5 Crops Proven to Grow During Arizona Summer


Today we are going to share with you our top five favorite crops for dependable summer harvest here in Arizona. Now that summer is coming to an end we want to share what crops have always worked for us. Are you thinking about a food security plan and strategically picking out seeds for food production? These would be our top five recommendations!

0:00 Top 5 Crops
1:02 Crop #1
2:14 Crop #2
4:06 Crop #3
6:12 Crop #4
7:41 Crop #5
9:13 Start Planning Your Crops

So our first crop is eggplant and eggplant is amazing because once you put it in the ground, it can survive multiple years. So here in Arizona, at least it is a perennial crop. So this plant is probably two and a half years old. It has flourished since it dies back a little bit in the winter, but throughout the summer and early fall, it produces beautiful eggplant and it produces a lot of them. So you can see that this plant, even though it was harvested from a few days ago is full of eggplants. And there’s even more down here. So eggplant is definitely a heavy producer. It starts producing right away. Once it gets big enough and it’s just really dependable, it’s really maintenance free, we don’t really have to do anything. We haven’t had any issues with bugs, really eggplant isn’t one of the summer bugs, favorite things. Eggplant is definitely on the top of our list. It’s really easy to care for. Once you put it in the ground, it just goes, and it produces tons of eggplant throughout the year.

Another summer favorite for the heat is Egyptian spinach. So as you can see in front of me and behind me, this is our Egyptian spinach hedge and Egyptian spinach is prolific. It starts out this big and it just continues to get bigger and bigger. If we let it, it would get taller than me throughout the summer. And it just takes care of itself. Sometimes squash bugs will come, but they’re not like super interested in this so we haven’t had much of an issue with pests, but it just keeps growing and it’ll sprout side shoots and it just gets really bushy. So this probably started out as four plants in this section. So for a really low amount of seeds, you have a ton of edible produce and you just eat it just like you would spinach so you can eat it raw or you can eat it cooked. It cooks a little bit faster than regular spinach. It’s a little bit thinner of a leaf, but it serves the exact same purpose. And like I said, it’s prolific and it’s really fast growing. So this is one of the last things we put in in the summer. And it’s one of the first to be ready to be harvested. So just like arugula, this is a perfect green for the summer heat. It’s really nutrient dense. And this is definitely something that we always save seeds for. And we always plant this to have it on hand. And Egyptian spinach would always be part of our food security plan, you can grow it in a pot. You can grow it in smaller spaces in the ground, in a greenhouse, you can grow it on your counter. So it’s just a wonderful plant. And it’s something that we have had on the farm. We always grow it in this spot usually, but it will tolerate anything. So just really adaptable and a great plant to have on hand.

Another plant on our top five for summer produce is the Chinese long bean. So any long bean you can find is going to be great for the summer. They’re really productive. And you get a lot of produce from a single plant. We have about six stocks here and they have covered this trellis. They really like to be trellis. They like climbing up something, give some support. It’s a lot easier to see the beans. These are green beans. So they kind of blend into the vines. So having them on the trellis makes it a lot easier. You can see, this is a long bean, and this is about the stage that we harvest it. We want it before it gets too bulbus and it stays long and thin, but about this size. So one like this, this one be a long bean eventually, but it’s still really skinny and we can get more out of this if we leave it on the vine for a couple more days. So long beans are really easy to care for as long as they’re being trellis. And what we love about them is how easy it is to save the seed. So you can see some of these pods have already dried out And then these seeds in here are ready to go into the ground. So it’s a really easy plant to save seeds from. So it’s really easy to do generational planting and succession planting with long beans. So these are seeds that I just took from the dried pod, and I’m just gonna place them in this little trench and then just slightly cover them and they’ll be good to go. And they should come up in a couple weeks and you get a lot of seeds to save. So it can keep, you can keep planting it throughout the season, and you’ll still have plenty of seeds to save. So from a pretty low amount of startup plants, you can have indefinite long beans, which is really awesome. And that’s why we use it for our food security plan and why we always have it growing during the summer.

Another plant that we grow a lot of here on the urban farm during the summer is okra. So we have a red and green variety here. This is our biggest patch of okra, but we have it spread throughout the farm. And okra is just really great. It takes care of itself. It’s really low maintenance. It can take a little bit of a neglect and it produces a lot. So one of the things that we do here on the farm to make sure it keeps producing is if you have okra that are way too big to be eaten like this, one’s gonna be a little bit Woody. We take those off the plant and keep the plant really clean and minimal. And the plant will use its energy to make new okra, rather than putting all its energy into making these bigger and just worse tasting. So these will go into the compost, but that will help keep the okra that we want to harvest soon, continue to flourishing, and we’ll get a lot more buds. So you can see we cleaned up this okra last week. And since then, it’s put all its energy into producing all these new buds, which will be okra. So that’s just a helpful tip to keep it producing. But okra is one of our favorite crops here to grow on the farm because of how well it does. And it’s just takes a little bit of effort to maintain it. And then you get produce throughout the summer.

The final crop on our top five crops for planting in the heat of summer is I’itoi onions. So I’itoi onions are actually one of my favorite crops in general, but they’re amazing. So they are small little bulbing onion, and they taste more like a shallot than a green onion. They grow so quickly and they multiply like crazy, which makes them a great addition to our food security plan. And just a really easy thing that we can grow in containers or small pots that don’t take up a lot of space, but you get a ton of onions. They’re really easy to divide and you can eat this or you can replant it and then it’ll grow more. So we got all of this whole bunch from just one of these small bulbs. So you get a lot of produce and they’ll get even bigger over time. But the really nice thing about these onions is that you can have them basically all year long. So if you live in a warm enough climate, or if you’re able to bring some of your crops inside, these can grow in a small pot and you can grow them all year long. So these are definitely one of our favorites and you can plant these or you can let them dry and then plant them when your season starts again. So just depending on what zone you live in, they’re just really adaptable. They’re really easy. And they’re very delicious. So I’itoi onions are something that we always have on the farm all year round, but especially in the summer, we really appreciate them.

So those were our top five favorite crops to grow in the summer here in Arizona. We really appreciate these crops for their dependability, their low maintenance and how fast they grow and how much they produce in such a short amount of time. I hope this helps inspire you to find crops that work within your growing season, no matter how awful the weather is outside, you can always find plants that will adapt in the summertime here in Arizona, we have a lot of heat and we just really appreciate the durability of these five crops. Having crops set aside that we know we can grow and that we know will thrive no matter what this season is super important to us here on the urban farm. So I hope this helps you pick out crops for your food security plan and crops that you can have. And remember, if you try, you can grow throughout the year, no matter where you live.


  • Lynette’s mission is to translate financial noise into understandable language and enable educated, independent choices. All her work is fact and evidence based and she shares these tools openly. She believes strongly that we need to be as independent as possible and at the same time, we need to come together in community to survive and thrive through any financial crisis.

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