Spring is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start preparing your home garden. Gardening is a great way to eat healthier, learn a new skill, and connect with nature, but the hot climate and lack of water in New Mexico can leave some would-be gardeners hesitant to get started.
With just a little planning and effort, you can create a backyard garden that flourishes in the Southwest. Here are our top four gardening tips.
Pick the right plants
One of the most difficult things about gardening in the Southwest is the climate. Blisteringly hot days and little rain can make it difficult for you to cultivate your dream garden. Choosing plants that thrive in the Southwest will make your gardening experience more rewarding and enjoyable.
If you’re a novice gardener and try to grow plants that need special care to grow in the desert, you might find yourself frustrated with dead plants.
There are several varieties of plants and flowers that thrive in this region. Cactus, succulents, sage, and yucca are great plants to start with. When it comes to vegetables, tomatoes, squash, and potatoes are all hearty and drought resistant.
It’s all about the soil
The soil you plant in makes all the difference when it comes to gardening, and can be one of the most difficult parts of gardening here. The soil in southern New Mexico tends to be very dry and sandy and often lacks the vital nutrients your plants need to thrive.
Thankfully, there are several things you can do to enrich your soil. Here are some ideas that will help you prepare your soil for the season:
- Use compost on your soil. You can make your own compost using fruit and veggie scraps.
- Fertilize regularly with commercial fertilizer or animal manure.
- Consider mixing your soil with potting soil.
- Remove weeds, rocks, and debris from your soil before planting.
Get rid of pests
There’s nothing worse than watching your well-loved plants get destroyed by pests. Bugs and animals in southern New Mexico will love to snack on the tomatoes that were meant for your homemade salsa.
Not all insects are bad, so knowing how to identify the helpful critters in your garden is important. Ladybugs, praying mantises, and bumblebees are some of the most common beneficial garden insects that can actually keep other pests away.
Here are some ways to make sure that your garden stays pest-free:
- Check your plants thoroughly once a week to check for new signs of bugs.
- Place a fence around your garden to keep rabbits and deer out of it.
- Try companion gardening, which involves planting certain fruit, vegetables, and flowers near each other to deter pests.
Get help from the professionals when you need it
Even if you plan everything just right, you might still need some help to troubleshoot problems or give your garden a boost. There are several nurseries and organizations in Las Cruces that can provide you with resources to guide you on your gardening journey.
If you need a guiding hand to help you figure out your gardening problems, here’s a good place to start:
The New Mexico State University agriculture department has created a guide to help home growers get started and troubleshoot issues. Their research and advice are all focused on the climate and challenges that gardeners face specifically in New Mexico. Their guide is a treasure trove of knowledge about everything from planting timelines to watering tips.
If you live in Doña Ana County, then the Master Gardener Hotline is a free resource that’s available to you. Volunteers are available on Tuesday and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. to answer all of your gardening questions. You can reach them at 575-525-6649.
This greenhouse is a one-stop shop for everything you need for your garden. Not only do they carry the basics like soil, pots, and fertilizer, they also carry unique plants and yard decor. Their friendly staff can answer any questions you have about growing a particular plant.
If you’re ready to take your home garden to the next level, Ewing Irrigation has you covered. They have irrigation and landscaping supplies that will make gardening easier.
Find your forever home
At Steinborn and Associates, we want to help you find the home that’s perfect for you and your family. Check out our extensive online listings and give us a call today at 575-522-3698 to see how we can help.