If you’ve recently moved to Utah and have a bit of dirt available to grow things this summer, it’s getting time to plant! If you lived here a while you do know what grows and what doesn’t grow well. Putting in a garden area, improving landscaping is one of the easy ways to create value and gain equity in a home that you own. The challenge is you’ve got to figure out what to plant. Each state in the USA is in a different zonal gardening region, and once you look this up on the internet you’ll see what vegetables, herbs, flowers, shrubs and trees do best in Utah. The Zonal Gardening system explains why you don’t see palm trees growing outside in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Moab has a different climate than Logan just as Delta’s is different from Salt Lake City.
When it comes to fruit and vegetable farmers we’ve got major state pride. Green River, Utah is where some of the best melons in the world are grown. The desert climate of hot days and cool nights helps the watermelons and cantaloupes store sugar and make them sweet as candy. If you’re from north of the Capitol City then you know we’ve got terrific giant black sweet cherries and soft ball sized peaches. I was grinding my teeth the other day after one of our local grocers was interviewed on the news about the California drought, and he commented “I don’t know where I’ll be able to get my melons anymore.” And this from the mouth of a guy who promotes locally grown produce!
Whether it’s the mindset of a new generation or a reaction to the Crash of 2008, more and more people are getting their fingers dirty and growing things. My wife and I live in a condo and we plant in about 30 pots. We’ve experimented with our unique deck ‘zone’ and have been able to get a head start and trick Mother Nature to get fresh tomatoes by Memorial Day. I think many folks love the fact that it’s easy to grow tomatoes, peppers, cilantro and zucchini in the back yard or in pots with not having to own a tractor and irrigation system. There are a multitude of community gardens where folk without dirt can come and plant in their neighborhood. Wasatchgardens.org exists to build community by providing the space to garden and the expertise if you don’t know how to do it. And slco.org/urbanfarming/communitygardens/garden map will show you where there are gardens in the County.
The Winter Market of the Downtown Alliance is now closed but the Summer Market begins on June 14th. The ‘People’s Market’, now called the ‘9th West Farmers Market’ opens on Mother’s Day at Jordan Park on 1000 South and 900 West. Those who don’t garden can find early produce there. Statewide there are more and more markets popping up and you can find them listed at https://utahsown.utah.gov/farmer-markets. For Zonal gardening and what to plant where and when go to garden.org or stop into one of our many local garden stores and ask the experts.