February and March in the desert southwest are months for planning and planting.  In February, it’s still appropriate to continue to seed many of what we consider winter crops – leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, collards, and carrots, beets, radishes and bok choy. It’s also time to start planning a spring garden.

As you plan, remember  to amend your garden soil, especially if you are planting in the same area that held your winter crops. If you don’t use manure and you mix your soil amendments deeply into your existing space, you should be able to plant right after adding amendments. If you use manure, remember to give the area three to four weeks to sit.

When turning your soil, dig to a depth of 10 to 12 inches, to really loosen it. Then spread a four- to six-inch layer of good organic matter – mainly compost – over the area. We also like  FoxFarm’s Soil Conditioner because it contains earthworm castings, bat guano and microbes that aid in root development. At this point you can add dry fertilizer such as FoxFarm’s Tomato & Vegetable Organic Fertilizer. Mix the soil and amendments really well and then rake the area to be flat and level. Water thoroughly.

Here’s what you can plant in the later part of the month and through March. Some are winter crops that an be planted one last time. You might want to resist the urge to plant another lettuce crop because as the days heat up the leaves become bitter and will bolt.

Artichoke – Transplants are best.

Basil – Let some flower to attract beneficial insects.

Beans – Edamame, Lima, Snap, Yardlong

Beets – OK to plant one more crop.

Carrots – Harvest one more crop.



Corn – Plant in blocks for best pollination.

Cucumbers – Armenian like the heat. Standard might do better planted in second half of the summer.


Fennel – Flower will attract beneficial insects.



Lemon Balm

Lemon Grass

Melon – Need lots of room and water.

Okra – Wait until later in March to plant. Loves heat. Pick often or pods become tough.




Peppers (transplants)


Radish – Last planting of the season.


Salad Burnet

Scented Geraniums

Snap Peas

Summer squash



Tomatoes (transplants)



Planting guide source: “Desert Gardening For Beginners”