Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

July, 2001
Regional Report

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.

Clean Garden Beds

When warm-season annuals start to die off in high-desert gardens, pull, chop, or break them into small pieces, and toss them into the compost pile. The smaller the pieces, the faster they will decompose. Begin layering compost, manure, or other organic matter on beds to increase soil fertility for spring planting.

Save Flower Seeds

Choose your favorite flowers and allow a few non-hybrid plants to go to seed. As seeds begin to turn brown and fall off, hold a paper bag underneath and tap dry seeds into it. You can also tie paper bags over the flower heads to catch falling seeds. Don\'t save seed from hybrid plants, because when planted it will not mature identical to the parent plant.

Summer Care for Roses

Roses like consistent soil moisture. Irrigate slowly to a depth of two feet so that water reaches the entire root zone. Spray dusty leaves with water to control spider mites. Feed roses with a slow-release fertilizer at half strength up until six weeks or so before first frost. Low-desert gardeners may prefer not to feed during the summer heat.

Plant Palms

Palm root systems thrive when planted in the summer\'s heat. 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.


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