Tips For St. George Gardening

Because of the hot, dry climate of Saint George, Utah, it takes some expertise to grow a flourishing garden.  The soil can be sandy and rocky, too.  But, by implementing some clever strategies of when to plant what, how to prepare the soil, and smart control of exposure to the sun, you can grow a beautiful and fruitful garden.  This article presents some tips for successful St. George gardening.

Keep in mind that the frost-free growing season is between early April and late October, roughly 207 days.  This gives plenty of time to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables without risk of frost-damage, and some do better in spring, while others do fine in summer to fall.

Early Harvest

With regard to cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, and cabbage, their seeds can be directly planted into the garden about February 21, if the soil is workable.  Even better would be to start them indoors in late January and then transplant them into the garden in mid-March.

St. George gardening can be very prolific with tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.  They should be started in late January indoors.  Then in late March, check the weather forecasts for frost, and plan to transplant the starts in early April to the garden.  You can plant peas, onion starts, and potatoes in early February, as long as the ground is thawed.

A rule of thumb for St. George gardening is checking the soil for a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  At that level, you can plant the pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons, gourds, beans, cowpeas, corn, and squashes.  This normally occurs in early April.

For the following vegetables, use the schedule of seeds indoors in late January and transplanting the starts into the garden in mid-March:  broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and collards.  Eggplant, sweet potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes should be transplanted from the house to garden in early April.

Late Harvest

Summer planting to harvest in fall is a bit trickier.  There’s no time to waste before the cold winter nights come.  Be sure to read on the seed packet the number of days to harvest for each vegetable.  For example, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers need about 100 days to harvest, so they should be transplanted to the garden by July 19.

Garlic should be planted in mid-September; however, to be more accurate, use a soil thermometer to check for 60 degrees.  That is what you want for the garlic.  Separate the cloves, and plant the toes about four inches deep.

In mid-August, you can plant the seeds of cole crops, such as cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli; although because of scorching heat, you will increase your chances of success by starting them indoors by end of June and then transplanting them to the garden August 8.  Spinach and lettuce follow suit.  Peas can be directly seed-planted on August 13.

Mid-July is a good time to plant the seeds of hardy crops like watermelons, beans, cowpeas, pumpkins, cucumbers, gourds, sunflowers, and squashes.

Soil Preparation

St. George gardening works best if the soil is prepared.  To prepare your soil, till it up in fall and spring.  Some neighbor may lend you a tiller, or you can rent one.  Till in manure or compost, something to add nitrogen and organic material to the soil.  You can pick up compost at the Washington County Landfill for cheap.  Horse keepers usually have plenty of horse manure to get rid of.

Sunshine

Some of the best St. George gardens are exposed only to morning and daytime sunshine, and are shaded late in the day.  There’s plenty of sunshine in Washington County, so you don’t need it all day for the crops to do their thing, and you’ll use less water, too.

Tips For St. George Gardening

Tips for St. George Gardening

St. George Gardening

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