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September 25, 2001

DESERT BLOOM: Winter Garden


Angela O'Callaghan

Now that the days have started to get a little shorter, and it's begun to cool down a bit, maybe this is the time to think about planting a vegetable garden with cool season crops. With autumn coming in, I'm afraid that we need to let go of the hope for our own tomatoes and think about other delicious stuff we can grow for the salad or the stir-fry. One of the many exciting things about living in Las Vegas is that there is not just one growing season, but at least two, and some people would even say there are five!

A large number of vegetables cannot tolerate the amazingly high temperatures that mark summer in Las Vegas, but they will grow quite well when they are planted in the early fall, up to the beginning of October and some even later.

Asparagus, for instance. This is a perennial plant that will survive in salty soil, and you can plant it from September through April!

Members of the cabbage family are happy to be planted from August until the beginning of October. This is a very big group of related plants. There are lots of vegetables to choose from here, since it includes broccoli, bak choi, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and turnip in addition to the many different kinds of cabbage that you can find. Cabbage family members will generally grow normally until temperatures fall below 40° F (that's 5° C ).

Popeye's favorite, spinach, is another crop that flourishes when the days and nights are cooler. You can plant it successfully throughout October, and it will grow until temperatures become pretty cool.

Garlic cloves should be planted around mid October, and the bulbs will be ready to harvest the following summer.

You can plant onion seed until early October. The same holds true for carrots, beets, and Swiss chard.

Now, doesn't that all sound good? If you already have a garden plot where you grew tomatoes or melons, or any of the warm season crops, then you are well ahead of the game. Turn over the vines that are dying back and add some fresh compost. As long as no serious insect or disease problem has been introduced into your garden, then you should be able to use that plot right away.

But maybe you haven't thought that gardening in this area was reasonable until now. Well, what better time to start than the present? Think about where you would like to place a plot it will need at least six hours of direct sun every day, and it must be accessible to water. If your soil is like most of the soil in Southern Nevada, you probably want to do something containerized. You can build a raised bed with cinder blocks and fill it with a combination of native soil and soil mix from one of the local nurseries. Add some nutritious compost to that combination, and you should be good to go.

But you might want to start with something smaller. In that case, why not use pots? Herbs like basil and oregano succeed very well in pots. Leafy greens too. As long as the big four requirements are met, then the plants should produce for you.

Those big four are:

First, vegetables need fertile soil and occasional additional fertilizer, so the soil must have a decent nutritional level and a neutral or slightly acid pH;

Second, the soil is kept evenly moist;

Third, the pots are big enough for the crop and

Fourth, the plants get enough sun.

In pots, your plants won't be as big as if they were in an actual garden, but this might be a little less overwhelming to start with.

So lets get growing! Whether you choose to plant tarragon or turnips, you can have a productive garden in a small area or a large one.

See discussion rules.


AngelaFeb 19, 2015 | Tricky Spring
If you're thinking that our warm weather means your plants are safe from a late frost, you're probably right. But then again, you never know. It only seems that Jack Frost has skipped a visit to Southern Nevada this year. Here's Angela O'Callaghan with Desert Bloom.

NormFeb 14, 2015 | Selective Pruning
Norm Schilling guides gardeners to keep up as Spring approaches. Selective pruning will keep things on track in the yard.

NormJan 21, 2015 | Prepare for Spring Now
Don't look at the calendar. Look at your plants to tell you what do to in the yard right now. Your plants think Spring is near, so use this time to transplant and prune. Desert Gardener Norm Schilling tells us what to look for.

NormDec 30, 2014 | Winter and Citrus
Citrus can thrive in Southern Nevada - even in our cold - when you choose the right varieties. Norm Schilling tells us how.

AngelaDec 13, 2014 | To Prune or Not to Prune
As winter draws near, leaves begin to fall. And the bare view may prompt some excessive pruning. It's tempting, but your plants may appreciate a little restraint. Here's Angela O'Callaghan with Desert Bloom.

NormDec 6, 2014 | Prepare Your Plants for Cold Weather
It's not cold . . . yet, but Norm says be ready and your yard will appreciate it. Don't let a cold snap cost you your investment in plants in your yard. Norm Schilling has some ideas to get ready.

AngelaNov 25, 2014 | Evergreens
As we head into the holiday season, more attention is given to 'evergreens.' Too many cones on a pine tree might be a sign of weakness. Angela O'Callaghan tells us all about evergreens on Desert Bloom.

NormNov 14, 2014 | Fall Colors
Even in the desert, Fall colors can brighten your landscape. Here's Norm Schilling with Desert Bloom.

NormOct 28, 2014 | Fall Colors - Web Only Edition
With glorious weather for our yards to fall back into bloom, Norm has some additional suggestions for color to add to the profusion of blooms for this time of year. (Web-only content)

NormOct 7, 2014 | Second Spring
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AngelaSep 30, 2014 | Fountain Grass
A weed by any other name is still a weed even if it doesn't look like one. If only everything in our gardens thrived as well as weeds. Here is Angela O'Callaghan.

NormSep 15, 2014 | Desert Heat
Norm describes a significant casualty of the desert heat. There's going to be a big gap in Norm's Yard and a lesson on the reality of our desert landscape.

AngelaAug 12, 2014 | Organic Pesticides
Choosing a method for ridding your garden of an unwanted guest, be it bug or weed, is not always a simple choice. But the more you know, the better it goes. Here's Angela O'Callaghan

NormJul 28, 2014 | Lose that Lawn
We know, it's a desert out there including every place there's a lawn. Norm Schilling reminds us all the ways he wants you to consider losing the lawn... permanently.

AngelaJul 14, 2014 | Protect Fruit Trees from Birds
If you put a good deal of care into growing fruit trees, there are likely some birds who will take advantage of your effort. Here's Angela O'Callaghan.

NormJul 10, 2014 | Palm Care, Part 2
To keep, or not to keep. Norm Schilling ponders his palm trees, on this edition of Desert Bloom.

NormJun 10, 2014 | Palm Care
Norm Schilling has mixed feelings about how we use Palms in our yards. Full grown palm trees transplanted into the entry way of a mall is a common sight that tells Southern Nevadan's "something" is nearly open for business. He reminds us that those palms come with challenges.

AngelaJun 3, 2014 | Hot Weather Plants
As temperatures across the Valley begin to climb, you might be wondering what will survive in your garden in the months ahead and what probably won't. There are some 'sweet' options. Here's Angela O'Callaghan

NormMay 20, 2014 | Desert Color
Norm Schilling just got back from Belize and has some ideas for lush leaves in your desert yard. He reflects on some well suited plants to provide color and variety in this edition of Desert Bloom.

AngelaMay 6, 2014 | Emerald Ash Borer
Raising a healthy shade tree in the Mojave is not always easy. And if one particular insect makes its way here, it could get even harder. Here's Angela O'Callaghan with Desert Bloom.

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