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My First Attempt at gardening in Las Vegas

I moved here from Texas mid July of '99. My family and friends jokingly referred to it as going from the frying pan into the fire.

As you might have read from my "about me" blurb, my family has a history of farming and gardening. It is part of some of my best memories with my grandparents.

That being said, after unpacking my moving boxes into my new apartment, I went to a local big box store and picked up a cute terra-cotta pot and some pansies or begonias ( it has been 15 years so I don't remember exactly) and put them out on the concrete patio in front of my apartment. The apartment had a nice eastern exposure, with great sun well into the afternoon. I think it took a day and a half before those poor flowers were toasted. I went back to the big box store and they laughed at me as they sold me some more of the same kind of flowers. Those poor flowers were quickly toasted too, no mater how much I watered them.

I also started to notice this white crusty ring on my terra-cotta pot, that eventually started to erode the pot.  The erosion of the pot surprised me, especially considering the fact that terra-cotta pipes have survived the Roman Aqueducts for millennia without problems, so I really wanted to know what the heck was in the water out here that was doing this, ( and why was it making my skin itchy?).  

So I kept my gardening efforts inside except for the few herbs I managed to grow in my slowly disintegrating pot on the patio.

Fast forward six years and I met my future husband. When we moved in together I thought it would be very domestic of me to grow herbs in the kitchen. We moved in together in mid July of '06. Our home has a lovely southern exposure from the kitchen window, and all of the gardening magazines I had read said that was the very best place to grow herbs, with a southern exposure.  To everyone laughing at me right now, I know now, the gardening magazines are NOT written from the desert climate. So I potted up basil I got from the big box store, and put it in the south facing kitchen window in mid July.  A couple of days later I came home from work to the incredible smell of pesto, it was so yummy..... that's right folks, I had baked my basil in that kitchen window. My man came home and asked if we were have pizza or spaghetti for dinner.  If I remember correctly we went out to dinner to make up for my poor basil growing experience.

So why would I start a gardening blog with confessions of herbicide aka plant murder?  Because I want you to understand that I have been there and let you learn from my mistakes so you don't have to make them too.  I don't want anyone to be embarrassed about their attempts at gardening. I want to celebrate my successes and laugh and learn from my failures and would love to have you along for the ride.  I have learned quite a bit over the years through trial and a lot of error, and I 'm still learning to this day new things about gardening here in the lovely high desert. I have also compiled some resources that I'll be adding to the resources tab that can hopefully help you on your gardening journey. Mostly I want you to know that it is not only possible but a lot of fun to garden in the Las Vegas area, and you don't have to bake your basil!

 

Upcoming topics - the why and the where determine the what and questions from a garden party

 

The why and the where determine the what

Hello Everybody!

 

This week I would talk a little about pre-planning your gardening/growing experience to ensure better success.

You are already ahead of the game by reading about gardening in Las Vegas, but let's explore that a little bit more.

First question (and yes this is navel gazing but it does help), why do you want to garden/grow plants/vegetables/herbs/fruits?

I grew up visiting my grandparents in Kansas and every summer they would grow huge gardens and can/preserve their harvests to enjoy during the winter.  My parents had gardens, ( it was the '70s so it was the thing to do) but it gave me at that young age a connection not only to my roots but also the pleasure of knowing that you have grown that. Home grown tomatoes really do taste better, and so do home grown figs and peaches.

 When I have surveyed my close friends they want to grow things for a multitude of reasons;  the frequent food recalls of fresh fruits and vegetables due to contamination, wanting to know exactly what they are eating, wanting their child to know where food comes from (not the store, from the ground!), the opportunity for their child to experience the joy they did with gardening and playing in the ground (not in the caliche, but in amended soil that will actually grown something). Food allergies and GMOs also come into play for many friends, and my foodie friends want the opportunity to grow food so that they can have the expensive and rare fruits and vegetables for the price of growing the plant.  Still  others are wanting to prove to themselves or a significant other that they can keep something alive ( you know who you are). Still others have looked at the gardening magazines ( I call it garden porn) and want that lifestyle that they see in the magazine, the ability to go out and enjoy their yard/garden/apartment patio.

This brings us to the where.  Where do you have to grow things? Is it a large back yard or side yard? is it already landscaped and you will have to remove some of that, or did you move into a home that had the front yard desert-scaped and the back yard reminds you of some pictures you remember from the Lunar landings? If your back yard has no landscaping you will need to think about raised bed or in ground growing, and irrigation.  Based on my personal experience raised beds are the way to go, and we still had to rent a jackhammer and trencher for irrigation and digging holes for the fruit trees.

If you live in a place with a zero lot line (no back yard) or an apartment and want to grow a vegetables you might want to look at a hydroponic tower that can stay on your patio, or look at a garden box you can rent at one of the community gardens. (I will be adding a resources tab soon with a list of the community gardens where you can rent garden boxes and a link to hydroponic towers) There are also fruit trees you can keep pruned back and trellised or espaliered. They are a good way to grow fruit in small spaces.  

Let me know why you would like to grow things, and what challenges you are facing.  I will do my best to help you address those challenges, or help direct you to some awesome resources we have in town.  Next up will be questions that came up in a gardening party I had for some friends at my home, and questions I get on the blog.

 

 

 

               
   

here is a story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         
 

This was delish!!