Vine crops perfect for Las Vegas climate

There are not many things more mouthwatering as a fresh cantaloupe on a hot summer night. And they’re even tastier coming from your garden.

The Las Vegas Valley has one of the best climates to grow melons and other vine crops, as we call them. They are sun worshippers, something we have plenty of in our valley. Here are some tips on how to grow them. You have until the end of June to plant them.

I’m giving a seminar on melons and other vine vegetables at 1 p.m. every Saturday in April at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd.

To be successful, you must work lots of organic matter, bone meal and soil sulfur into your soil. If you have bad soil, grow them in raised beds or pots filled with enriched organic manufactured soil. Remember to periodically fertilize them to keep them producing.

Melons: Cantaloupes, muskmelons, watermelons, crenshaws, honeydews and casabas are included. You are in for a real treat if you’ve never grown your own. Grocery store melons never really have the taste you dream about. When they’re your own, you’ll harvest them at their peak.

Melon varieties are numerous, so search the vegetable seed racks or order them, because you still have time. Melons need lots of space, but we now have bush types to select from that will work for containers.

Pumpkins: These Halloween favorites need lots of space. If you have children, large varieties are fun to grow for jack-o’-lanterns. Your pumpkin pies will be sweeter and tastier.

To get big pumpkins, work lots of organic matter into the entire area where you plant them. The friable soil allows the vines to root down as they crawl along to make bigger pumpkins.

Cucumbers: Cukes are a must for salads and relish dishes, and the vines really beautify the garden. If limited on space, put them on a trellis or plant bush varieties. If you grow Armenian cucumbers, wait until it’s warmer to plant.

New cucumber varieties are now available, which produce more female flowers. Normal cucumbers produce about 15 male flowers to one female flower. This frustrated gardeners, so plant breeders evened the males and females out to get higher yields. Keep them well irrigated, because stress can make them bitter.

Squash: There are two kinds: summer and winter squash. Summer squash (crookneck, straight neck and zucchini) come in many varieties, and they’re prolific. The immature, shiny fruit is waxy to the touch and has soft edible rinds.

Winter squash (acorn, butternut, spaghetti, Hubbard and buttercup) are allowed to mature until skins harden and color develops. You can store these squashes for long periods. Depending on the variety, they take about 90 to 120 days to mature. They require lots of space, so plant them in your garden corners or along fences.

Squash blossoms are edible, raw or cooked and considered a delicacy. You batter and fry them in a little oil for that delicate taste sensation. Harvest only male blossoms, unless you want to reduce squash production.

Male blossoms are easily distinguished from the female blossoms. The stem of the male blossom is thin and trim. The stem of the female blossom is thick. At the base of the female flower below the petals you’ll find a small bulge, which is the developing squash.

Summer and winter squash can cross with one another. However, cross-pollination isn’t evident in the current crop, but may express it if you save seeds to sow next year. Squash does not cross with melons or cucumbers.

Vine crops are the camels of vegetables. They prefer deep irrigations and then go a long time before the next irrigation.


On Saturdays and Sundays throughout April, something is always happening at the Springs Preserve. At 11 a.m., learn about the friendly bugs to control the bad bugs. At 1 p.m., learn about melons and vine crops that will whet your palate on those summer nights. At 2 p.m., learn about cactuses with flowers beyond description. At 3 p.m., learn to schedule your irrigation system to make each drop of water count this summer.


If you wanted colorful plants during March, here are some that were in bloom at the preserve: autumn sage, brittle bush, bush morning glory, cassia, desert marigold, dog weed, guara, globe mallow, gopher plant, knife-leaf acacia, lavender, penstemons, rosemary, Texas mountain laurel, tufted evening primrose and Valentine plant.

Linn Mills writes a garden column each Sunday. You can reach him at or call him at 822-7754.

Barber sets up shop in grandfather’s old shop
Andres Dominguez’s new barber shop is filled with memories of his grandfather, who ran the El Cortez landmark for more than 30 years. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life and times of a 90-year-old horse player
Leo Polito of Las Vegas describes meeting legendary jockey and trainer Johnny Longden on the beach at Del Mar. Mike Brunker/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Learning the history of singing bowls
Presentation at Summerlin Library teaches residents about the history of singing bowls (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vicki Richardson speaks about on the power of art
Artist and arts advocate Vicki Richardson talks about the power of art to inspire and challenge. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DressCoders pairs tech with haute couture
DressCoders is a startup focused on haute couture garments. The company uses illuminated thread that is washable and can be sewn right into the fabric. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Brava infrared oven
In cooking with the Brava infrared oven,there’s no preheating. the bulbs can reach 500 degrees in less than a second. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sinks Merge Style And Utility
Study could determine cause of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases
Dr. Aaron Ritter, director of clinical trials at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, discusses his research on how inflammation in the brain impacts Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holocaust survivors talk about tragedy and friendship
Janos Strauss and Alexander Kuechel share their perspectives on life. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Siegel Cares' Santa delivers toys to kids at Siegel Suites in Las Vegas
Siegel Cares, the charitable wing of The Siegel Group, delivered toys to families at their apartment complexes in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Revisiting “Christ the King” sculpture
A longtime admirer of the sculpture at Christ the King Catholic Community in Las Vegas shares her perspective. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terry Fator Christmas House
Arguably better than a hotel holiday display, is Terry and Angie Fator's home located in southwest Las Vegas.
UNLV Winter Graduation Packs Thomas & Mack
UNLV's 55th winter commencement ceremony included approximately 2,146 undergraduate and graduate students who recently completed their studies. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Build-A-Bear comes to Reed Elementary School
Students participated in a Build-A-Bear-Workshop at Doris Reed Elementary School in Las Vegas, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the LVRJ
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center art depicts names of God
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center founder Sharaf Haseebullah talks about new diamond-shaped art panels featuring some of the 99 names of Allah at the main entrance the Las Vegas mosque. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday poultry with Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine
Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine explain the different types of poultry available for the holidays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Catholic Charities hosts early Christmas meal
Students from the Bishop Gorman High School football and cheerleader team helped to serve food at the Christmas meal sponsored by the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada on Sunday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like