My Top 10 Tips for Gardening in the Desert without killing your vegetables!
In a previous post, I mentioned how I would love to “go green” in all aspects of my life. Well, that may be an exaggeration because I’m not sure I could live off the grid since I love the internet. However, I’ve always liked the idea of gardening and growing my own vegetable while living a sustainable lifestyle.
To be completely honest, I never anticipated becoming a gardener because I thought it was something senior citizens did in their spare time and I was a young 20 something-year-old. But then I attended an Earth Day Event at Arizona State University which is where my love/hate relationship with gardening began. At the event, they were giving away herbs and when someone I love a good freebie, so I left with a basil plant. For a $1.00 I could buy other herbs and so I also came home with rosemary.
Did I use herbs regularly? Heck, no! In fact, I probably did minimal cooking during this period of my life, so it made absolutely no sense bringing Basil and Rosemary home. I tried my best to keep them alive, but they died. Okay, I didn’t try my best because I hadn’t done any research and once the scorching Arizona heat started those poor plants died immediately.
Through the years, I’ve always had a garden, and you know what? I don’t entirely suck at it, but it’s been A LOT of trial and error. Honestly, if I read a website on how to garden in the desert I could be 38% better but I’ve never taken my gardening serious. So, for the casual gardener who doesn’t know what they are doing, here a few tips I’ve learned along the way.
- Do not plant herbs in an open space since most of them will spread and take up the majority of your garden. I would highly suggest containers especially for mint and cilantro unless you love either of those herbs with a passion. Below is my overgrown Parsley I had to transfer from my garde into a garden since it was consuming my garden.
- If you live in the desert, I know you can successfully grow broccoli, artichokes, zucchini, and swiss chard.
- In the Summer months if your garden is in the direct heat it might be best to transplant your pepper plants into containers and keep them in the shade until the weather cools down.
- The plants which I’ve had the least success with are peppers, tomatoes, and strawberries. Well, last fall, I grew eight green peppers, but one of my dogs snuck into my garden and ate them all so maybe I’m great at growing peppers, but my dogs have never let me enjoy the fruit of my labor.
- Make sure to water your plants daily, especially in the Summer when it’s hot. I sometimes will water twice a day.
- When I started my garden I was clueless, so when I started successfully growing broccoli I was stoked (yeah, I brought an early 2000’s saying back into the mix) but the downside was the green bug aka Cabbage webworms that swarmed the broccoli. I’m a half ass gardener because I immediately removed the broccoli and gave up on it due to the bugs.
- You can’t kill an artichoke plant. No really, I tried and every time I thought it was dead, it would rejuvenate itself.
- If you want to expedite the growth of your plants mix 1 cup Epson salt with 1 cup warm water and spray on your plants. I was a skeptic when I read this trick, but it works. I do this once every six months or so.
- Marigold are great flowers to plant with tomatoes since they help the plant flourish, and it also makes your garden pop with gold.
- Spend a few extra dollars and buy organic mulch or better yet, try composting. Also, if you compost and are successful let me know because I’ve yet to be successful with it.
So maybe most of this is known information, but I’ve made strides in my years since I blindly started growing herbs. If you have any questions let me know, I’d love to help out!