Backyard gardening in the Wood River Valley isn’t for the faint of heart! But with shared knowledge and resources, a high-desert gardener can yield a healthy harvest. For many gardeners, our short growing season - less than 100 frost-free days for growing annuals - means starting seeds indoors up to a few months before our soil warms up and frost danger is at a minimum, around June 1.
As the first signs of spring start to show, it’s fun to start visualizing your dream garden. Imagine it’s a sunny summer morning and you’re going outside to harvest something fresh to enjoy - what flavors and textures would you like to experience? What vegetables, herbs, or fruit do you imagine on your plate? Beginners often start with their favorite foods that taste best fresh, like a salad or salsa garden.
Since our last frost comes so late in the spring, many are itching to get busy in the garden as soon as the soil shows. Cool-season crops can create an edible garden in just a few weeks. Spinach, lettuces, radishes, beets, peas, carrots, kale, and arugula can all be planted in the spring.
If tomatoes and peppers are a must in your garden, starting seeds inside is your best bet. Plant these starts in the garden once the risk of frost has passed. At that time, you can plant warm season seeds for vegetables like beans, corn, and squash.
Using local seeds from our community seed libraries, or from last year’s garden, helps ensure a good harvest since the seeds have acclimated to our area. Find local seeds at the Wood River Seed Library (located in The Community Library in Ketchum) or Upper Big Wood River Grange in Hailey.