Virtual Garden Tours

Gaccione Garden Tour

Written by Cricket
Welcome to our first garden on the Virtual Garden Tour. My hope is that you will be inspired to learn how and what you can actually grow in the desert. Using mulching techniques and the correct planting calendar you can harvest food throughout the year. This garden is a beautiful example of that. Let me introduce you to the Gaccione Garden.


Main Garden without Orchard is 50 X 110 ft

Main Garden without Orchard is 50 X 110 ft



imageMy name is Deana Gaccione. My husband Tom and I share this garden and its bounty with our three wonderful daughters, Jenae, Janna and Jaelin. My story goes back 24 years. That’s when we bought this property in Queen Creek. I have always been passionate about health and nutrition and dreamed of growing all our own food. However, life kept interfering and it wasn’t until six years ago that I actually got started. I had planned a long time and had done tons of research. I chose particular methods, varieties, etc., and now enjoy harvests from my gardens and orchard all year long. It has been very rewarding to experience “the fruit of my labor”. I give all the glory to God who has blessed me beyond my expectations.

My goal is to inspire others and help them to be successful too.





This was our garden in 2010


We started with raised beds filled with compost.



My husband built these to keep out the critters. They’re wired beneath to protect from ground squirrels.




In 2011 we planted our orchard


With over 60 fruit, olive and nut trees, we enjoy harvests all year.





Florida Prince Peaches and Santa Rosa Plums do very well here in Arizona.



Dorsett Golden apples also grow well in our hot climate.



Parfinka pomegranate on left. Organza bags protecting poms from insects.



Variegated Pink Lemonade Lemon.



Honey Tangerine with Prickly Pear behind.




Here is our Garden as it is today



At the center of the garden, just through the trellis, is our seating area. We spend a great deal of time here enjoying a view of the entire garden. Our cat, Simba likes it too.




The trellis and everything this side of it was developed this spring except the pomegranates on the left.




Loofahs are growing on the arch trellis. They were planted in April and really love the heat. The young fruit are edible and tastes similar to zucchini. If left on the vine, they develop into large loofah sponges. They have big yellow flowers that attract bumblebees.





We added this plot in February of this year. The ground was tilled and then composted manure, wood chips and our own compost was added several months prior to planting. More wood chips were added once plants were established.




Every garden needs a rabbit!




Mint for my morning green drinks and artichokes in the background. Beautiful clouds that day.




I always leave some artichokes to flower. They’re beautiful and the bees love them.





Roses just make me happy.





Spring Harvest





Summer Harvest







Winter Harvest



My Monthly Planting Schedule


A lot depends on the weather. I plant as early as possible and if weather permits, I’ll have an early crop. If not, I replant in a few weeks. When I am planting a frost sensitive plant early I have to provide frost protection. The easiest thing for most people is to wait until February to plant summer plants.




Spring peas, Lettuce, Chard, Broccoli, Beets, Spinach, Potatoes, Watermelon, Parsley, Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Green Onions, Leeks, Kale, Garlic, Collards, Cabbage, Turnips, Peppers (start inside), Tomatoes (start inside)


Eggplant, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, and Watermelon can be sown outside with frost protection



Green Beans, Lima Beans, Corn, Sweet Peppers, Bush Beans, Spring Peas, Cucumbers, Squash, Watermelon, Potatoes, Spinach, Turnips, Beets, Eggplant, Spring Peas



Okra, Sweet Potatoes, Eggplant, Cucumber, Summer Squash, Watermelon, Beets, Green Beans, Lima Beans, Corn, Bush Beans



Eggplant, Lima Beans, Cucumbers, Loofah so, Sweet Potatoes, Squash, Watermelon, Okra



Sweet Potatoes



Sweet Potatoes



Carrots, Corn, Pumpkins, Winter Squash



Green Beans, Bush Beans, Sweet Peppers, Winter Squash, Carrots, Corn, Pumpkins



Potatoes, Chard, Garlic, Turnips, Beets, Carrots, Broccoli, Kale, Peas, Green onions, Leeks, Green Beans, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Spinach, Collards, Lettuce



Potatoes, Onions, Lettuce, Carrots, Spinach, Collards, Turnips, Broccoli, Garlic, Parsley, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Beets, Kale, Leeks, Green Onions, Chard



Onions, Green Onions, Leeks, Lettuce, Cabbage, Collards, Potatoes, Beets, Kale, Carrots, Turnips, Spinach, Brussels Sprouts, Garlic, Chard



Collards, Lettuce, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Cabbage, Garlic, Turnips, Beets, Green Onions, Parsley, Onions, Kale, Leeks, Potatoes, Spinach, Chard, Tomatoes (start inside), Peppers (start inside)


About the author


Welcome to my blog! I’m Cricket (yes, my parents named me that!) and I’m a natural homesteader. Growing up in rural Idaho with a garden, a horse, and lots of canned food, I like to bring those sensibilities to my suburban home in Phoenix, Arizona. Add a little dose of cottage garden flavor and permaculture tendencies, and you’ll see why GardenVariety.Life is a reflection of everything I do.

I truly enjoy sharing the skills that promote a meaningful and practical connection to our gardens and environment. Because so many residents of the metro phoenix area are transplants, I find that the area’s unique desert climate is often misunderstood and underestimated in terms of what is possible. That’s where the fun begins. Arizona is a burgeoning permaculture haven with homesteading written all over it, and there is nothing I enjoy more than encouraging others to jump in and give it a try.


  • How do you keep this all watered? Where can I go to learn about AZ gardening. I was in a garden club but it was just a social gathering for a bunch of old ladies

    • The trees are on drip systems and the garden plots have water channels that are watered with hoses. There is a lot of information available on desert gardening. I picked up a lot from many different sources over the years but the information that has helped me the most came from a couple of people I met who were very successful, one being Mr. Ken Singh of Singh Farms in Phoenix. He taught me the importance of nurturing the soil and not overwatering. I will have a site up soon where I will share information that has worked for me.

      • I am familiar with Mr. Singh, I’ve been to his farm and what he has done is amazing. I will get back out to his farm and talk with him again. Thank you for getting back to me.

    • Jules, you aren’t alone! My garden looks like I didn’t put in hundreds of hours to plant and water it. This is why I want to see what other gardeners are doing. Gardens do thrive here in the heat. You just need to know your space and try, try again. And yes, Fall is coming when all is well!!

  • i gardened years ago, tangerine, orange, lemon trees, a fig tree, grapefruit
    watermelons, pumpkins, tomatoes, beans, peppermint

  • Really enjoyed the garden tour. In inspiration at this time of year. Are questions allowed?? Would love to know how she waters. Is it flood irrigation or drip? Also noticed her planting calendar has some different planting times than what i am used to out here. For instance, potatoes. Have always planted them first week of January, but here she is planting them much earlier…think it was October. Would love to get my potatoes in earlier. Also, tomatoes planted in January…any problem with frost or is this under a protection of some sort? Thanks for any info on these ???

    • Hi Victoria. Everything is on drip lines except garden plots which have channels and are watered with hoses. I do provide frost protection for sensitive plants.

      • Thank you Deana. Wondering about the drip. I have 4 lines of 1/4″ inline 1/2 gph emitter hosing that in my raised 4′ x 8′ vegie beds running the length. Do you have something like that for your drip irrigation? Often wondering how long should be run during summer. I get a lot of wetness around the foot of my raised beds so trying to figure out the least I can get away with.

        Also, so interested that you plant potatoes in October. Can you recommend which type you plant at that time of year.

        Wood Chips – see that you have chips down on garden paths. Do you have a source that makes this reasonable. And does it interfere with pushing wheelbarrow?

        Thank you so much for taking time to answer these. Really appreciate it.

  • Very inspiring garden! Love the planting calendar you provided. I am going to be starting with a small raised garden soon and I want to plant everything;)

  • Beautiful. Thanks for posting.
    Something some commenters may not be aware of is the huge variation in night time low temperatures in the valley and the impact on one’s garden. Queen Creek is on the edge of the concrete heat island. If we all move there to garden, it won’t be anymore. Oh well.

    • Deb, that’s really interesting about the difference in night temperatures. Even though we are all in the same region each garden has its own microclimate. Alas! It’s always hard to watch land development. I understand it, but my heart sinks a little when I see it happening.

  • Simply lovely. Thank you for sharing your success story. I’ve always been successful with fall, winter and spring harvests but you give me hope for the summer.

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