BOISE - Whether you're a veteran gardener or a beginner, growing a garden in the Treasure Valley can offer some challenges, and we can all use some helpful gardening advice from time to time.
I met with local gardening expert Margaret Lauterbach, who just released a new book offering tips and solutions for successful gardening in the arid high desert environment of southwest Idaho.
Step into Lauterbach's backyard and you'll find yourself in a garden that would rival any supermarket produce section. And for good reason - In addition to writing two books on the subject, she's also been writing a weekly gardening column in the Idaho Statesman for many years.
Her latest self-published book, "Treasure Valley Gardening," is hot off the presses, and shares her tips and insights from years of experience.
“This is the fastest growing area in the country, and so many new people coming in from, most probably from California, a lot of them are coming in from other parts of the country, and garden books are written for the rest of the country,” Lauterbach said.
So her new book is a hyper-local look at how to grow a successful garden in the Treasure Valley.
In her backyard garden, Lauterbach has 37 different varieties of tomatoes, and 15 types of kale and collards.
“Tronchuda is my new favorite," she said. “[It's] a gourmet collard from Portugal, and it really has kind of taken the garden world by storm the last few years.”
But her favorite vegetable to grow is peppers.
“Well, I cannot resist growing peppers,” Lauterbach said. “Because you plant them and then you forget them. At the end of the season you harvest.”
These days, Lauterbach uses a scooter to get around in her garden, but it hasn't slowed her down. Armed with her basket of tools, she knows every inch of her garden. And she knows exactly when it's the right time to pick.
Because of the volume produced by her garden, she can't eat it all, so she donates a lot to the Idaho Foodbank and shares with friends. For everyone else, she shares a lifetime of gardening knowledge and wisdom with the Treasure Valley in her books and column.
"Treasure Valley Gardening" is available at Edwards Greenhouse, North End Organic Nursery, and on Amazon.com. Her weekly gardening column is featured in Friday editions of the Idaho Statesman.