Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

September, 2007
Regional Report

Sow Sweet Peas

Sow seeds in garden beds richly amended with compost, nitrogen, and phosphorous. Sweet peas like full sun but if you have an eastern exposure that will give them protection from hot afternoon sun in late spring, the flowering tends to last longer. Provide a sturdy trellis for the tendrils to climb.

Watch for Iron Chlorosis

Non-native plants may show signs of iron chlorosis towards the end of summer. It appears as yellow leaves with distinct green veins. Iron is available in desert soil, but non-native plants have difficulty absorbing it because of the soil's high alkalinity. The condition is often worsened by wet soil due to summer monsoons and excessive irrigation. The condition may correct itself if soil moisture is corrected. If not, apply a chelated iron source, which will be readily absorbed.

Plant Cool-Season Vegetables

Sow seeds for peas, root crops, all types of greens and cabbage family plants (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale). Cabbage family plants also transplant well. Choose a location that gets 8 hours of sun daily.

Revive Summer-Stressed Plants with Light Trimming

If you kept tomatoes over the summer, trim them back to rejuvenate. Geraniums that were brought indoors can be set back outside or cut back to propagate fresh plants from cuttings. Lightly trim roses, removing dead or damaged canes.

Watch for Butterflies

Various beauties are winging around the garden looking for their favorite host plants, such as passion vines and citrus, on which to lay eggs. Lantana flowers are crowded with butterflies seeking nectar.


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