Beginner in Hot Arizona Desert

Total beginner here, totally daunted. No space inside, so growing outside. I live in North Phoenix at about 2,000 ft elevation. Late January now, where nights can still be in 30s. Bought the Autoflower Beginner Mix (white widow, bubble gun, AK-47). Mid-February is go-time to avoid any chance of frost. Thinking of planting 4 seedlings then and 4 in mid-March in 5 gallon fabric pots. Worried about temps hitting 90s in April and 100s possibly in May, def June. I have areas for full sun, part shade or mostly shade. Then worried about drying – garage over 120 by mid-June. I am reading everything I can find for a beginner but there’s not much I have seen on dealing with excessive heat. Open to all advice!


I’m in Tempe. I have plans to run a blueberry auto that I just started from seed a few days ago. Hoping to catch a couple months of famous Arizona springtime weather.

I think you should be fine if you start it indoors now and transplant outdoors in a month or so. Assuming you’re running an auto which are usually done in 3-4 months total.

By the way, that auto white widow from ILGM is pretty nice. I started one December 5th that I’m running indoors in a 2’x2’ closet grow. I have a grow journal that follows the progress.


Welcome! I grow indoors and be of any use to you but people here will help you get sorted. And I’ll check out the nice buds you grow :yum:


Welcome to the forum! Lots of information to be found here! Lots of helpful folks. Starting inside until your temps come up is the best idea. Should be able to get auto to harvest before the heat gets ya.


There are quite a few ‘desert’ growers on here. @elheffe702 is in 'Vegas for example.


Welcome to ILGM @TheCrozh!

I haven’t done any outdoor growing yet, but your plan sounds solid, timing-wise. I’d go for the largest containers your budget will allow for the medium to fill them. In 5 gallon pots, in mid summer, mid flower, they’ll be drinking the water about as fast as you can pour it in. That’s exaggerating, but not by much. They should handle the heat okay as long as they have the water and root mass to deal with it. Make sure you’re giving them Silica in some form, to help build strong cell walls, and for protection against insects AND the elements. It’s possible to grow a healthy enough plant that it is its own pest control to some extent.

I’ve also never grown autos. @Big123 grows monsters outdoors and comes to mind first. Where he is doesn’t get as hot, I don’t think, but I’m sure he can add some advice. The timing of your transplanting is something to consider. If autos are stressed at the wrong time, it can induce flowering before they’re very big, and yield can be hurt quite a bit. You might want to implement some shade cloth to harden them off more gradually between shade and full sun.

As for drying, I’d try to find a closet or somewhere else that doesn’t get much traffic, temp fluctuations, etc., and setup a small fan to blow indirectly, so there is airflow around them, and they’re in the dark as much as possible. You can slow drying by cutting the whole plant, and leaving as many leaves as possible. The extra moisture in the plant material will help slow the drying, and the leaves will sort of fall over and protect the volatiles to some extent. If it’s too dry (below 55% or so, it’ll likely dry too fast), you can add a small humidifier to fine tune the drying space.

If you prefer to wet trim, I’ve seen others trim them down to individual colas, then dry those in a paper bag or cardboard box to slow things down, then do a final ‘manicure’ after drying. I’ve used a box myself with decent results. I just poked about a half inch hole in opposite corners, one of top one on bottom, to get a little more airflow through there. Then I stretched several strips of string across to hang colas from, and even mounted a hygrometer in it that could be read from the outside. Worked well to dry slowly even when it was 10-15% relative humidity and 110°F outside. The paper/cardboard helps draw moisture out of the plant material, while keeping some of that humidity within the container to keep it more humid than the surrounding area.

Sorry, brevity is not my strong suit, and I’m well medicated. Welcome, and best of luck! The only dumb question is the one you don’t ask. There are no high horses or bullies around here, for the most part. We’re all just trying to help each other grow the dopest dope! :v:


I plan to germinate some auto beans under the New Moon in Aquarius :aquarius: on 2/11/2021.

I will follow similar to my journal from 2020, approximately one month indoor, under lights, in 5 or 10 gallon bags, then repotted, maybe into 65 gallon, 100 gallon bags, and into the ground, once outdoors. Putting them directly in the ground the best if possible. Big containers do use more water than going directly into the earth. Larger roots equals more fruits plus it helps the plant deal with heat stress.


THANK YOU for all of this. As a newbe I have much to learn. I feel like I am taking my first physics class at MIT.

I am trying to think outside the box for outdoor growing in Arizona. By June 1st, the average temp reaches 100 degrees. I could open up an umbrella with misters like in the photo that I just attempted to attach (I think it is attached). What would you think of running misters for an hour in the afternoon when things get hot in May and June? Shade, humidity and water all at once?


Why didn’t I pay attention in school!!! :crazy_face: :upside_down_face: Since I began growing (around April 2020), I have been in school reading and learning on this great forum!

As far as the misters, not sure if I would recommend during the flowering stage. Might be okay during veg stage as you need more humidity. I will defer to more experienced growers. Hopefully someone will chime in so we can all keep learning!

Best of luck.


I agree, probably okay for veg, but I’d try to do it when the sun isn’t so high in the sky. You might build up droplets on the leaves that would then act as lenses, burning the leaves. When it’s the hottest will probably be when you’d be flowering, too. You might be able to take advantage of the mister system to mist the soil throughout the day, though. It’d take some fine tuning, so they’re not getting too much, or drying up at all. If you’ve got all of the above in your toolbox, I’m certain you’ll find a combination, or several, that will accomplish what you need. The shade cloth I would only use when hardening them off. Once they’re up for it, the full sun will be what they want.


Help please! Still, first time grower here. Using “paper towel method” between two plates in dark closet. Two white widow seeds sprouted a nice tail in 3 days. Those are now in good organic soil mix indoors under a grow light. Issue is the AK-47 and Bubble Gum seed. No sign of germination but now I see what has to be white mold surrounding the seed. Do I wait it out? Or move to water-in-shot-glass method? Or are these two little seeds shot already?


Be careful the taproot is white and could be mistaken for something else early on.


@TheCrozh any updates bud? I generally drop in a cup of water till they drop (up to 24 hours) the drop in a moist paper towel. Within 72 hour normally you should have taps. At 72 with or without taps you could drop in your medium, but know those with no verified taps you’ll have to wait on. @InkedPC could probably give a follow as well. :facepunch:t2:

Thanks, AZIrish. The AK and Bubble Gum seeds got moldy in paper towels and did not germ. I put them in a shot glass to try that. Nothing. I put in the potted soil under growing light 3 days ago – still nothing, but I can wait.

Meanwhile, my two white widows are growing. The first to pop seems leggy – almost 3 inches tall stem and just the initial leaves. I have a fan blowing and just added support and moved the light to 4" from about 16" before. Second white widow just popped up – stay tuned.

I have a dozen more seeds to try. I am staggering the process to learn as I go and also deal with our cold (48 degree) nights now, and 100 degrees in May. They are all autoflowers so I hope to just sneak in the growing season. The idea was to plant the initial group about 2/14 and the next group about 3/1.

Oh, and I named the first plant, “My Precious.”


White widow is a fantastic strain. It was the first seed I ever planted and so far has been pretty smooth sailing.


@TheCrozh Pictures of everything will always help here.


@TheCrozh hey! Welcome! Im moving to AZ in a few weeks and plan to do outdoor grows! Ill be following along!


@DefNSmokn Good to know fam​:fire::sunglasses::facepunch:t2:


Welcome to Zona! Let me know if you need any advice on where to land or anything else. In terms of growing, every day is a new experiment on a very small scale.


Welcome here! And here I thought outdoors growing in New Mexico with these hellish winds on the high plains was hard. From your sister state, I got to say we do have our challenges in grows.

I know of someone who grows in Colorado and puts his plants in a big fabric pot, want to say 7 gallon, and leaves them on one of those flat garden carts you can get at Tractor Supply and pulls it inside for inclement weather and at night as it is at 8300’ elevation, and where it is best suited for what ever part of the day there. Maybe you could do something like that. Pull the plant around to cooler places during the day if the intense sun is too much?

When you chose a strain, read super close and across MANY seed banks and sites, as they tent to all agree on grow conditions but one or the other may have that one bit of information that will be crucial to your climate alone.

As per drying, I have issues with low humidity, as do you. I have tried several methods on my previous two grows. MyHerbsNow dryer, Excalibur dehydrator, and the grow tent.

My absolute favorite, and the one that gives me the prettiest, high end looking, sweetest smelling, and smoothest smoking buds is the MyHerbsNow dryer. However, I have to watch super close, as dry as it is here, they dry a lot faster than the 96 hrs prescribed.

The tent is second best. But I had a near over dry disaster last grow as they got ready at a time that I absolutely could not get to them to finish the harvest and put in jars until a couple of days later. They got crispy. However, after a month of curing, I added loads of Boveda packets and that worked fairly well to rehydrate them somewhat.

The absolute WORST method of all time is the Excalibur food dehydrator. Even on low. Awful awful awful.

Per Boveda packets. INVEST IN THEM! They really are quite cheap and I think folk like us who live in such harsh, dry climates this is something we cannot do without if we want to preserve our herb. I have literally saved some two year old crispy dispensary herb back to a recognizable part of it’s former glory. It is not a miracle worker but it will save your crop in the long run post cure.