Fruit trees and Veggie in High Desert

senjanevada(9)January 7, 2009

It's been sunny the whole week after snow storm few weeks ago. I am iching to get out and start to plant fruit trees and veggie in my bare back yard.

I already have a dog kennel and started to geminate the tomatoes and garlic from my kitchen (took the seed and garlic cloves).

Please let me know if this is a good time to start planting and what kind of fruit trees and veggie are hardy here in Victorville.

Thank you,


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gardenerme(z9/21 inland socal)

I'm in zone 9 in Lake Elsinore, however I definitely do not have snow! It would be a rare occurrence. However, we are having low nighttime temps: between 29 and 32.

I am growing broccoli, lettuce, shelling peas, sugar snap peas (I have very little space). I am also starting seeds outdoors for spring/summer annuals and perennials (penstemon, sunflowers, delphiniums, poppies, coneflowers, etc. I am absolutely shocked that they are germinating outside in this cold weather, but they are doing awesome.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 8:07PM
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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

I live in Sunset Zone 19 (an inland hilltops and valley bottoms) I' have tomatoes in every stage of growth right now, and I'll be in putting another round of winter vegetable seedlings this week.

I have a pepper blooming inside and I am using hot caps on the eggplants and peppers outside to coax them out of dermancy.

I can't tell you anything about fruit trees, though. My citrus is looking pretty sad. It didn't survice three weeks of neglect while I had a cold


    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 11:17AM
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Thanks for your response.

I started to germinate tomatoes a week ago and chilli pepper 2-3 weeks ago; Up to now, I don't see anything grow yet. I've just germinated basil seed this morning.

We have warm days and cool nights lately. It's always nice to work out in the yard day time, but get worried any night (lol)

I will visit Lowes/HD for fruit trees and ask for their advices.

Thanks again ladies, and have a great day.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 12:58PM
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I am absolutely new to having a food garden, and live in the California High Desert - Antelope Valley, which I think is a zone 9.

I'll be very interested in hearing from others in the same zone about what thrives for them. I am going to start germinating seeds for honeydew melon, bell peppers, roma tomatoes, and some mystery pole bean seeds I got from a seed trade.

BTW, what are "hot caps"?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 8:54PM
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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

Hot caps can be anything you put over plants as a season extender. Some people use row covers or just throw a lightweight sheet over their plants. I do that with my tomato plants, because they are together in one spot and it's easy.

Most of my hot caps for individual plants are milk jugs with the bottoms cut out and the top off. I slide them down over a tall stake to them from blowing away.

My husband also cut an old plastic trash can into three circles for me. I drilled holes in the bottom one and planted it with Catskills semi-dwarf broccoli, which doesn't need protection. I taped clear plastic sheeting over the tops of the other two and have them sitting over the bigger plants.

I also made a miniature hothouse out of a styrofoam ice chest, an almost clear Steerlite storage tub, a half gallon plastic juice bottle, and a square of the plastic sheeting.

I punched drain holes in the cooler, added soiless mix and planted it with dwarf Fairy Tale eggplants. The bottle filled with water sits in the center of the plants and absorbs heat during the day. When the sun goes down, I drape the sheet over the bottle and the outside edges of the cooler and cover the whole contraption with the upside down storage tub. On cloudy and windy days, I don't even take the tub off. Eggplants like it hot, so they don't mind this treatment at all.

Raven's Voice, the reality of gardening is that most gardeners fail at something every year, due to weather beyond our control, insects or critters, or our own ignorance. Whether you or an old timer or a newbie, gardening is ALWAYS a learning experience, and The best advice I can give you is to just keep planting!

I went through some painful times before I realized I could never have an inground garden until I figured out a way to deal with the voles and rabbits. BUT that forced me to learn the ins and outs of container gardening, and even though we am slowly adding fenced raised beds sitting on bases of thick wire mesh, I will continue to plant in containers because I like being able to move them around to take advantage of shade in the summer and sunny spots in the winter.

If you are lucky in your location, you can skip that lesson entirely. But if not, well, visit the Frugal Gardening forum for tips on where to find large and inexpensive containers!


    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 11:38PM
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I can't thank you enough for your wonderful reply to me. I've printed out your instructions (which are clear and concise, thank you) and I'll have them be my first entry into my garden journal - I plan to keep articles, advice, my own records on seed germination, planting, pest control, etc. in a book that I can update and refer to. That way someday in the future I can advise other folks who are just starting on this wonderful project of growing food.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 1:23AM
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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

RV, when you are short on time, but come across a post you want to keep, the Clippings feature of GW is a handy tool. It will save the post to the clippings folder on your page.

The GW community is terrific. You can get an answer to almost any question as well as acquire great seeds and swaps by trading with other gardeners. Take some time to explore the many, many forums here.

And speaking of that, Meli, I forgot to mention that we have an excellent climate for growing figs and members of the fig forum often offer cuttings for the cost of shipping. I have 4 of a gourmet variety on the way now that I will be rooting and growing in giant pots on the patio. They say that with the right care, they can grow to 6 feet the first year.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 10:48AM
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I have spent FAR too much time here today and have used the Clipping feature a LOT, but now I can't find my way to the things I clipped.

Surely there is something very simple I'm overlooking.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 2:07AM
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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)'re going to hit yourself when I tell you.

See the blue link by your name that says "My Page?" Click that and VOILA! You'll see a My Clippings link there.

Or take the easy direct route with the link below

Here is a link that might be useful: Clippings by ravens_voice

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 7:06PM
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I'm no expert, but I'd say that any food crop that does well locally in organic commercial gardens will do well in your home garden. I'd start by saving the seed from anything you buy that's been raised locally, whether organic or not, and trying to germinate those seeds.

And I'd just notice which foods are available during what seasons at farmer's markets and organic food stores. Ask if they are grown locally. Make note of which ones are - those are likely to do well for you.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 11:34AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Tomatos and peppers are warm weather crops. They are heat lovers. Even if they grow, they are not likely to produce fruits until nighttime temperatures are in the upper 50s to upper 60s.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 5:57PM
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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

This spring I'm trying a selection of the early tomatoes that are promoted as cool-tolerant with the ability to set fruit at lower temperatures. (I haven't found anybody making those claims for peppers, though. LOL)

The varieties I have growing outside now are listed below, along with and my notes on why I selected them. The ones that do well, I will grow again, most likely in my fall garden.

I have been growing the Bloody Butcher the longest, and it set its first fruit in early December and a #@!$%# ground squirrel just made off with the biggest tomato today. grrrr


Glacier Originally from Sweden. Very early (45-55 dtm), very cold tolerant, high yielding tomato. This special strain begins flowering when only 4 inches high. Expect high yields of 2-3 oz fruit, excellent for salads and slicing. The sweet, rich taste is similar to that found in larger, later season tomatoes. Potato-leaf foliage.

Siberian Fruits grow to 3-5oz and are borne in clusters. The juicy fruits have a delicious flavor roundly considered one of the best of the early types. Unlike most tomatoes this variety sets fruits in cool weather, even at just a few degrees above freezing! Determinate. 55-58 days.

Silvery Fir Tree Known for its carrot-like foliage with a slight silver tinge. Plants are short and bear heavy crops of medium sized flattish tomatoes with a good flavor. Along with its attractive foliage, this variety is also popular for short or late season tomato growers as it produces in just 58 days. Determinate.

Stupice A native of Czechoslovakia, where its extreme earliness, tolerance to cold, superior flavor and high yields have earned it worldwide attention. Tests show an astounding average of 87 fruits picked per plant. Fruits are sugary sweet, weighing 1 to 2 oz. Cold hardy tomato bearing 3-6 oz. fruits in large clusters. Plants are potato-leaved and can grow to a few feet. This variety bears particularly well in short-seasons or cooler areas. Fruits are good-sized and have a great flavor. Originally from Czechoslovakia. 55 days.

SubArctic Plenty Allegedly developed in the 1940's by the U.S. Military to provide fresh tomatoes to their troops in Greenland. If your weather turns cold after you set out plants, try this variety. Sets hundreds of small, 1 to 2", red fruits with that tart, "real tomato" flavor. Hardier than virtually any other variety we offer. Extremely early maturity. No need to stake.

Bloody Butcher A small 3-4 oz cluster tomato. Fruit are deep red in color and have a nice tomato flavor. Production is really good, but where this open-pollinated tomato really shines is its earliness. It ripens in only about 60 days, making it ripen about the same time as Early Girl, but this tomato is much tastier.

Northern Exposure Hybrid 8 oz. fruits are borne on ompact, semi-determinate plants which are bred specifically for cool, short season areas. Ready to pick 67 days from setting plants outside. Determinate

Sophie's Choicean extra early tomato - highly productive, flavorful and large-fruited. Unlike other extra-early varieties, the fruits are flavorful and large, averaging 6 to 8 ounces and weighing up to 12 ounces. Produces large fruit on a small plant only 18 to 24" tall. Quality is best in cool climates.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 12:40AM
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My Mom lives in Hesperia.If I lived in the High Desert, particularly the Victor Valley, I'd FOR SURE plant Pistachios! They absolutely thrive in that area! Wait till next winter, plant as bare root. As I recall, you'll need a male to pollinize how many ever female trees you buy.
You're so can grow, in the winter, broccoli,romaine, peas, brussels sprouts, beets....any of the winter veggies do well. Just try to get them in the ground by October, so the soil's still warm. If you wait longer, they'll take a lot longer to grow!
Get a tomato like "Heat Wave" for summer. Tomatoes stop setting when Summer Temps get above 90.
You can grow snap beans, squash, corn......just improve your garden soil and get a soaker hose....they're pretty efficient. Even asparagus loves the hi desert!
Cal Herbolt's nursery is in Hesperia. Cal's been there forever....He was born in Helendale! Just wandering around will give you an idea of what does well.

Oh, and you MUST try Peonies! They don't grow "down the hill" You get enough winter cold that they love! If you have an Eastern exposure, that would be best. Otherwise, a northern that still gets Spring sun will be just fine. Again, plant when bare root in winter!

Hope this helps

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 11:50PM
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As for fruit trees, you may be shocked to find out that it's called Apple Valley because of all the apple orchards that used to be planted there (which is the reason Lake Arrowhead never was able to divert water to Redlands, but that's a whole other story).

They were killed off by a root fungus during the long winters of 1938, and high power prices for pumping groundwater for irrigating. By 1942 only firewood was being shipped to L.A.

But it remains a good climate for growing apples, especially heat-resistant varieties like Arkansas Black, Winesap, Williams' Pride, Hawaii, White Winter Pearmain, King, and Hudson's Golden Gem.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 12:38AM
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Okay experts... I moved to Victorville in 1985 and planted apple, pear, plum, cherry, apricot, and peach. Never had any problems except for the cherry. It was full of ripe cherries and died...

Now for the stupid me moment .... I had them all removed to put permanent raised beds into the vegetable garden area. This year I am planting Dwarfs and expect no problems.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 2:17PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I'm in zone 9b. We get snow, but so far no stick! Artichokes will do great where you are, as will Hardy Chicago Figs, Apricots, Apples, Peaches, Plums, Persimmons and the Pakistan Mulberry which is cold hardy to -20. I forgot wine grapes! You will do well with those, but you need at least 10 vines to make one or two gallons of wine. And Pomegranates!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 9:23PM
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