Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

May, 2005
Regional Report

Transplant Heat-Loving Annuals

Summer flowers include globe amaranth, lisianthus, portulaca, salvia, and vinca. Keep soil consistently moist until root systems establish. Layer several inches of organic mulch on top of the soil to maintain moisture and reduce soil temperatures.

Plant Vegetables

Sow seeds of warm-season veggies that love the heat, including Armenian cucumbers, black-eyed peas, cantaloupe, and okra. Transplant Jerusalem artichokes and sweet potatoes.

Monitor Water Needs

We're heading into the hottest and driest month of the year. Monitor plants for signs of water stress, including yellowing, wilting, drying, and wrinkling. Water should soak 1 foot deep for annuals, perennials, cacti, and succulents; 2 feet deep for shrubs; and 3 feet deep for trees. Reprogram automatic timers to insure that water is soaking deep enough through the root zone. Use a soil probe to determine how far water penetrates. It will move easily through moist soil and stop at dry, hard soil.

Protect Plants from Drying Winds and Hot Sun

Drying winds can dessicate a plant just as quickly as the hot sun. Erect temporary windbreaks and/or shade cloth around new transplants to help them establish. Provide shade cloth for tomato plants to keep them producing longer.

Harvest Onions and Garlic

As tops begin to brown, harvest the bulbs. Brush off excess soil and store in a cool, dark place.


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