Gardening in southeast Idaho can be challenging and requires site selection and preparation, garden layout designing, and following a planting calendar. The state is a short-season, high-altitude zone, and those living in the southeast areas will experience conditions that demand techniques and plants that can adapt. At the same time, southeastern Idaho is rated with hardiness zones 3 to 5, making it prone to harsh climate and weather.
Do not be discouraged with the hardiness zones and limited frost-free zones in some Southeast Idaho locations. You can always protect your crops from extreme climate and weather by gardening inside a greenhouse. Refer to Krostrade.com and learn how to use a greenhouse for the growth of your plants year-round.
Gardening Tips For Idaho
Idaho is a state well-known for ranking in the production of various crops. Its rich and fertile soil, irrigation, and ever-changing technologies allow farming to be a successful operation for many years. However, southeast Idaho requires more planning and unique approaches to ensure a fruitful harvest.
Gardening in southeast Idaho
One can garden in southeast Idaho year-round. However, you must tackle site selection and preparation and garden layout designing. Afterward, you can follow the planting calendar by the Idaho Falls Community Garden Association for the crops you’ve chosen suitable for your location.
Site selection and preparation
In general, you want to choose an area where your plants can get 6 to 12 hours of full sunlight. You also want the site to warm up quickly in the spring and dry out immediately to prevent rot. If the area has perennial weeds or tree rots, you have to address them a year before starting.
After the location, the next step is to check and prepare the soil itself. You want it to be workable and not sticky like a child’s modeling clay. While it’s not possible to get a perfect sandy loam soil, your garden soil will improve over time with organic matter.
Adding organic matter will help improve the soil’s water-holding capacity while also enriching it with nutrients. You can add organic matter annually and expect a better soil structure. You may even find it unnecessary to use commercial fertilizers on your plants over time.
Garden layout designing
Once the site and soil are ready, you must design the garden and how you’ll have your vegetables laid out. A useful layout is having perennial plants to one side so you won’t bother them when rototilling. And if you have low-growing crops, make sure that tall plants won’t end up shading them.
Group your fast-growing crops separately from long season crops to have an easier time harvesting. For maintenance, you can have full rows to lessen the weed work. Having raised beds will also help for drainage and warming up the soil.
For the plants themselves, you have the choice to do intercropping, companion planting, and double cropping. The former is best for those with limited space, while companion planting is a technique to arrange crops that are beneficial for each other. Lastly, double cropping is a way to plant in the same area after harvesting the previous frost-hardy crops.
The Idaho Falls Community Garden Association showed that year-round gardening is possible in southeast Idaho. However, you can also group your plants and plant them accordingly from mid-April to mid-July. Just remember that some crops would be better started indoors using a greenhouse.
Starting in mid-April, plant very hardy crops such as asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, onions, peas, spinach, and turnips. Come late April, the hardy plants that you can start are beets, carrots, cauliflower, celery, potatoes, radish, and swiss chard. Then, in mid-may, you’ll have fewer options, including beans, corn, squash, and tomatoes.
In late May, you can start cantaloupe, cucumber, eggplant, okra, peppers, pumpkins, squash, and watermelon. Then, for mid-July, your fall crops would be beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, onions, peas, and spinach. These crops have different requirements, so note that your location will dictate which of these produce you can plant.
What Planting Zone Is Southern Idaho?
Southern Idaho is in the USDA planting zones 3 to 5. The majority of the southeast Idaho areas are planting zone 4, but Stanley city in south-central Idaho has the shortest frost-free days. Gardeners need to note their planting zone to determine which plants are hardy enough for their weather conditions.
It will also help you prepare for the climates if you know what planting zone is Idaho. Afterward, you can find the crops that can adapt to your region. And at the same time, you can prepare for frost and keep your plants in the greenhouse if necessary.
When Should I Start A Garden In Idaho?
You can start gardening in Idaho at the beginning of the year. This is because gardening involves planning, maintenance, seed starting, propagation, and soil health. When it comes to planting, you can plant in March and harvest in January, depending on what crops you have.
The garden season itself can last for seven months, especially if you live in a warm area. This is the reason why intercropping and double cropping are typical layouts in Idaho. And like in any area, make sure frost has passed before planting warm-weather crops.
What Vegetables Grow Well In Idaho?
If you’re wondering what grows well in Idaho, the state produces not only fruits but also an extensive list of vegetables. According to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, the plants you can grow are potatoes, barley, sugarbeets, onions, peas and lentils, beans, and mint. Of course, if you know when to plant potatoes in Idaho, then it’s no surprise that this tuber tops the list.
More than potatoes, Idaho is also known for producing barley that you can find top malting companies in the state. Idaho is also ranked second for the production of sugar beets and the Spanish Sweet variety of yellow onions that are of superior quality. Peas, lentils, beans, and mint are other vegetables that Idaho grows as well.
Gardening can be challenging, but all the effort and hard work will be paid off by a fruitful harvest. Gardening in southeast Idaho requires site selection and preparation, garden layout designing, and following a planting calendar to ensure success. This way, you can make sure that your crops are ready to adapt and grow to the challenges.
Southeast Idaho has hardiness zones rated 3 to 5. This means that in some areas, climate and weather can be harsh. However, you should not feel discouraged, as greenhouses’ invention has made it possible to protect plants from extreme conditions.
At the same time, the success of Idaho in ranking as the top producer in various crops is proof that with proper techniques and knowledge, gardening is a worthwhile endeavor.