Las Vegas is not exactly a town that's known for being in touch with nature. In fact, the heart of the city beats around a man-made world of lights and sound. But for nature-lovers who are deciding to start a vegetable garden in the area, there are several crops that are able to handle the toasty desert climate.
According to the University of Nevada, when choosing vegetables to plant for a garden in the southern part of the state, it's best to go with plants "that withstand the high sunlight and low humidity." This is why the chili pepper, which grows in desert climates throughout the Southwest and Mexico, is a wise choice. Chili peppers thrive on heavy amounts of sun, even in the arid Las Vegas heat. Now, of course, there are thousands of varieties to choose from, but some of the most popular in general include serrano, cayenne and jalapeno, all of which are essential in Southwest cooking.
Although it may not be the first to come to mind, according to Nevada Department of Agriculture, alfalfa is one of the largest commodities in Clark County, where Las Vegas resides. This particular vegetable, which is similar to leafy grasses such as clover, is grown in patches. The main purpose for most of the alfalfa that is commercially grown is to be a forage crop for feeding farm animals; however, it is also used in many salads and as a garnish for entrees. This crop grows particularly well in flat, dry land, which can be found throughout the southern Nevada region.
Garlic is a type of vegetable known as a bulb, which is grown under the soil at the base of the plant. This particular type of bulb, which is an important source of flavor and spice in cuisines throughout the world, grows best during the autumn season in southern Nevada. Because the fall months are much less scorching, they allow bulbs such as garlic to grow and develop a rich flavor without being dried out prematurely. Because the natural soil of the region tends to have a high salt content, it's best to at least mix in some organic, nutrient-rich soil in order to produce the healthiest crop possible.
While vegetables such as garlic may be suited for the cooler months, others, such as squash, can handle the warmth months just fine. This is because squash, a member of the gourd family, produces bunches of large leaves around every crop, providing constant shade from the beating sun. The only catch is that because they are blocked from the sun, squash plants take longer than usual to ripen. Although they can handle the desert heat, these plants still need to be watered consistently in order to withstand the hot summer months.