Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

August, 2009
Regional Report

Sow Okra

Heat-loving okra germinates readily in warm soils and grows quickly. The attractive plants will continue to produce pretty flowers and pods until frost as long as you pick them every other day or so. Young pods are more tender and tasty than older pods, which get woody if left too long.

Sow Summer Squash

Pattypan, crookneck, and zucchini will still germinate easily in warm soil and produce a crop in the low desert or mid desert, depending on your first frost dates. Most varieties will mature in 48 to 52 days. Sow seeds in a rich organic soil and keep it consistently moist until germination. After seedlings sprout, apply mulch.

Wash Bird Baths

Change the water daily iin the midst of summer heat for bird baths and other water sources for wildlife. Scrub the containers with a brush to prevent the build-up of bacteria and mineral deposits. If you can provide movement to the water, even a slow drip, the water will remain fresh longer.

Plant Palms

Palm root systems thrive when planted in the summer's heat and there's still time to transplant them. Determine how much space you have vertically and horizontally for the palm to spread. Choose a variety whose mature size will fit that space, as constant pruning and cutting back is unsightly and detrimental to the plant's long-term health. Keep root systems consistently moist until temperatures cool.

Water Citrus Trees Deeply

Citrus fruit development is highly dependent on regular soil moisture, especially during the heat of summer. Water deeply through the entire root system to a depth of 2 feet for young trees and 3 feet for mature trees. In summer, water trees that have been planted for 1 year every 5-7 days; trees that have been in the ground 1-2 years should be watered every 7-10 days; and older trees every 10-14 days.


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