Southwest Gardening forum: Southwest Monsoon Season 2017

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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Jul 25, 2017 1:04 PM CST
I heard early in July that it is now officially monsoon season thanks to the dew point in Phoenix rising above 45F for three days in a row. Not that there could be any doubt of it here. I have actually had dew on my plants a few times already. And water is running in the gulch, so I'm more nervous about my plants dying of wet feet than of drought right now.

Most of these were taken after it started raining in early July...

Daylily (Possibly Mary Todd)
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Daylily (Possibly Wedding Band)
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Daylily (Can't Remember Ordering This One...)
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Rose Larissa
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Swallowtail Butterfly on Daylily (Sorry, Can't Remember)
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Rose Rainbow Sorbet
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Since the monsoons started, daylily Rocket City has been cranking out blooms non-stop, and there is hardly a time when swallowtail butterflies cannot be seen drifting through the garden as the fly along the arroyo.

So. What's happening in your garden?
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Linda
Tucson, Arizona
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Morning Glories Region: United States of America Amaryllis Hummingbirder
Region: Southwest Gardening Echinacea Roses Birds Seed Starter Plumerias
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quietyard
Aug 5, 2017 7:22 PM CST
Hi Steve

Your flowers look wonderful. Big Grin I have had a few daylilies reblooming. The Chicago Apache, Christmas wishes and a couple Whooperee which I grew from seed sent to me a few years ago.

What I am seeing that is unusual this year and Tucson had the wettest July on record is the increase in Fig/June bugs. They have taken over my Fig tree. I have never seen masses of these things like this in my life. Usually you see a couple. It is like combat when I go out to water as they bounce off of me. Had one fly almost in my ear as well. Used to be scared to death of those things, now not so much, since they have taken over the yard. Whistling Hilarious!
" And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden" Genesis 2:8
Name: Linda
Tucson, Arizona
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Morning Glories Region: United States of America Amaryllis Hummingbirder
Region: Southwest Gardening Echinacea Roses Birds Seed Starter Plumerias
Image
quietyard
Aug 5, 2017 7:30 PM CST
Here is a photo taken a couple weeks ago of the Fig beetles on one piece of fruit. There are lots of groups like this all over that tree.
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" And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden" Genesis 2:8
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Aug 6, 2017 7:53 AM CST
Hi Linda,
Your fig plants have June bugs. And figs. Mine have neither. I'm beginning to think that I'm not fertilizing them correctly.

I'm not so fond of June bugs, either, but this year, at least, they are not a plague here. Interestingly, aside from some pressure from aphids and thrips in May/June, the ecology of the garden seems to be in pretty good balance, although I would be happy with a lower mosquito presence. That said, there is an almost continual butterfly presence.

A neighbor told me early in the fourth week of July that they had measured six inches of rain by then that month. And we've had probably an inch or two of rain since then. I don't think we ever got this much rain in July in my thirteen years in NJ. So our rain levels here have been quite high, too. The gulch is running with water as it normally is only in December. Fortunately there has been a brief break in the rains and I am doing some needed weeding, fertilizing and planting.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Gina
(Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
Image
GinaY86441
Aug 6, 2017 3:34 PM CST
We are in Northern AZ at about 3500' elevation. We've experience 2 major storms this past couple of weeks. Downpour, dumping incredible amounts of water and causing road damage. Luckily, the storms only lasted a couple hours. Although, Lightning struck my neighbors property and fried his electronics: TV, DVR, ham radio, etc.!

We have been here 4 years now and desert weather is extreme weather. Doesn't matter if it's wind, rain, heat, or cold... The desert gets the extreme brunt of each season. At least, it sure seems that way to me.

But, on a happy note, our vegetable garden bed is thriving! I'm only 3 years into gardening of any kind, so it's still pretty exciting to me to watch the plant cycle.


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Name: Linda
Tucson, Arizona
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Morning Glories Region: United States of America Amaryllis Hummingbirder
Region: Southwest Gardening Echinacea Roses Birds Seed Starter Plumerias
Image
quietyard
Aug 6, 2017 3:39 PM CST
Really impressed with your harvest, Gina. Those carrots are incredible! Thumbs up

I agree the weather seems to come in extremes in Arizona. We have had over 6 inches of rain at our house this month!
" And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden" Genesis 2:8
[Last edited by quietyard - Aug 6, 2017 4:29 PM (+)]
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Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
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plantmanager
Aug 6, 2017 3:51 PM CST
Gorgeous harvest, Gina! You really have it all figured out on how to protect your plants and increase your harvest.

We've seen less June bugs this year. We get the tan ones and the iridescent blue/green ones.

We have had more rain in Scottsdale than any other summer. AZ weather is definitely always an extreme. We can be dry for so long, and then the rains come and everything floods. Occasionally we've had to use sand bags to keep our place from flooding. The storms drains clog up and then the water backs up in the street and comes down our sidewalk and driveway.

We are having a NM monsoon, but it's not as strong as normal. We are getting a bit of light rain, but only every 4 or 5 days instead of pouring rain almost daily like we had in previous years.
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Name: Gina
(Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
Image
GinaY86441
Aug 6, 2017 6:07 PM CST
Well, hi there, Linda!

Yeah, the root veggies do really well here and I take advantage of it. I keep carrots year round in the bed, although I do rotate the area. Beets, parsnips, turnips, radish, onion... They all do very well. We seem to have figured out what it is we eat and use regularly, so my experiements of intriguing, fanciful veggies has fallen to the wayside. Besides, they don't do well anyway or bring in destructive pests

I really pack them in, too. The butternut squash is growing outside the barrier fence line - Crazy! The garden could use some help as my celery has gone to seed and the cabbage is just taking up water, but it's difficult for me to tend to it during the summer months. I'll pay for it later, though!

Wow, 6 inches in one month! Golly, that's a lot of water. I'm not sure how much we've received, but it's always a big show! I heard monsoon season is July 15 thru August 31 each year, so we may still have more coming.

Glad to see all is well with you, Linda. Stay dry! Smiling





Name: Gina
(Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
Image
GinaY86441
Aug 6, 2017 6:19 PM CST
Thank you, Karen!

Yes, my hubby has a knack when it comes to making things as easy as possible! That shade cover on the main bed is on guide wires, so they get pulled overhead during the summer and retracted for the remaining year. Our garden would be in big trouble without it.

Unfortunately, it gets so hot for us during the summer that we don't do much than water and harvest. I just can't stay out in triple digit weather long enough to get the job done, plus, I consider summer my vacation time. September/October changing of the guard is bittersweet as it means a huge clean-up before I can re-seed. Usually, I'll clean as the week's need it. But, our chickens don't mind the extra salad smorgasbord!

I have no idea what a June bug looks like. I'll have to do a little research online. My husband has noticed a new type of month just recently... Tan with stripes almost. It likes to buzz around the Russian sage now that it's in bloom.

As far as the storms, they always seem to bring damage out here. We had a river running through our property our first summer. Again, my hubby to the rescue and hired a tractor guy to create a French drain around the property and into a normal wash. I'd imagine water drainage would be one of the most important points I'd make to someone considering land in the SW.

Thanks again, Karen. Stay dry... Autumn will be upon us soon!

Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Aug 6, 2017 8:08 PM CST
I had to look up where you are, Gina. I had thought maybe it was more toward Prescott, but I see it's over near Mead and the River. No wonder you have such heat! It is great to have hubbies who are super at DIY stuff. Mine is busy all the time building and making new things. He welds and does all sorts of metal and wood work as well as fixes nearly everything that breaks.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Gina
(Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
Image
GinaY86441
Aug 7, 2017 7:52 AM CST
Hi Karen,

Yep, that's were we are. Almost smack dab in between Boulder City, NV and Kingman, AZ. These rains brought in cooler temps (mid 90s) but increased humidity. The early morning hours have been very pleasant.

From your icons, it looks like you're an painter. And with a hubby who does welding and wood, I can't help but wonder if you're both artists. Does he do lawn sculptures by chance? I dabble in arylics, myself. No professional classes under my belt, just a hobby. But I am considering doing some type of abstract art sculpture this coming Winter. Equipped with a drill and some regard, I was thinking of some rock towers, or such.

Anyways, enjoy your day!

Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Aug 7, 2017 8:01 AM CST
I'm totally impressed, Gina. Congratulations! Hurray! Growing produce is a lot harder than one might think.

I have had some success with tomatoes in large containers, but I'm still learning about how to keep the potting soil working from one season to another. I'm discovering how much tomatoes enjoy coffee grounds, for example. And how much supplemental water they need. One season I grew blue corn. Another I grew a pumpkin or two. I had some kale that almost reached maturity before being eaten from the bottom by gophers and then being eaten from the top by deer.

I had success one year with arugula. The next year it was everywhere. The third it disappeared altogether. I have two artichoke plants in their first season, a couple of apple trees just getting ready to produce a few apples this fall, and five grape plants three years old. I've never had a carrot seed sprout. Or a transplanted cabbage survive the pressure of nibbling furry creatures for a full week.

I think maybe your flying visitor is a hawk moth. They can hover like hummingbirds and they feast on flower nectar.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Gina
(Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
Image
GinaY86441
Aug 7, 2017 9:26 AM CST
Hey Thanks, Steve!

I'm impressed with your lilies! One of the primary reasons for our hoop house is to grow fresh flowers for the house. It's the one thing about desert living that I miss the most: flowers!

The main bed is a gem. We had soil delivered, so this is not amended natural soil. I'm sure that has everything to do with our harvests. Although, I'll give us credit, Phil is dedicated to a routine watering schedule, and I'm inside gal: seed, weed, thin, harvest, etc. It's an organic bed with no chemicals used. We use chicken and rabbit waste as fertilizer each season and turn the old leaves into the soil to decompose. I used to toss it into my chicken run, but realized my soil needed it more than the girls. So, now I turn it under. It has a welded wire bottom (for moles) and lined sides. The shade cover is a bit low to get under when inside the bed, but since it's only a summer thing, we deal with it. It has chicken wire sides and keeps out the cottontail and jack rabbits, however, the birds,lizards, and chipmunks can still cause us some havoc. But for the most part, it provides us with tremendous bounty throughout the year which says a lot since our nearest grocery is quite a drive away. I freeze or can what we don't eat fresh.

So, back to your Lillies!! I've never grown Lillies. Can you give me a quick step by step overview. My thought was to purchase bulbs soon, pot with standard potting soil and let them over winter in the hoop house so they can get their needed chill hours. Do I water them throughout this time?

Yes, a hawk moth!! That's them! They behave just like a hummingbird. Hurray!
Name: Gina
(Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
Image
GinaY86441
Aug 7, 2017 9:44 AM CST
Steve, next time you try cabbage try direct seed. I hear transplanting cabbage is not the best. Carrots take a long time and thinning is essential, otherwise they tangle up together. I learned that one the hard way.

I'm still having trouble with my tomatoes. I haven't had any luck other than the cherry tomatoes and even then just so-so. I do have three plants in the hoop house as a trial run this year. One of each: determinate, indeterminate, and a cherry. I think my season is off as they don't fruit in high heat. I'm learning something along the lines of planting in November for an early April/May harvest. All I know is when I figure it out, my pantry will be filled! But mostly disappointment until then.

I did put them in the main bed the first year, but the worms destroyed them, the pepper plants, and tomatillos (which only gave empty papers). So, hubby says never again! I agree, never again in the main bed.

We use the bed for an array of veggies throughout the year: green peas, beans, onion, carrot, radish, beets, parsnip turnip, head cabbage, head and leaf lettuce, celery, cucumber, squash, pumpkin, kale, and various melons. Corn did really well, too, but again silk worms and space has determined not to be in the main bed anymore. We had success with Brocoli and cauliflower, but they are space hogs, so I do brocolli rabe now.

Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Aug 7, 2017 10:24 AM CST
No, painting is about the only thing I can't do. I do almost all other crafts. I am planning some lawn sculptures made of driftwood with inset stained glass pieces. There are a lot of them on Pinterest that I plan to sort of copy, but only for my own use.

I am hoping to have a good veggie garden next Spring and summer if we can get our area fenced in and protected enough for things to survive. Our deer, rabbits, javelinas, moles, voles and gophers have made it impossible in the past. I've been drooling over all the nice veggie photos!
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Gina
(Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
Image
GinaY86441
Aug 7, 2017 12:09 PM CST
I love the driftwood idea, Karen! How beautiful with stain glass inserts. I'm sure it will turn out lovely. I use Pintrest for my inspiration as well. I found a rock hoop sculpture that I'm bound and determined to copy.

Start small on the garden area, Karen. You can always increase the size as you go along. Bring in good soil and go above ground in a raised bed if your soil is crappy like mine, it's well worth the effort, plus any fencing has something to fix to as opposed to digging it underground to keep the rabbits. Just my two cents worth.

You can do it! Smiling
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Aug 7, 2017 12:14 PM CST
Thanks, Gina.We tried to bring in good soil when we had to fill my greenhouse raised beds. It turned out to ber very sandy granite, and not much else. We had to buy many bags of amendments to add to it and mixed many wheelbarrow loads of it all. It took forever to do, and we still have a lot of the sandy stuff left. It was worthless by itself, but we didn't see it beforehand. I recommend seeing what they'll bring before you buy it. Arizona and New Mexico do not have naturally good soils anywhere that I know of.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Gina
(Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
Image
GinaY86441
Aug 7, 2017 12:52 PM CST
That's terrible, Karen. Good grief...
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Aug 7, 2017 12:54 PM CST
It is terrible, and I'm so jealous of people who can buy wonderful soils! I can use the sandy stuff to make cactus mixes, but that pile is going to last longer than my lifetime!
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Gina
(Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
Image
GinaY86441
Aug 7, 2017 1:20 PM CST
Yikes! Well, just knowing about cactus soul mix tells me you know much more about desert living than I do! Thumbs up

I keep telling hubs that we need more trees on our property. Not only for the shade and canopy, but for the micro-climates they provide. I have three crepe Mrytles that are not quite a year old and still in containers, but even they are the semi-dwarf. I need to put in some big trees such a few more poplar (we have one) or such. We have Mondell pines, but hubs says we have enough pines. I have Oleander that seems happy enough, but I'm hoping for some strong specimens.

Do you recommend any particular tree for someone like me that will thrive in Zone 9a, Karen?

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