Find Your Green Thumb!...Its Gardening Time in Idaho
by Kevin Hughes
on Thursday, July 7th, 2011 at 4:35pm.
One of the great things about owning Idaho homes is the chance to plant your own garden. Whether it is general landscaping, vegetables for the kitchen, or flowers for the table, there are a few things Idaho gardeners should keep in mind before they start digging.
Make the most of the growing season
Know the hardiness or planting zone for a specific location
Use native plants in landscaping
The Growing Season Idaho land owners may find the shortened growing season of the Pacific Northwest to be a challenge when planting a vegetable garden. Keeping a keen eye on the weather and monitoring local frost conditions will help gardeners decide when best to plant. Other tips include:
Start seeds indoors – This helps protect tender plants when the weather outside is still harsh and can extend the growing season. Once established indoors, young plants can be transplanted outside after an acclimation period.
Choose a warm spot – This area should receive full sun and be protected from the wind. The southern side of a building or wall is ideal, as it provides reflective light and heat as well as protection from damaging winds.
Warm and prepare the soil – Use clear plastic film to retain heat from the sun. The soil should be loose and airy, not compacted. Adding organic matter in the fall and tilling dry soil in the spring will make for an optimum growing environment.
In the Zone Once a spot is picked and the soil prepared, the next step is figuring out what to plant. The USDA has divided the United States into 11 zones based on the average minimum temperature of a given area.
Knowing the zone information is important to determine which plants can survive the cold temperatures typical of an Idaho winter. When selecting plants, it is always better to opt for those that are more tolerant of the cold rather than less. This does not mean that more delicate plants cannot be used, but they may best be housed in containers that can be moved indoors or in a greenhouse over winter.
Using Native Plants One of the easiest ways a Boise, Nampa or other Idaho property owner can spruce up their landscaping is by using plants native to the area. There are a wide variety of evergreen trees, shrubs, groundcovers, and grasses that will do well from the Boise Foothills to West-Central Idaho These include:
Rocky Mountain Maple
With careful preparation and a little effort, every Idahoan can boast a green thumb and a beautiful garden.