As soon as March 1st comes around, I get excited about spring. It’s the first day I feel comfortable giving a side-eye to cold days and plan on putting away my sweaters. That’s especially true here in sunny Southern Arizona. More specifically for me in Tucson, where, after a delightful snow day just a few weeks ago, I am ready to plant my spring garden.

I am not the super prepared gardener that harvested their tomato seeds at the end of last season and planted them months ago so now they are beautiful seedlings ready to put in the ground. Instead, I like to utilize local gardening resources like Tucson Village Farm and the Community Food Bank to create the perfect garden and the perfect Saturday. No matter where you get your gardening resources from, here’s how to get planting this weekend.
If you’re in Tucson, you can find me at the Tucson Village Farm on Saturday, March 9 at 8 AM.  They are part of the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension where you can walk around their garden or troubleshoot with a master gardener over the phone. In the spring they have their Spring Vegetable Start Sale. It’s always good to get to any plant sale early so you can get the pick of the crop. They will have many varieties of tomatoes with names like Sun Gold, Supersweet 100’s, Tommy Toe, and Lucky Tiger. Plus other spring crops like basil, eggplant, and peppers. After a quick browse of their $4 starts, I’ll head across town to Wormaina at the Community Food Bank. Many other local gardens and nurseries have their spring plant sales throughout March and April too. Keep an eye out on Facebook because they are usually listed there.
All spring long, the Community Food Bank has free gardening classes for everyone from aspiring gardeners to the more advanced gardener. I think I’m somewhere in the middle. I like to call myself an experimental gardener. It’s my thing to throw some soil and compost to in the ground or a pot with a start and see if it grows. I’ll take the occasional workshop and hope to absorb some knowledge. But my trial and error method has served me well over the years. Like when I get to sit down in March on St. Patricks Day to potatoes and cabbage that I grew myself.
The Community Food Bank has plenty of spring starts for sale as well running about $2 to kick start your Spring garden. Plus purchasing your starts from them means you are contributing to continuing the free classes they offer. After that, I’ll take home my bounty of starts and hit the books. Some titles I suggest that I found on the shelves here at Bookmans Northwest are ‘Container Gardening for Dummies 2nd Edition’, ‘Month by Month Gardening in the Southwest’ by Mary Irish, and local author and Bookmans favorite Charles Kane ‘Sonoran Desert Food Plants: Edible Uses for the Desert Wild Bounty’.
I’ll flip through these over lunch. And one last tip, I make sure I have my soil and compost ready beforehand so I can get to planting when I get home from my morning Tucson garden tour. Come with me, no matter where in Arizona you live, and let’s get spring planting!