Southwestern Deserts

June, 2013
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Aloe vanbalenii
The stiff, barbed leaves of Aloe vanbalenii have a lime green color and develop reddish bronze edges in cold temperatures. In some cases, the entire plant turns color. Try it outdoors to enhance the color change, but keep in mind that it will suffer frost damage at about 30 degrees F. Bring it indoors or put it in a sheltered location if temperatures are predicted to drop. This aloe grows about 2 feet tall and wide.

Clever Gardening Technique

Waffle Beds
This traditional planting method helps young seedlings get off to a good start. Instead of planting on raised mounds, which can dry out and erode readily, sow seeds in indentations in the ground, similar to the multiple squares of a waffle. Make adjoining beds 1 or 2 feet square and 4 to 6 inches deep. The indented waffle shape shields seedlings from drying winds while moisture (traditionally monsoon rains) collects or can be directed into the basin shape. If your soil is loose enough, a plastic nursery flat pressed into the soil works well as a template for the waffle shape.

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