom produce as waste, and give back pure oxygen to breathe, wonderful fruits and vegetables to eat, and natural fibers for clothing. But wishing to “live green” and successfully growing green things can be very different, especially in the diverse climates within Arizona’s regions.

14610860_1253517351387419_904473649616314579_nMany move to Arizona believing they have a green thumb only to puzzle over shriveled summer plants. Gardening newcomers can become confused by gardening books and online blogs that supply information meant for other parts of the country. Adding to the Arizona growing frustration, big box garden centers ship in beautiful tropical plants that cannot survive here, or they often sell plants months past the time when they should have been planted in Arizona.

12593705_1056717814400708_5699132703168767322_oPlease, don’t be discouraged! Arizona has amazing climates and microclimates in which one can grow a number of native and adapted edible and ornamental green plants. In fact, if you time it correctly, you can have two amazing garden seasons instead of just one! It doesn’t matter if you have an irrigated acre or a coffee can in a windowsill, you can grow beautiful flowers and amazing edibles in Arizona…pretty much year round!

If you would like to learn how to grow things in Arizona, then come back right here every month. Green Living magazine is joining forces with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners Program to provide timely and climate-appropriate monthly gardening articles that will teach readers how to successfully grow thriving green plants.

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Arizona Master Gardeners are university-trained volunteers who serve as community educators. They work with the University of Arizona, providing research-based information on environmentally responsible gardening and landscaping to the public. We are excited about this new partnership and to hear from you about what you are growing and what you would like to learn.


If you just can’t wait until the February issue, feel free to “Ask a Master Gardener.” University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners are frequently at local home shows to discuss your plant questions in person. You can also call on the “Plant Help Desk,” where Master Gardener volunteers answer phone calls and emails, helping to identify plants or pests and providing answers to your gardening questions.

For more, call 602-827-8201, email maricopacountyplanthotline@gmail.com or visit 4341 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix.

Ric Coggins is an Arizona Master Gardener who grew up on a one-acre garden tended to by his father, who was a regular contributor to organic gardening and farming magazines. Ric continues his father’s “green” traditions, owning and operating The Fool on the Hill Farm, a one-acre organic garden in Mesa.

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