I live in the sunny desert of Idaho, zone 6. There's a little garden section
next to my house on the south side. The ground is sandy in this place.
I've tried planting several things there.The first year, peas (which did
well unil late spring, and I was able to harvest) and carrots (which were
kind of woody tasting). What I really wanted was roses. It's a tiny space
(2'x8') and I could fit three roses there, with strawberries as a ground
cover. Well, the leaves didn't even bud on the first roses I planted. Almost
all of the strawberries dried up right away. I thought I wasn't watering
enough, (and planting too late in the season) so I tried it again this year.
I planted much earlier. I watered more. One of the bareroot roses put forth
leaves. The strawberries looked like they were going to do well. I left for
the weekend, thinking they'd be all right. Three days later I returned to
find only a few strawberries left (of the ~50 I planted) and the leaves on
the rose shriveled up and crunchy.
I'm thinking my problem is two-fold. The sandy soil doesn't lock in any
moisture. The house reflects the heat from the sun.
Only two things seem to grow well here- prickly lettuce and purslane. The
previous owners had it filled with lava rock.
This is my new idea. I could get some sagebrush (a very natural plant around
here) and use purslane as a ground cover. I'm also thinking of using prickly
pear cactus down further along the side of the house. I also have one lone
cotoneaster at the corner of the house that doesn't mind the dry.
I'm looking for any other suggestions. I also have a much bigger section I'd
like things to grow in along the house (where I'm thinking of using the