The Q&A Archives: Coast To Coast Gardening

Question: I am planning a move from New England to Palm Spring California. What types of flowers can I grow? What other types of gardening can I do?

Answer: Some of my favorite annuals are these wildflowers: Desert Bluebells, California Poppy, Firewheel, Tidy Tips, Five Spot, Lupine, Red Flax, and Mexican Hat.

If you want to attract birds, try Blackfoot Daisy, Prickly Poppy, Desert Sunflower, Arroyo Lupine, Birdcage Evening Primrose, Desert Verbena, Mexican Gold Poppy, Globe Mallow, and Butterfly Weed.

For cut flowers, try Desert Marigold, Scarlet Sage, Red Coneflower, Rocket Larkspur, Desert Globe Mallow, Aster, Purple Coneflower, Toad flax, Yarrow, Firewheel, and Arroyo Lupine.

You can also grow many vegetables in your climate as long as you plant at the appropriate time. Lettuce, for example, will fade quickly in the heat of late spring and summer. But if you plant in September, you can get a winter crop. The same holds true for chard, beets, leeks, endive, cabbage, spinach, radishes, green onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and fall peas. In January and February, you can plant beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, onions, parsley, and leaf lettuce. Even tomatoes, cantaloupes, cucumbers, squash, bell peppers, and eggplants can be planted in February if you cover them with protective row covers. In March, you can begin sowing seeds of corn and snap beans. Complete your sowing of all vegetables by May.

Several varieties of plums will produce fruit in the low desert. Santa Rosa is a good choice if you only want one tree. Some other varieties require two trees for cross-pollination. Figs are another possibility. Also, some peach tree varieties have a low chilling requirement and thus are adaptable to your climate.

While you'll find your new garden to be a totally different experience from those you enjoyed in New England, the growing season will be much longer, and I think you'll be able to grow a wider variety of flowers and veggies. Enjoy!

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