It’s just about that time of year to get all of those Backyard Farming tasks done, ready for planting the rows of suburban crops you want to enjoy. There aren’t many plants that don’t grow well here in the Intermountain Region.
Other than tropical plants that require loads of sunshine and precipitation, depending on your soil makeup neighborhood suburban gardeners can pretty much grow anything. We are very, very lucky that we live in an area where our climate allows us to grow a large variety of fruits and vegetables. Doesn’t matter if you are either an experienced “green thumb” or a new gardener, you are able to grow the plants you want to eat.
According to experts, the easiest seeds to plant in the ground right now are those of sugar snap or snow peas. Later in the season, the easiest thing to grow is green beans and frankly, anything you’d put on a salad.
Radishes, for example, are super quick. You can put a seed in the ground and get a radish a month later Other easy to grow are green leafies, lettuce, spinach, chard, any type of salad greens.
However, radishes don’t grow back once pulled up, so if you want to keep the spicy root vegetable producing, plant new seeds every two weeks. Once the season gets into April, carrot, lettuce, spinach, and beet seeds can be planted. Finally, when the weather warms up and summer is nearing, tomatoes, different breeds of squash and peppers are ready to get going.
As for pest control, keeping plants nice and healthy is the best way to avoid pests as stressed or diseased plants will attract “bad actors” such as aphids. One way to ensure their health is to plant them in a section of the yard that gets at least eight hours of sunshine, preferably more. Another tip is to make sure your plants aren’t overcrowded. To paint a picture of the stress the overcrowding of plants causes. Just keeping an eye on the plants helps to keep the pest level down so you notice problems before they get worse.
A low level of pests and bugs is normal for a healthy garden. Lady beetles eat aphids and keep plants healthy.
As for fruits, strawberries are among the most popular plants in the area and it’s hard to know any local gardens that don’t plant them. Because they can be planted as soon as the soil is workable, the sweet red fruit is one of the first of the seasons. You don’t just have to stay with one kind at all, there are loads of different varieties of strawberries available to plant, and each gardener should plant the one to their taste. The June Bearing variety will produce a bunch of strawberries all at once and are great for those looking to can or jelly their fruit. Other varieties such as the Day-Neutral variety will produce smaller amounts of fruit all summer long and work best for those who want a consistent “mid-day snack.”
Those a bit more experienced probably know what’s best for them and their garden, but those new to the area or to the hobby world of Backyard Farming should stick with a few plants they know they like to eat and a couple of “experimental” plants. To take a few dollars off the grocery budget, gardeners should plant fruits and vegetables that cost more in the store, such as blueberries and strawberries, and stay away from lower-costing food like cabbage.
Gardening is a lot of experimenting, which is always fun because every year is a little different. If you start out small and get a feel for gardening, your garden can grow as your experience grows.