Monthly Archives: June 2022

Plant These Beauties in Your Park Strip

Plant These Beauties in Your Park Strip

The flip your strip program is in full force in Utah. Many counties are offering rebates for those who tear out their grass in their park strips and replace it with water-wise solutions. It’s estimated that about 5,000 to 8,000 gallons of water is used each year on a single average park strip. Before you decide to tear everything up and pour concrete or spend thousands in decorative rock, consider planting some beautiful native, water-wise plants instead. This will keep park strips looking beautiful and lush without wasting water. Don’t want to worry about that many plants? Go for a combination of rocks, mulch, and plants to make a beautiful, maintenance-free park strip area that’s lush and practical. Here are some plants to consider for your new park strip after you’ve flipped it:

  • Banana Yucca: this is the state flower of New Mexico. Its sharp evergreen leaf tips are a great barrier against unwanted animals. There are over 40 different species of yucca, but the Banana Yucca is one of the few that produces delicious fruits.
  • Desert Zinnia: this is a flowering plant that is related to a daisy. It’s a perennial and thrives in sandy, gravel-like soils in drought-prone areas around Utah. It’s actually not native to Utah but is common in New Mexico and Colorado and does well in our climate.
  • Blue Sage: this plant is also known as Mountain Sage. It grows throughout the south-west, particularly in California, Nevada, and Arizona. It’s a drought-tolerant alpine shrub that is happier in higher elevations (above 5,000 feet). It’s purple and blue flowers are year-round blooming and can be used for culinary purposes.
  • Indian Ricegrass: this is a water-wise grass that grows in clumps about one to two feet tall. They are drought-tolerant and hardy in cold temperatures, making them an excellent choice along the Wasatch Front. Their seeds can self-propagate and are great for birds to eat.
  • Broom Snakeweed: this is another one in the daisy family and is great for Utah’s sandy, dry soil. Its thread-like leaves produce tiny clusters of yellow flowers from late summer to fall. Local wildlife is not impressed with this flower, so you don’t have to worry about grazing animals nibbling it away.
  • Desert Globemallow: this is a plant that’s native to the Utah deserts. Its color is a beautiful pop of orange and grows to about three feet tall. The flowers on the ends are impressive and blooms almost all year round, attracting bees and other pollinators.
  • Mesa Verde Ice Plant: this lovely purple plant is a low-growing ground cover that spreads naturally across rocky soils. Rock gardens of all shapes and sizes do well with this plant added, and they get more drought tolerant the more established they become.

Whatever you choose to do with your park strip, just know that it can be beautiful with minimal effort. Visit The Dirt Bag to get soil amendments before planting, mulch for water retention, and decorative rocks to finish off the look.

Your Garden Can Thrive with Less Water

Your Garden Can Thrive with Less Water

As the second driest state in the nation, we must be conscious about our water usage. Vegetable gardens are popular throughout most of the state, and they’re something many of us are proud of, especially when we grow enough food to can for the winter. There are ways to create a thriving, happy vegetable garden without using more water than necessary. Here are some tips:

  1. Water at the appropriate time of day. You already know not to water in the heat of the day, but it’s also important to avoid the evening hours. Soil in the evening is warm and when you add water that will likely remain all night long, the warm and wet foliage will attract bugs and fungal development. The best time to water is between 5am and 10am.
  2. Install a more efficient watering system. An overhead system is great for the lawn, but not the for a vegetable garden. Most of the water evaporates before it hits the soil, not making it to the roots of your veggies where it’s really needed. A drip system is much more effective at getting water where it needs to go. And bonus—it cuts down on weeds, too.
  3. Make sure you have healthy soil. There is no substitution for good, healthy soil in your garden. You soil is the main determiner if your vegetable garden with thrive or die. Soil texture will guide your watering schedule as well. For example, if you have more sandy soil, you will probably need to water more frequently than if you have more clay-like soil. You’ll probably need to add some nutrient-rich soil prepor compost to whatever soil you have currently to help your plants grow all season long. If you want delicious vegetables to pick, you’ll need nutrient-rich, pH-balanced soil.
  4. Add mulch, but not too much: Adding about one to two inches of mulch around your plants can protect plants’ roots, helps reduce evaporation, and keeps weeds at bay. There are natural mulch materials such as lawn clippings, dried leaves, and straw, or go for a prepared bark mulchthat’s beautiful and ready to go.
  5. Avoid buying water-hog plants: Some vegetables just aren’t great for Utah’s conditions. Plants like lettuce (although a happier-in-spring plant), broccoli, celery, and cabbage all take quite a bit of water, so avoid these if you can. If you really want to plant these, make sure you’re following the above tips to maximize your watering efforts.
  6. Plant companion plants: Companion planting has been around for over 2,000 years and it works. Plant items that work well together, such as corn, beans, and squash (called the three sisters). Basil and tomatoes go well together too, and strawberries like to be with onions. Save water with companion planting, but also grow healthier, stronger veggies.

The Dirt Bag wants to see your garden thrive. We love to help people get on the right track with their garden projects and can assist you in keeping it successful all season long.