Type your question here!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Figs, Blueberries and Strawberries for Las Vegas

Q. Can you give me any particulars as to growing a fig tree, blueberry bush and strawberries?  It would be helpful if you have any information as to the varieties of each.

One of the yellow or white figs

A. Figs do very well here and any variety will grow. They love this climate. You will get two crops every year if you prune them correctly. 
Yellow figs like Kadota are milder in flavor and usually preferred for cooking. While the
purple and “black” varieties have a stronger flavor and used for drying, jams and preserves.
Figs will not be productive here without plenty of water so the biggest mistake people make is not keeping the soil around the roots moist. 
Use wood chip surface mulches to preserve soil moisture. Treat them like any other fruit tree except for pruning. 
Blueberries are more difficult to grow in our climate and are not a good plant for the desert. People do grow them here and they do produce but require extra care and good gardening techniques. Don’t grow them unless you want to put in the effort. 
Blueberry growing in Las Vegas at a home residence
Grow them in containers or tubs because the soil is easier to manipulate. I discourage people from planting blueberries in this climate unless they are an accomplished gardener. Learn the basics and then you can try exotics like blueberries. 
Surprisingly good at lowering pH
If they simply must have them then they should have a very high percentage of quality compost in the soil and the soil covered in wood chip mulch. Expose them to as much sun as possible with protection from late afternoon direct sunlight. 
Focus your selections on southern highbush types with a low chilling requirement. There have been no trials conducted in our climate so I can only guess at which varieties to try. Though varieties I would look closely at include Misty, Sharpblue, Sunshine Blue and perhaps Southmoon.
Misty is one of the better ones in a desert climate. Your selections should be self-fruitful. The soil will be much easier to manage because if adding some acidifying agent such as finely ground soil sulfur, aluminum sulfate or Organic Magic. Organic Magic That drops the pH very fast compared to sulfur.
Strawberries are in between these two in difficulty; not as easy as figs and not as difficult as blueberries. They require soils similar to tomatoes for good growth; a well-drained vegetable soil with plenty of compost.

Quinault Strawberry starting to set fruit in a container with surface mulch of pine shavings growing at Viragrow
Like any fruit crop, give them as much light as possible but protect them from late afternoon sun. They are shallow rooted so water them like you would most vegetables. Fertilize them just after then finish producing which varies with the strawberry whether it’s an Everbearer or main crop type. 
Varieties are important. Stay with the Everbearing varieties rather than main crop types when selecting for home gardens. Use a surface mulch to keep soils moist and avoid letting the soil get too dry in the summer months.  
There is lots of general growing advice on the internet on things that are not as critical when growing in the desert.

No comments:

Post a Comment