Some of you probably figured out that I live in the fabulous city of Las Vegas; however, not many know that Las Vegas is actually a desert. So, what does this have to do with cakes? Well, nothing.
What I really want to talk about is growing your own food. I have always wanted to grow vegetables and herbs but the desert climate keeps intimidating me. Remember, when visiting Las Vegas for the first time, you should either bring a fur coat or a swimsuit. That being said, it either gets too hot or too cold over here. We have our occasional good weather but it never lasts long.
So, what grows in the desert? Not just cactuses that’s for sure! Take a look at my herb bed.
I built this stacked herb bed a couple of weeks ago with just regular, construction lumber. I would actually prefer to use Trex, redwood or cedar (rot resistant) but since we are just renting, I didn’t invest too much. Also, when building your raised beds, make sure not to use treated wood. Chemicals will leach into the soil and contaminate your food. Of course, if you are just growing ornamental flowers, that is okay.
I added the dividers to keep each herb contained. I also think it looks more organized this way.
This boxwood basil is probably the lushest herb in my bed.
You can use chives in endless possibilities!
Italian parsley for pastas, salads and garnishing dishes! Doesn’t it look like cilantro?
How about some lemon verbena on your iced tea?
I haven’t cooked with Thai basil yet but I’m sure they would be great for Southeast Asian cuisine.
Sweet basil is definitely a staple in Italian dishes. This is probably my commonly used herb, too.
Doesn’t this lemon thyme look beautiful in the herb bed?
This one is called pineapple sage. When I first saw it, I was intrigued by the name. It actually smells like pineapple!
Ready for some lavender ice cream?
I was surprised to see some curry at our local nursery! I love the aroma!
There was a huge variety of rosemary to choose from and I only get to pick one. One day, I’ll have a rosemary garden!
Do you like adding dill to your tar tar sauce and potato salad?
I also have a raised bed with three varieties of strawberries. A few days ago, I picked off all the strawberries and blooms. I wanted the plant to first focus on growing some leaves than bearing fruits. That way, I get a better harvest next time.
I’m also growing six varieties of peppers. Peppers are actually perfect in the desert; as well as eggplants, okras, melons and some varieties of tomatoes. I wish I can plant them all!
I planted several of these collards and I’m not exactly sure of the variety. I’m guessing they are Georgia collards?
Of course, I can’t forget my bok choy. They are wonderful for stir fries and stews!
As you can see, plenty of things can actually grow in the desert. Of course, you wouldn’t want to plant cabbages during the desert summer nor plant tomatoes in the freezing winter. Keep in touch with your local nurseries and see what grows well in each season. Get some good organic soil and compost; plus don’t forget to water them regularly (just don’t water them too much).
Special thanks to Jason Tucker for giving me advice on growing edibles here in Las Vegas. I couldn’t do it without him! Also, I would like to thank John Kohler for inspiring me to start gardening! Thank you!
What are you waiting for? Start growing now!