When I went to the nursery in Reno and asked what type of trees would grow well out where I live (about an hour from Reno), the reply was, "You live in the Great Basin Desert - trees don't grow there." When I asked on a garden forum why I was having trouble with my tomato plants not setting fruit, they told me that "I live in a desert and tomatoes don't like the 40 degree day to night temperature swings." When I looked at my neighbors, I saw that most had "rock gardens." There are almost no lawns where I live. Most of the newer homes have sickly looking little "stick" trees that are struggling to survive. There are no flower gardens within several miles of me - at least none that you can see from the road. There is no soil or dirt - it is sand at least 6-10 feet down.
I won't go into how I came to live in the desert (although I may comment on how I have come to love this place), other than to say it was not my first choice. I have lived in Georgia and seen the green rolling hills of Tennessee and Arkansas. I have eaten fresh peaches in California's San Joaquin Valley. I would much rather live anywhere with names like "The Corn Belt" or "Georgia Peach Country" or "Kentucky Blue Grass." But I'm here. And while the desert tan can magically turn into sparkling steaks of gold, molten red and deep russets during sunrise or sunset, for most of the hot and dry summer, it is merely sand colored. So, a few years ago, I endeavored to create a little green oasis on our property.
Currently, I have a fenced 50 x 75 foot area as my gardening experiment area. The fence keeps out our large dogs and possibly larger jack rabbits; however from prints in the sand, it appears that smaller cotton tails and (from the smell) skunks are not deterred by 2x4 welded wire. I did not even attempt to fence out the ground squirrels or kangaroo mice. This blog endeavours to record my 2008 adventures in gardening in the High Desert and perhaps give some hints, tips and tricks on how to have a successful garden here.