High desert gardeners are already planning their spring gardens and planting. The garden lover thrives on how to keep flowers and vegetables growing all year long, whether it be seed-planting, weed-pulling, and vegetable harvesting.
I googled “high desert garden planning in February” to see who and what popped up. These are the first three links that came up:
Each one of these sites is very fascinating, interesting, and inspiring for anyone who wants to start a garden in the high desert. The cool thing is that no matter which high desert area you live in, you can benefit from any of these three websites mentioned, even the last one that isn’t focused specifically on the “high” desert.
All three of the above garden websites include gardening tips. Moana Nursery points out the three challenges of climate, soil, and water and offers a very helpful planting guide.
Barbara with “Surviving the Middle Class Crash” (I love that blog title) gives tips on how to cut down on weeds. She also offers a list of fruits and vegetables grown successfully – in spite of being told that hardly anything grows in the Sprague River, Oregon high desert.
The third link that came up with my Internet search is the “full-time radical homemaker and mama to two spunky little girls” (I fell in love with her blog). Though she’s from the Tucson low desert area, her suggestions work well for growing vegetables in the high desert as well. She covers topics on your hardiness zone, soil testing, raised beds, wilting, mulch and more. But I like what she says about keeping a journal as a reference guide of your successes and disasters.
I’ll never forget the first time I spotted an ugly dragon-looking neon-green-alien-looking tomato hornworm. It creeped me out so much that I put my garden gloves on and knocked the pest off of the plant and into a sandwich baggie. Where there is one, there is bound to be more.
Brave vegetable gardener that I was, I managed to save the sandwich bags for the next alien culprits. Gloves and a small spade helped me do the trick of sending them out of my garden. I read somewhere that tomato hornworms are hard to see in the sunlight (because they blend right in with the green leaves), so use a flashlight when it’s dark to shine on the plants. The little monsters are easier to spot that way with their neon color.
Like Middle Class Crash Barbara, I was determined to learn how to grow vegetables and fruit in a high desert climate. I had helped my vegetable-garden-growing mother and grandmothers enough that I had the confidence that I could grow my own home-grown food despite desert conditions.
My garden upbringing was in the Deep South, quite different than hot, dry summers with strong winds. Eventually, however, the garden grew. What has amazed me is that this winter my herbs, specifically dill and oregano, have withstood the cold and are actually thriving beautifully. It’s so exciting to step outside the kitchen into the herb garden and snip a few for seasoning, like the dill herb for one of the Big Game dip recipes I’m wanting to try.
A list of flowers and herbs that have made it through the winter season so far:
- Snapdragons (they’ve grown quite tall)
- California Poppies (that shocked me – I haven’t had them stay so pretty through the winter before)
- Pansies – Oh how pretty they are in purple and yellow!
- Dill – Before winter it looked tiny and scraggly-looking. Winter must be its friend more than I realized.
- Oregano – It’s planted in a a corner of a large square pot. Two small pots of other herbs were placed inside the big garden pot. Since the oregano is spreading out so nicely, I’m removing the little pots and am going to let the oregano take over.