If you have recently moved here from less hot and dry places, you may be thinking that your gardening days are over—especially if you have only experienced summer in the desert! It can be hard to imagine anything growing in this hot and arid region as the temperatures rise to incineration levels, the blacktop on the streets melts into a sticky mess, and the ground on which you walk becomes harder than the concrete used to form the sidewalks in your neighborhood. Surprisingly, however, many plants, vegetables, and fruits do well in the desert, especially during the winter. As a matter of fact, you will not need to give up your gardening hobby when you move to sunny Arizona; you only need to shift your perspective of the best time to do so, and this guide to edible plants that grow well in the winter in the desert will help you find your green thumb once again!
As the days grow shorter and the temperatures begin to drop, you may notice a pleasingly sweet aroma wafting through the air in the early evenings. It is the smell of orange blossoms that flood the desert air, the first on our list of edible fruits that thrive in the winter! And although you may be well aware of the popularity of Florida oranges, Arizona oranges taste as sweet and grow even better than the “other sunshine state!” It is exciting to know how well the sweet orange grows in the desert, and you may be on the verge of rushing out to plant a tree of your own but wait, there’s more. It is not just oranges that do well, it is pretty much all citrus! Lemons, grapefruits, tangelos, and even kumquats (mandarins, pomelos, limes, and blood oranges) love our acidic soil and warm winter weather temperatures, ensuring that your household will have plenty of vitamin C when cold season rolls around once more.
As dietary studies show us how bad breads, rice, and potatoes are for our health (and our waistlines), the simple pleasures of the cauliflower rise to the top. Did you know that this unassuming vegetable can be made into tasty rice and potato dishes? And did you also know that a pizza crust made from cauliflower is virtually indistinguishable in taste from a flour version? And finally, as we are sure you have suspected by now, we are excited to inform you that this vegetable that is all the rage these days will do exceedingly well in your winter garden, so feel free to plant extra for your neighbors that just do not have the green thumb that is your trademark!
There seem to be two types of people in the world these days: those that actively hate cilantro and those who cannot imagine a life without this green herb gracing their plates! If you are in the latter category, you will be happy to learn that cilantro is on our list of edible plants that do well in the winter. Pick up some fresh tomatoes and jalapeños at the store and blend together with the juice of your limes and the cilantro to create a salsa that will warm you from the inside out. (Yes, we do get cold in the winter, even in the desert!)
Plant a Salad With These Edible Plants that Grow Well in the Winter
Salads aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you love a healthy salad with your dinner or lunch, a garden of salad fixin’s will surely please! Lettuce, cucumbers, and carrots all thrive in the winter, as do onions and radishes. Spinach fans will be excited to learn that winter is the perfect time for this leafy vegetable, and when you are looking for a little extra color, why not add some beets to your salad garden? This super vitamin- and antioxidant-packed vegetable comes in a variety of exciting colors guaranteed to beautify your plate as the benefits of the beet gives you the healthy boost you need!
For many desert dwellers, nothing complements a meal better than the all-American potato, which coincidentally happens to be the next winter vegetable on our list! Versatile and soul warming, every meal can be made better with the addition of potatoes, and your winter garden is where you will find yours. Add a little dill—which does exceedingly well in the winter—a lot of butter, and give your family a taste of comfort in the darkest days of winter! Winter blues can happen in the desert too, and everyone knows that comfort food is the best cure for whatever ails you!
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