Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

April, 2005
Regional Report

Increase Watering

As temperatures warm, adjust automatic timers to increase frequency of irrigation. The length of time that the water runs should stay the same year-round (as long as the water is soaking deep enough to moisten the root zone). Water should soak 1 foot deep for small plants, 2 feet for shrubs, and 3 feet for trees.

Spread Thick Layer of Mulch

Check all of your plants and garden beds to make sure there's a generous layer of organic mulch (compost, bark chips, pine needles) protecting the root zones. The optimum is 3 to 4 inches. Replenish as needed.

Allow Bulb Foliage to Die Back

Bulb foliage is storing nutrients in the bulbs for next year\'s growth, so you\'ll dampen next year\'s display if you cut the foliage too soon. Leave it alone until it turns brown, then cut it off.

Sow Veggies

Sow seeds for warm-season veggies, such as cucumbers, melons, okra, squash, snap beans and jicama, into garden soil that has been improved with plenty of compost or other organic matter. Keep soil consistently moist until seeds germinate. A light layer of mulch can help maintain moisture while inhibiting a top layer of crusty soil.

Harvest Citrus

Grapefruit, Valencia oranges, and lemons are getting ripe for the picking. Do a taste test to make sure they are to your liking before picking them all.


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