Desert Garden Planters

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If you live in an arid part of the country, you may have encountered problems when trying to start your own garden. Putting together some desert garden planters can be a rewarding and fulfilling venture, especially if you�ve struggle in the past to grow anything in the hard, dry earth. Different in practice than gardening in temperate or tropical climes, there are certain things to take under consideration when planting in drier areas, including what to plant, how much to water plants, etc. For the planting of vegetables, here are some helpful tips to get you started.

Climate and altitude are two major factors for planting. In desert areas, the temperature is usually hot and dry during the day, but can get very cold overnight. Also, higher altitudes are cooler and poorer in oxygen.

Because the soil is desert environments is usually nutrient-poor and has a higher concentration of alkaline and salt, garden planters are useful because you can create and maintain the soil to your liking. Most vegetables are annuals and so only have a limited amount of time to create strong root structures that can support the stem and take in nutrients for the fruit and bloom. Peat-based mixtures and other nutrient rich soil that is mixed with fertilizer works well, but whatever you use, make sure it contains nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.

Watering is obviously crucial in dry, hot settings. Desert garden planters require a good deal more watering, not only because the high temperatures will dry out the soil more quickly, but also because these regions tend to get less rainfall, and what rainfall does come will not last in the topsoil, but rather sink well down into the ground and away from the harsh sun, making it that much more difficult for plants to naturally thrive.

As far as pests and insects, deserts do have the luxury of being less infested than other climates. However, there still are creatures living in the desert, so if you are worried that your garden planters are being compromised, you may either decide to bring those planters inside or use a mild pesticide. Be aware though, if you are using a pesticide, it will get on the plants, so carefully wash any picked vegetables before you eat them.

Knowing when to plant and when to harvest is good to know, and varies by region. For example, in many parts of the Midwest, the general rule of thumb is to plant after May 15th. However, in more Western regions, the last frost comes sooner. For example, in Texas the time to plant is around March 26th, while in New Mexico it�s not until April 13th. On the other end of that, the first frost of autumn falls somewhere between October and November, depending on where you live. Knowing how long the growing season is in your area can also affect what you decide to plant. For instance, okra and watermelon, which have longer growing seasons, will not do as well in northern areas or higher elevation regions. Kale, on the other hand, is a cool weather plant that suffers in very hot conditions.

When setting up your garden planters, make sure they have a proper drainage system, otherwise water will be trapped inside and damage plants. Think also about where to place planters, inside or outside, in sun or shade. As a rule, vegetables do best under direct exposure to sunlight, but consult the specific instructions for each variety just to be safe. Also unique to desert conditions are the occurrence of spring winds, which can be disastrous on fragile saplings. If wind is a concern, invest in a wind break or place garden planters in an area that�s alee.

For some ideas on what vegetables to plant in your desert garden, here is a list of what does well for early planting and what plants are better to wait on.

If you plant in early spring or live at a higher altitude where the temperature is cooler, some hardy vegetables to consider include the following: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, celery, lettuce, spinach, onions, peas, and radishes.

Once the last frost has passed and the temperature is high enough you can move on to these vegetables: pumpkins, squash, eggplant, okra, peppers, melons, tomatoes, cucumbers and beans.

Living in the desert does not mean that you can�t enjoy the fresh bounty of a ripe harvest. With a slightly modified gardening routine that�s different from temperate climates, vegetables (and flowers and herbs for that matter) are a snap to grow. Before you know it, you�ll have a flourishing oasis in the desert.

Gardening Articles: http://organicgardenarticles.com/

Author:
Tonya Kerniva is an experienced research and free lance writing professional. She writes for outdoor and patio web sites including www.cedarwoodfurniture.com/.

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