Growing a Backyard Garden in the Desert: Part three


desert gardening

The desert garden is growing! It’s actually growing! Three weeks ago these plants went in the ground, and now they are huge. Guess why? 

Maintenance. Exactly what this third (and final) installment is all about. 

Much like children, a garden needs continuous care and supervision. It might survive under minimal and basic care, but to thrive it needs attention. Everyday the kids and I go out to check on it. We stick a finger into the soil to be certain what’s beneath the dry top layer is moist. The kids were even so kind as to independently plant a couple more strawberry plants we bought. And transfer a head of Red Romaine to a new spot. Surprise, Mom, we helped!

For a desert in the garden to thrive, it needs some TLC that gardens in other climates may not need quite as much. Such as:

  • Fertilizer – FoxFarm is my favorite. I use it once a week.
  • Mulch – Think of mulch as a layer of sunscreen for the soil. Hour and hours of direct scorching sunlight will dry out the soil and the roots. I’m saving mulching for June when the heat is really on, but when I do it I’ll use cedar mulch. Scorpions hate the smell of cedar, so it’s a double win.
  • Shade – Because of the placement of our garden, I need to provide it with more afternoon shade once the summer months hit. And for that? Well, I don’t know. I’m brainstorming and I’ll take any advice you might have.
  • Insect Repellant – This morning I noticed bites taken out of a leaf on a yellow bell pepper plant. I ordered this Neem Oil, stat. It comes highly recommend from a friend whose husband is an avid and successful desert gardener.
  • Fencing – turns out my three-year-old lab is incapable of leaving the garden alone. I bought a role of inexpensive fencing at Home Depot. 

And that’s it! I’ll be posting picture updates on Instagram, follow me at @jenmillwrites to see how it all works out! 

Best of luck to all my fellow desert gardeners. 


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