Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

October, 2011
Regional Report

Propagate Tomato Plants by Layering

If you carried tomato plants through the summer, try the layering method to start fresh plants. Bury a section of a long stem with garden soil, allowing the tip of the stem to remain above ground. Tomatoes are capable of rooting along their entire stem. Within two weeks or so, there should be a new rooted vine and if the mother plant is worn out from the summer's heat, it can be removed.

Avoid Hitchhiking Insects

Before purchasing plants for fall planting, examine the undersides of foliage for common pests such as mites and whiteflies. Avoid leaves that are tattered (sign of chewing insects) or have yellow pinpricks called stippling (sign of sucking insects).

Fertilize Citrus

If you have not already done so, feed citrus immediately with the third and final application of nitrogen for the year. Don't delay. Fertilizing later in the year promotes a flush of tender new growth that is susceptible to frost damage.

Succession Sow

Every two to three weeks, sow a small amount of your favorite cool-season veggies such as root crops, salad greens, peas, and cabbage family members (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower). Called succession sowing, this method provides you with an ongoing harvest of tender veggies through fall, winter, and early spring.

Use Grass Clippings

When mowing the lawn, allow clippings to remain on the grass. Their small size and high moisture content will help them decompose quickly, returning their nitrogen content to the lawn, and reducing the need for fertilizer by 25 percent.


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