Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

March, 2010
Regional Report

Use Herbs

Many culinary and craft herbs can be harvested and dried for later use including oregano, mint, thyme, rosemary, lavender and sage. Transplant basil. Allow cool-season herbs with umbrella-shaped flowers, such as dill, cilantro, parsley and fennel, to bloom and go to seed. Beneficial pollinators are attracted to these flowers and they will visit your garden and helpfully pollinate your fruits and vegetables along the way.

Make Plant Lists

Spring plant sales at regional botanical gardens are coming up soon. Start researching what plants could fill those empty spots in your landscape, considering the sun exposure and space available.

Pull Winter Weeds

Recent rains have sprouted a profusion of winter weeds, including ubiquitous mustard. Pull them as soon as possible and toss in the compost pile as a good source of nitrogen. Don't let them flower and go to seed because zillions of seeds will lie in wait in the soil, ready to sprout again year after year.

Prolong Cool-Season Vegetable Harvest

Continue to harvest peas and they will keep producing awhile longer. When broccoli, argula, lettuce, and other greens finish their life cycles, let them flower rather than pulling out the plants. Not only are the flowers pretty and edible (toss them in a salad), they attract pollinators, who will then be available to pollinate your warm-season tomatoes and peppers.

Maintain Wildflowers

Wildflowers are blooming now. If rains have been minimal, you may need to water your wildflowers to keep them flowering for a longer time. Water if they show signs of stress, such as wilt or yellowing leaves. Don't overwater! Remember they are used to our arid conditions. Allow water to soak to a depth of 12 inches. Let dry out completely between waterings. Let flowers dry out and go to seed to self-sow for next year and to provide food for birds.


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