What do I need to set up a desert garden?

We have bought 624 completely virgin land just outside Elko, NV. I want to have a garden. Some say I need a green house. I don't mind the green house but wonder if the soil in the desert is conducive to plant growth - IF I water, weed and take care of it. I want to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, green beans, peas, carrots, potatoes, corn. I am unsure if hydroponic is the way to go, maybe have above ground layered garden or what. Any suggestions to help me?

  9 answers
  • AmAtHome AmAtHome on Mar 29, 2018
    I would think raised beds might be better to provide the right conditions. Did the people say why you would need a greenhouse?
  • Lynn Lynn on Mar 29, 2018
    Raised beds and consider a composter then you can generate your own rich soil.
  • Go with raised beds and you will be able to grow what you want. Use shade cloth during the heat of summer, as the harsh sun can burn your tomatoes. Expect a few seasons of trial and error too until you find what works best. Positioning the beds will be crucial, you want to plant north to south, as the sun rises in the east, sets in West, that way plants receive optimum sun exposure.

    And contact your local Ag Extension for the best local advice. 🌻🌿🍅
  • Tammy Tammy on Mar 29, 2018
    Hey Pam, I have had a good deal of success using large planters AND Earth Box’s. Even though we live in the south and have pretty good soil for growing I find it to be a larger harvest with the box’s. You have to be sure they are watered everyday (more if it is hot) and fertilize with a good fertilizer at least 1 X a month. I’ve been looking into purchasing a vertical planter for small items like herbs. Self watering. We built stands for our Earth Box’s as well. Sure beats bending over to weed. Bonus: Less grass getting kicked up into your box. I hope that helps.
  • Barb Adams Barb Adams on Mar 29, 2018
    Desert soil is not a good base for a vegetable garden. I agree with other Hometalkers that raised beds are needed. Also, in Arizona, we plant earlier in the year as the summer sun will burn a plant right up. Expect to water more frequently and deeply, also. This site explains some more: https://www.gardenguides.com/92989-vegetable-gardening-desert.html
  • Loneagle Loneagle on Mar 29, 2018
    I plant in containers so that I can move my plants inside when it gets too hot or cold for them. I get my soil from Illinois whenever I go to visit family there, I just pick up several bags of topsoil from a nearby Home Improvement store. Since they usually get their supplies as locally as possible, this results in good black mid-west topsoil which is excellent for gardening. I also use self-watering containers which you can either purchase or build yourself. It really helps to keep up with the watering, plus you won't burn your plants by watering them mid-day.
  • Sassy Sassy on Mar 29, 2018
    You can also take a sample of your soil to the Extension Office and they can tell you what you need to add to it to grow a garden. Enjoy those beautiful Ruby Mountains!!
  • 2dogal 2dogal on Mar 29, 2018
    Contact your county Agricultural Extension office. They will want you to do a soil test and have the kits. Then they will let you know what to do with your land. They are the best! That's all they do.
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