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Desert Gardening

“If you are going to take a stand in the desert, do not be unsure of your purpose.  More than anywhere else that I can think of, this land does not reward partial commitments.” 

This quote from the book, How To, edited by Susan McAllister, Jessie Rogers & Wade Patterson, describes gardening in the desert so well.  There are no “partial commitments”.  You are either all in or all out, as a gardener.  With blaring sun and little to no sky water gardening in the desert seems to be quite a feat.  And yet with a little tending life prevails.

This is the first year we are using the square foot gardening method.  This picture was taken soon after planting earlier this Spring, mid- April.


And here it is now.  We have very limited space for our tiny, backyard garden.  Just this little fenced in area for one garden bed, a palette herb garden with some containers on top & a small in ground bed to the left.

Vine tomatoes & two zucchini plants are growing well here.  There’s also some basil & marigolds in the center of the bed.


We’re harvesting zucchini’s semi regularly now.


The tomatoes are starting to turn from green to rosy.  The other day I counted 81!


The basil has given us many a pesto!


We’ve harvested a handful of cucumbers.

There’s something so beautiful about how the cucumber vines find their clingy way.


We have three cantaloupes growing strong.


And some Sunflowers growing along the perimeter of the yard.  They thankfully have kept the grasshoppers busy & away (mostly) from the garden.



The pallet herb garden is starting to work after a slow start in the dry heat.  We have parsley, sage, a newly planted oregano & basil.  And here also is my constant garden kitty companion.  I think she loves the garden as much as I do.

The wonderful thing about desert gardening is that we have an extra long growing season.  I hope to add more square foot garden beds here and keep them busy year round.  Wish me luck!


20 thoughts on “Desert Gardening

  1. Oooh, you are growing cantaloupe, that’s awesome! I would love to be able to grow things like that 🙂 I live in Northern Canada, and we have to grow hearty things like potatoes, peas, and carrots LOL. I am growing tomatoes and cucumber in my greenhouse though, and they are doing well.

    1. I’m excited to grow some carrots, peas & greens this Fall. I’m a little concerned our heat will wilt it all, but our local veggie chart says we can, so I’m going to go for it!

  2. ooooh love the pallet herb garden! great info! and lovely garden space for a tiny spot!

    1. thank you!

  3. It looks wonderful! You’ve certainly done a lot in a small space. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  4. Looks like you’ve certainly made the most of your little space. I’m intrigued by square foot gardening. I’s love to hear what you think of it by the end of the season.

    1. I’ll let you know.

      Right now I have to say I really love it. Without meaning to I conducted a little experiment. I planted marigold seeds in the square foot garden with it’s “Mel’s mix” blend of soil and another few marigolds in the in-ground bed in my amended NM soil. The marigold in the square foot garden is twice the size and blooming. Where the others are small & not blooming. Light was not a factor until recently when they started getting shaded a bit.

      I think especially for those with little space, you can’t go wrong with the square foot method.

  5. Looking yummy!

  6. It looks lovely! I wish we could do a swap on a bit of weather though, we’ve had fairly torrential rain that hasn’t done our garden (or many others) much good.

    Your square food bed looks so pretty too.

    1. Good luck w/ the weather! Hope the garden can recover. The cool thing about raised beds is you can always shelter them. So if we get too much rain I can cover with some plastic sheeting over the pvc frame.

      We had a good storm the other night and I haven’t had to water in a couple of days. Thank goodness monsoon season is here now, maybe I won’t have to water so much now.

  7. Your garden is truly amazing! I cannot believe those zucchini, oh they look beautiful. I love the idea of the pallet herb garden. You have got so much growing in your garden….. I am envious! Keep up the fantastic work.

    1. Thank you Christina! It has been my absolute joy this summer!

  8. Your pallet garden inspired me! You have such a lovely garden, and cantaloupes!!! You did a marvelous job, especially for your first year in Sq ft gardening. 🙂

    1. Thanks Stephanie! The pallet garden is such a fun idea. Hope to do a vertical pallet some day.

  9. 81 tomatoes!! That is beyond epic. Your commitment to your garden shines in its beauty and abundance. I am so impressed with what you have done with your small space. Just a matter of time till your melons and cucumbers start climbing that little fence on the side!

  10. Beautiful garden… well done! Aren’t you loving the flavors when you eat your homegrown foods? We are just starting to get peas. Most of them get eaten in the garden!

    1. Thanks Becca! Yes, I’m loving the homegrown flavors! You can just taste the NM Sun in the tomatoes. Yum!

  11. Your garden looks great, Becca! You’ve really made the most out of a small space. Those tomatoes are beautiful!

  12. Could you maybe do a follow-up post about pallet garden? I have never heard of such a thing. I am intrigued and would like to learn more about this subject! Thanks so much for the wonderful article. Loved the photos, too!

  13. What resourceful use of your area. Everything looks so happy!

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