Utah has extreme weather in winter and summer. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a thriving vegetable garden or flourishing fruit trees. Here are just a few vegetables and fruits you can grow in Utah’s dry, semi-arid desert climate.
A crunchy and fresh addition to salads and sandwiches, cucumbers are low-maintenance vegetables that love sun and water. For successful cucumbers, all you need is fertile, slightly acidic soil and a planting site with full sunshine. Cucumber seeds can start indoors when the weather is cold but need to move outside no earlier than two weeks after the last frost.
Plant seeds one inch deep and about three to five feet apart. If you have limited space or want the vine to climb, using a trellis is a great choice. Once your cucumbers are planted, they need at least an inch of water per week for the best-tasting fruit.
Delicious and juicy tomatoes are quintessential warm season crops ideal for Utah’s sunny, hot summers. The plants can’t tolerate frost, so it’s essential not to plant them too early. You can start tomato plants indoors six weeks before the last spring frost. Once there’s no risk of frost, transplant the tomatoes outdoors into soil that is at least 60 degrees.
Use stakes or cages to keep fruit off the ground and help the plants stay upright. Plants should be watered generously within the first few days and then about two inches per square foot throughout the growing season. Remember to water plants in the early morning to provide enough moisture for extra hot days.
Whether it’s romaine, butterhead, or iceberg, lettuce is a quick-growing, cool-season vegetable that grows well in most climates. Lettuce needs well-drained, fertile soil and an open, bright site with good air circulation.
Start lettuce plants indoors toward the end of winter and move them outside in early spring. When it comes to watering, keep the soil moist but not wet. If leaves look wilted, it’s time to sprinkle them with water. Cover the lettuce pants with a cloth on hotter, sunny days, so they don’t get hit by direct sun
Nothing says Utah summer like a peach ripened to perfection. When it comes to picking a peach tree, look for trees about a year old and have healthy root systems. It’s best to plant trees the same day you get them, so plan to purchase peach trees in late winter or early spring.
For high-quality peaches, plant trees in sites that receive full sun all day long. Make sure the soil is well-drained and fertile rather than compacted and wet. Around four to six weeks after your peach tree blooms, thin the blossoms, six to eight inches apart on the branch. Thinning/pruning peach trees will ensure that the fruit is a good size and tastes great.
What’s more beautiful than a blossoming cherry tree in the springtime? If you want your beautiful blossoms, it’s best to plant cherry trees in early spring or late fall when the ground has high moisture. Cherries need at least six hours of sun per day so plant your tree(s) in a sunny spot. Water trees routinely in dry spots and fertilize them in early spring.
Cherry trees thin themselves naturally in early summer, so you don’t have to worry about thinning them. Once the fruit has blossomed, hungry birds may try to steal it. Simply over your trees with netting to protect them from winged visitors.
Utah Gardening Supplies
Ready to start your garden? Find gardening supplies in Utah to plant and maintain your new vegetable plants or fruit trees. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- Good soil (based on what you’re planting)
- Shovel Water source
- Pruning shears