Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

January, 2009
Regional Report

Plant Bare-Root Roses

Choose a spot that receives 6 to 8 hours of sun daily. Protection from hot afternoon sun is ideal. Dig a hole 18 to 30 inches deep and wide. Mix a fertilizer containing nitrogen and phosphorus in the bottom of the hole according to package instructions. Amend the backfill with half compost. Before planting, soak the bare-root rose in a bucket of water overnight to hydrate it. Plant so the bud union is 2 inches above the soil line.

Fertilize Container Plants

Container plants quickly use up available nutrients and roots can't move out into the surrounding soil to seek more. In addition, the more frequent watering required for containers washes away nutrients. Put your containers on a regular fertilizing program, depending on the product. Follow package instructions. Slow-release fertilizers are time-savers as they last two or three months, although they are generally more expensive.

Sow Tomatoes Indoors

Sow tomato seeds indoors to have them ready for transplanting out from mid-February to mid-March in the low desert. At higher elevations, count back 6 to 8 weeks from your area's last frost date to sow at the appropriate time.

Watch for Bulbs

Watch for green shoots of spring-blooming bulbs to poke through the soil. If needed, place markers to ensure they don't get stepped on. If rains are inadequate, irrigate slowly to a depth of about 12 inches, but don't let soil get too wet or bulbs may rot. Apply a layer of mulch to maintain soil moisture and to add nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.

Imagine Your Dream Landscape

Spring planting isn't far off. Think about potential changes you'd like to make in the landscape and stroll through public gardens for ideas. There are hundreds of low-water-use, colorful plants to choose from so break away from the same dozen or so that seem to be repeated over and over!


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