For many people, the Lake Tahoe area sitting on the state line of California and Nevada is one of the most stunning places on the planet.
Mark Twain once called Tahoe the “fairest picture the whole world affords,” and the region is truly a breathtaking sight to see year-round with its magnificent clear, blue lake and granite mountains.
Another wonderful aspect of the Lake Tahoe area is the delicious foods grown there. Now, some folks may wonder how gardening could be achieved on a terrain that is mainly sandy and acidic, but a wide variety of veggies can be cultivated quite successfully in the unique Tahoe climate.
Tahoe gardening experts recommend beginning some of your seeds indoors so that you can get a head start on the season. This step will ensure that there is enough growing time for you to get a yield from your crops.
You can check out a Tahoe veggie planting chart by Becca from the UCCE Master Gardeners of Lake Tahoe website.
Here are five of our homegrown Lake Tahoe favorites:
This low-maintenance plant thrives in well-drained soil even if it is of a sandy composition and slightly acidic. The main thing you want to avoid is weeds because asparagus does not grow well when it has to compete with weeds or other plants nearby like tree roots.
Asparagus prefers full sun for as many hours as it can be exposed to it.
The perennial crop will be mature to pick from May to June.
2. Summer Squash.
Zucchini and yellow squash are other yummy garden crops grown in Tahoe if you get a jumpstart on the process by planting them first indoors. These plants enjoy warmth, moisture and plenty of sun and can head outdoors after the frost by around mid-June.
Summer squash can handle poor soil, but you can enhance the area by adding compost that contains organic and mineral components.
Choose squash vine varieties if you have the room and like to see a dramatic crop spreading. Bush varieties are a better choice if you lack ample gardening space.
Finicky veggies like tomatoes can be challenging, but you can succeed. Gardening pros suggest starting the tomato plants indoors in the month of May. Your best bet after that is to grow your plants in a greenhouse or use a hoop house.
A hoop house is usually built with PVC pipe and plastic sheeting, and this plant house can extend a growing season.
Cherry tomatoes and Early Girls are low-maintenance tomato varieties that thrive in Lake Tahoe.
Here is another delicious Tahoe vegetable that goes to seed quickly and can be sown indoors from mid-April to mid-May. Cauliflower is a sun-loving and cool-season crop.
It is a plant that thrives in richer soil, so add mix aged manure and/or compost into the bed. Cauliflower also enjoys regular watering, so automated drip irrigation is best.
Hand watering is not ideal.
Tahoe gardening experts recommend beginning your broccoli seeds indoors from late April to mid-May. Then, plant the seedlings or transplants outdoors in the garden from late May through early June.
The veggie is another sun-loving and cool-season crop that doesn’t mind slightly acidic soil. Prepare the area by adding a thin layer of manure or compost before planting.
Your broccoli crops should be mature for picking come mid-August through the end of September.
The Lake Tahoe area presents a short growing season that can be challenging. It can freeze any night of the year, and snow can fall during any month. and yet, a wonderful variety of healthy, nutritious vegetables can still thrive and yield a good size crop.
As long as the garden grower is attentive and patient, plenty of delicious veggies can prosper in the beautiful region’s difficult climate.