Gardening in the desert?

When Veronica and I began planning our garden out last winter, we utilized the book “Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades.” Little did I know that we should have read a book about growing vegetables in the desert. This summer’s heat wave has wreaked havoc on our little garden. No rain and searing temperatures have combined to make growing plants a real challenge.

After a very slow start, our zucchini plant has been growing leaps and bounds during our recent heat wave. I guess it likes the hot weather.
After a very slow start, our zucchini plant has been growing leaps and bounds during our recent heat wave. I guess it likes the hot weather.

On one hand, our snap peas have given us a bountiful harvest. There is little more satisfying than picking peas daily from your own garden. I’m not sure how to describe the feeling knowing that you put in the time and effort to grow some of your own food. Even though it is not nearly enough to sustain one person, let alone a family of three, but every little bit counts I guess. Plus, Catarina loves to eat the peas right off the vine. It is a little bit nuts, and we try to discourage her since it pretty much kills the pod, but it is also hilarious and cute.

Our yellow peppers are doing fantastic, as evidenced here. Our green peppers, however, are not. I saw a few flowers three weeks ago, but they died and fell off. Now nothing. Oh well, hopefully the yellow peppers keep going strong.
Our yellow peppers are doing fantastic, as evidenced here. Our green peppers, however, are not. I saw a few flowers three weeks ago, but they died and fell off. Now nothing. Oh well, hopefully the yellow peppers keep going strong.

Our carrots are also coming along nicely. Veronica thinned them, transplanting a few which have appeared to survive. The zucchini is finally getting going and seems to be loving the hot weather, as do the pumpkins, peppers and cucumbers. We look forward to eating all those yummy things in a few months.

One of the best parts about buying a new house is seeing what plants the previous owners planted. The older guy that lived here before us left us this beautiful Tiger Lily. It is amazing.
One of the best parts about buying a new house is seeing what plants the previous owners planted. The older guy that lived here before us left us this beautiful Tiger Lily. It is amazing.

On the flip side, the broccoli and a few of our herbs have succumbed to the heat and bolted. While their flowers are pretty to look at, they destroy the purpose of the garden. We are unsure if we should just rip the plants out and get ready for something new to put in this fall or if we should just let them grow away and provide some color to the garden box.

Our broccoli plants that we bought at the local store were doing so well until the heat wave, but since the non-stop 85-degree days, the broccoli bolted and now all we have is nice yellow flowers.
Our broccoli plants that we bought at the local store were doing so well until the heat wave, but since the non-stop 85-degree days, the broccoli bolted and now all we have is nice yellow flowers.

Our tomatoes, which we are growing in pots, are also coming along nicely, though the plants stopped growing upward after about a foot and then started flowering. Not sure if we accidentally bought a dwarf variety (most of our seeds were from a Christmas present and bought from a farm in Florida, so we aren’t totally sure on all the varieties), or if we’ve done something wrong. Veronica also decided to get creative and save some money for our tomato cages. Utilizing tree branches from our grove of Douglas Fir trees in the backyard, she used some twine to construct DIY tomato cages.

Veronica built these awesome DIY tomato trellis out of fallen branches from the Douglas fir trees in our backyard and some twin from the store. A very creative and cheap way to help support the tomatoes.
Veronica built these awesome DIY tomato trellis out of fallen branches from the Douglas fir trees in our backyard and some twin from the store. A very creative and cheap way to help support the tomatoes.

For now, though, we are just watering night and day and praying that this stinking heat wave breaks at some point and gives not only the plants – but us – a break.

– Craig Craker

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Almost the opposite of what we are having here in Wisconsin. Its usually getting dry this time of year, but our rain fall has been way up this year. There have been some storms that we’ve received 4-5″ rain overnight. It’s pretty crazy!

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