Beeman: Gardening creativity can top tough soil


By Betty Beeman

Many new residents are moving into Maricopa and are used to growing in home states where you just plant something and it grows. They often find Arizona, with its hard-packed and deficient soil, a challenge to grow healthy plants. But once you figure out the rules for Arizona soil, weather and water, you can begin to enjoy growing trees and plants.

Many people begin their garden experience with a raised bed or containers. There is a lot of information on the Internet on how to construct a raised bed. Google “How to build a raised bed,” and many ideas will come up.

One of our Master Gardeners grows herbs in old wheel barrows her husband salvages from his work site. She drills holes in the bottom, puts in planting soil, sets up a drip system and is successful with mint, basil, rosemary, oregano and chives.

She also grows in discarded stock tanks and even has an old bathtub she grows tomatoes in.

Next month, I will cover what it takes to have good soil for healthy plants. If you have questions, call the Master Gardener office at 520-374-6263 or email The Master Gardener Office is at the Maricopa Agricultural Center (MAC), 37860 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Betty Beeman is a resident of Maricopa and a Pinal County Master Gardener.

This column appeared in the May issue of InMaricopa.

Master Gardener 101
The state of Washington was the first to start a Master Gardener volunteer program in the early 1970s. It was so successful other states began to establish programs of their own through state colleges and universities. The University of Arizona cooperative Extension established a Master Gardener program in Pinal County in 1982.
Rick Gibson, U of A agricultural extension agent and the director of the cooperative extension program, is responsible for all of Pinal County. As part of his many duties he oversees six Master Gardener programs while teaching many of the classes in the MG program. He also advises and works closely with local farmers on various issues.
To be a Master Gardener, you must complete a 15-week training program (three hours once a week) and pass the certifying exam (multiple-choice questions). You are required 50 hours of volunteer service during the first year and then 25 hours every year after, plus six hours of educational credits to maintain your MG status.
We welcome you to join our beginning class in September. We never stop learning, whether it is sharing knowledge with someone or educating ourselves.