Discussing Three Key Areas of Desert Gardening: Climate, Soil, & Water – Part 1

Gardening in a desert climate like St George is quite a bit different and sometimes more involved than gardening in more temperate climates. When it comes down it, there are three particular subsets of gardening that you need to be familiar with in regards to the location where you live: climate, soil, and water. Southern Utah has many characteristics that come sometimes be hurdles when it comes to gardening; dry winds, heavy calcareous soil, shifting temperatures, low humidity, and others. These three topics need to be understood if you want to conquer St George gardening. If you educate yourself about the climate, soil, and water in the St. George, UT area, you will be able to maintain a desert garden effectively and efficiently. One of the keys to St George gardening is plant selection. Trying to transplant foreign vegetation (which many residents attempt) makes the job much harder than simply choosing native plants that can tolerate the climate conditions and soil of the area. St George gardening requires patience, focused plant selection, and some understanding of how each one survives.

The constant fluctuations in temperature from night to day combined with low humidity and intense sunlight along with a short growing season (and in some areas poor soil conditions) can make St George gardening challenging, but only for those who don’t take the time to get informed about the right way to go about it. Here are the basics that you need to know about living in a high-desert climate like St. George.


Southern Utah’s climate, though not quite as intense as some areas of Nevada, fluctuates in temperature with enough disparity that it often causes the growth of certain plants to be an arduous process. To protect your plants as much as possible from this effect and to become effective at St George gardening, avoid positioning gardens in areas where cold air is prone to be trapped. This will decrease the likelihood of frost accumulation during the evenings in winter months. You can even do some research about specific dates or time periods that often coincide with cold evening fronts which will allow you to effectively apply protective techniques so that your plants are safe and sound and don’t experience limited growth during St George gardening.


There are other things that can cause problems in a desert for St George gardening other than temperature. Things like the soil’s chemical and physical properties, drying winds, and low humidity can have significant effects on the growth patterns of plants as well as their watering needs. In St George, the soil is mostly clay that is tight and heavy. It has very little nutrients or organic matter. St George soil has poor drainage and, in some areas, a high water table. Some of the soil in Southern Utah is actually deep sand. The way to combat the less-than-desirable St George gardening soil is incorporating more organic matter. You can use store-bought soil that is filled with things like gypsum, for example, which is great for improving drainage and helping with soil aggregation. This is just one example of many soil choices. Regardless of if the soil on your St George property is sandy or clay, you should add organic material sot the airflow and drainage of the soil will improve. It will also help the soil to retain nutrients and moisture. If your soil happens to contain high amounts of salt after you’ve incorporated organic material you can then have a gardener (or yourself if you’re experienced in St George gardening) to strain the soluble salts downward so they get below the root system.

This article will continue with St George gardening Discussing Three Key Areas of Desert Gardening: Climate, Soil, & Water – Part 2.

st george gardening

Discussing Three Key Areas of Desert Gardening: Climate, Soil, & Water – Part 1

St George Gardening

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