Don’t believe everything you hear about things that will NOT grow in the high desert. We have grown a variety of things that we were told could not grow. If we had listened to the people who told us what we could not grow, we would not even have a garden because we were told that hardly anything grows in this area (Sprague River, OR). At the end of this article is a list of fruits and vegetables that we have grown successfully, along with planting tips.
Planning what you want to grow is the first step in a successful garden. After you have chosen your garden mix, it is time to decide how big you want the garden to be. Next, get a rototiller and work the ground really good. After that, you will need to put fertilizer on it. We use horse manure, sometimes goat, and cow manure. Cow and goat manure work the best because you won’t end up with a bunch of weeds in your garden. I won’t go into why because then this would really be lengthy. After you have worked the ground really good and put the manure on it, you get to work it again. Till the ground really good with the manure on it so you have a good mix. In preparation for the following year, you can put more manure on the garden in the fall and let it rest all winter.
Next, you will need to stake out the rows. Drive a stake at the ends of each row. You want your rows to be straight, so use a string line. We usually put our stakes about 3’ apart. This allows room to maneuver between the rows to do the weeding. This distance also gives the plants room to grow. You will need to read on each package about the depth, seed spacing, and when to plant. I don’t plant until the last week of May, to keep everything from freezing.
We have found that planting in furrows, or trenches, works the best. The trenches are at least 6” deep. We plant the seeds in them and then for the first 3 to 5 days, we lightly spray them with the garden hose so as not to disturb the seeds. After that time we just hold the hose at the start of the trench with a light flow of water running until the whole trench is damp. As the plants grow, you can increase the flow of water. We water in the evening so the water has the whole night to soak into the ground and into the roots of the plants.
Planting in trenches cuts down on the weeds that grow between the rows because you are just watering where you need to. You are also saving on water because you are not watering areas that do not need it. We also have small birds that come to drink and bathe in the trenches when I am watering so this helps them out, and they do not bother the plants.
Before we started planting in trenches, we had weeds growing everywhere, and the plants did not grow as well. Also, if we tried to harvest anything in the daytime we would have a lot of bees to contend with. Now we do not have this problem.
Well I hope this has helped at least one person, and I hope you enjoy your garden as much as we enjoy ours. Here is the list of fruits and veggies that I promised you:
Successful planting without a greenhouse:
Plant in trenches
Sweet Basil (great for indigestion problems)
Plant in hills
Squash (different kinds of squash)
Plant in small round trenches
© 2008, Penny Jarvis