Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

October, 2000
Regional Report

Sow Wildflower Seeds

Lightly rake an area that receives full sun. Mix tiny seeds with sand for more uniform distribution and then scatter the seeds over the area. Rake again to lightly cover them with soil. Water gently so as not to dislodge the seeds. Keep moist until seeds germinate by continuing to water every few days while seedlings establish themselves, unless winter rains provide enough water.

Plant Cool-Season Vegetables

Sow root crops, including beets, carrots, turnips, onions, and kohlrabi. Sow a variety of loose-leaf greens that can be "cut and come again" all winter. Try red oakleaf lettuce, arugula, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, and mesclun mixes. Sow seeds or transplants of the cabbage family, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.

Sow Cool-Season Annuals

It\'s time to sow or transplant cool-season flowers for color this winter. All of the following will grow well in full sun: baby\'s breath, bachelor\'s button, bells of Ireland, calendula, dianthus, geranium, hollyhock, Johnny-jump-up, larkspur, nasturtium, nemesia, pansy, poppy, and snapdragon. Mix them among the vegetable plants to encourage pollinators to visit and keep them well watered and fertilized this fall.

Plant Herbs

Herbs are a great addition to the garden for scent, color, crafts, and culinary uses. Sow or transplant anise, artemesia, borage, salad burnet, caraway, catnip, German and Roman chamomile, chervil, chicory, chives, cilantro, comfrey, curry, dill, fennel, horehound, lemon balm, lemon grass, lemon verbena, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, santolina, and thyme. Tuck them into garden beds, containers, or among vegetables.

Fall Rose Care

Roses will start their second bloom period of the year now. Reduce watering frequency as temperatures cool but continue to water deeply to penetrate the entire root zone. Fertilize with a slow-release product. Help to control powdery mildew by collecting all plant debris and thinning around plants to create good air circulation.


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