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Any desert gardeners here?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
When I lived in a "normal" temperature environment I always had great producing gardens.
Here in Phoenix however is very challenging, unless you want to eat cactus.:lol:
Any desert gardeners on the boards?

post #2 of 3
Not as Desert as you. But many herbs will do a good job in your climate if not fruits and vegies.

Check out Home: High Country Gardens Good info and plants.

You might also consider a short season garden for the winter time. Perhaps harvest young leaf lettuces in late autumn/early spring and other similar quick crops for the more reasonable climate parts of your season.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 3

I'm here in Pahrump...

Same problem with growing anything. Goes from way too cold to too hot too fast. (we're now almost pushing 100...YUK!) EVERYTHING bolted. Cold weather veggies, forget it. It was kind of a joke when we lived here 15 years ago. I was still learning about gardening in a hostile environment and the only thing I grew was a whole 3 foot high "garden" of weeds and underneith were these little caverns of the most fantastic tomatoes! I had no idea they were there until my dog got brave enough to venture in (we have snakes and all kinds of nasties as you probably do) and came out chewing! Obviously the weeds insulated the tomato plants enough to let them grow. That and artichokes. They do great! Of course they're a weed anyway.

I don't know about conditioning your soil but we have the WORST dirt here you could possibly imagine. Clay, caliche, heavily mineralized. Used to be a huge cotton ag area and grazing for cattle. Don't know WHAT they used but the water here is probably toxic.

On a technical standpoint I would suggest looking into an open air greenhouse similar to what a nursery has. Pretty much a wood frame with certain percentage of shade cloth as a "roof" spaced so that the plants can get some direct sun at some point over the day but won't burn. In the winter you can cover the sides with plastic and use some sort of heating element.

I'd also install misters and low fans in crucial spots.

I love raised planter boxes. I had the best luck in them. I didn't have to worry about my nutrients leaking into the undeserving So. Nevada soil. Dug really big 2' deep holes and lined them with pond liners, made boxes with at least a 12" high frame (the wider it is the better because you can sit on it to do your weeding and whatnot). Typically I'd have a 4' x 12' frame. Filled with my soil mix, installed whatever drip system I wanted and away I'd go. (hopefully)

I also don't know how much rain you get but we pretty much get zippo. It also gets down to below freezing in the winter. The optimum growing "season" is pretty slim. Plus you have to protect for 50+ mph wind. I remember going through Scottsdale a long time ago and the dust storm/wind issue seems like it's pretty bad there too at times.

I'm amused at the types of seeds that they sell here. Tons of them just won't grow. Period.

Anyway, can't wait for other ideas. I'm still looking for input here as well.

Hope this helps.

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