When I tell people about my garden, the comment I most often hear is, ‘I could never do that. I have a black thumb.’ My response is that gardening is a science. No one is born with a green thumb. We learn through trial, error and a bit of luck.
7 Things You Need to Start a Garden
A Plan: You might start by brainstorming and creating a list of what you would like to grow. One simple question might be good to ask yourself before you start: What fruits and vegetables do you and your family enjoy? That is a good starting point. Then identify where you would like to locate your garden. It should be close to a water source and in an area where it is getting at least six to eight hours of sun in the summer.
Space: A garden does not have to be big. In fact, I suggest that you start small. A large garden planter near your front door is the perfect spot to plant a few herbs. A 4-by-4-foot raised bed is enough space where you can produce a haul to keep two people satisfied with fresh vegetables all summer long. After you get the hang of it, you can always expand.
Seeds: There is no shortage of seeds to purchase at local area nurseries and big box stores as well as online. Before you purchase seeds, though, you may want to check with local growers for seeds that are better adapted to our climate. The best pumpkins I’ve ever grown were from seeds that I bought at the Pahrump Farmers Market.
Tools: You do not need many tools to get started. An inexpensive garden shovel, pruning shears and a hat are all I use on most days that I am working in my garden.
Soil: Great soil is the foundation for your garden. It is very easy to make soil, and I will feature this topic in-depth in a future column. Having said that, there are many great options to choose from in our local markets as well. I’ve had good results with the Dr. Q’s brand organic vegetable and herb planting mix, sold at Star Nursery.
Water: This is probably the most common question we get in the garden club that I oversee. How much to water and how often changes over the course of the seasons and is based on what you have growing. You can make things easier for yourself by installing a dripline with a timer. They are simple to set up and can be attached to any outdoor spigot.
Knowledge: Do not expect that you will become a garden expert after one season, or even twenty. The library is filled with books on the topic of gardening. The Internet has an endless abundance of gardening websites and YouTube channels, some helpful, some not.
My personal favorite source of gardening knowhow, though, is other people. We are fortunate to have a local garden club that meets every second Saturday of the month, except August and December, at 10:00 a.m. at the Pahrump Valley Museum and Historical Society at 401 E. Basin Ave.
Another source of gardening knowledge is the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners. They maintain an “Ask a Master Gardener Help-Desk” Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Their office is located at 1651 E. Calvada Blvd.
I hope you will join me in the coming weeks and months as I share my love of gardening with you. Welcome to the garden and what’s In Season.
Terri Meehan is the Founder of Southern Nevada Gardening Association Facebook Page. She is a garden mentor and local farmer in Pahrump. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org