Having a backyard garden isn’t a mainstay in Las Vegas, however, gardening’s popularity has certainly found its way to the valley.
Many Las Vegas homeowners are now experimenting with gardens in small backyard spaces or in community gardens. Remember that all gardening requires consistent attention, patience, and plenty of trial and error. Here are some tips to keep in mind for a garden in a small backyard space.
Sunlight guides plant position
Plants need bees, sun, and water, so you first will want to find places that get maximum sun throughout the day. Many experts say fruits and vegetables need about six to eight hours of sunlight a day. That’s a baseline for survival – a thriving plant needs a lot more sun.
Water plants to cool them
When you give plants as much sun as possible, you need to keep the plants cool with adequate water. The desert actually provides some assistance on this front. The natural groundwater temperatures in the valley range between 50 degrees in the winter and 75 degrees in the summer.
Done correctly a 10-foot-by-14-foot garden bed produces hundreds of tomatoes each year. Use a drip system to water for approximately four to six minutes about nine times a day. This helps to keep the plants from burning up. It is very important to read the directions for each plant before planting to understand how much water it needs.
Start with quality soil and set a nutrition schedule
Experts suggest foliar feeds three times a year by applying a liquid kelp fertilizer to plant leaves and adding soil fertilizer every 30 days. Many gardeners in our area found success with Dr. Earth and Arizona’s Best brands. ViraGrow has a couple of wonderful organic, bio-solid free choices as well.
However do not use Miracle Grow because it is engineered for plants, not fruits and vegetables.
Use a raised bed if you can
If you are working with a backyard space, you will want to avoid planting directly in the ground. Using cinder blocks is good for creating borders in small backyard spaces, and you only need about 8 inches of soil above ground for planting.
The website Green Building Elements, suggests the “square-foot gardening approach,” which is a raised-box garden divided into 1-foot squares. “If you’re not sure where to start planning for your garden, you can use this as a guide to know how many plants can fit in a 2-by-4-foot space,” she said.
Pick what grows best in the desert
Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, corn, melons, and lettuce varieties like kale can all grow well in the desert with the right amount of sun and water. The larger fruits and vegetables will need a small backyard space.
Herbs require less light and may be a good option for windowsills and situations with less light available. Parsley, chives, lavender, thyme, and rosemary are herbs that can work well in small gardens or in containers.
It’s really important to talk with your community coordinator to see what is allowed in the community you live in.
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