With rising prices, people are growing their own vegetables. They are finding or rediscovering that vegetables harvested from their own garden at their peak of quality are more nutritious and tastier than those in grocery stores.
With today's lifestyle, Las Vegas homeowners have only a limited amount of space and time available to garden compared to the more traditional sprawling country gardens. In fact, there are some want-to-be gardeners that don't have any garden space at all. As a result, garden plots are springing up in backyards and front yards, on balconies in containers and on rental plots. You can produce an amazing amount of vegetables using intensive gardening techniques.
Right now, seed catalogs are flooding my mailbox daily and nursery seed racks are loaded with a fresh supply of seeds and transplants.
Intensive gardening doesn't demand much time. So once soil preparation is done, you can grow just as many vegetables in half the space, using half the amount of water with very little weeding and still have a bountiful harvest.
Begin by building raised beds. Divide the space you want to plant vegetables into beds about 4 feet wide with paths about 2 feet wide. Because our soils are hard, shallow, salty and - in many cases - loaded with caliche, fill those beds with a manufactured soil sold by your nursery. This comes with generous amounts of organic matter in it and all the essential nutrients added in.
I like raised beds because I do all my work sitting on the bed's edges to save my back, and I won't compact the soil. You want to keep it open and friable so plants can produce high-quality vegetables.
When planting, forget about the distances between rows. Plant the seeds or transplants in blocks. If the vegetable needs 10 inches between plants in a row, plant it 10 inches from any other plant in the bed. Think of it like putting cookie dough on a cookie-baking sheet; get as many into the space as you can without crowding them.
Here are four planting practices that will guarantee an abundant harvest, even from a miniature garden. They are all designed to use your space efficiently. Be sure to keep your crop rotation scheme in mind as you apply them.