Southwestern Deserts

January, 2006
Regional Report

Outfox Jack Frost

Temperatures have been up and down this winter. Be prepared to cover frost-tender tropicals and subtropicals if severe cold is predicted. Use special frost cloth available at nurseries or burlap or old sheets. Do not use plastic. If possible, erect a temporary frame with stakes to drape the material over, rather than resting it on the foliage.

Harvest Citrus

Taste-test your fruit to decide if it is sweet enough to harvest. Rind color is not a reliable indicator. Some varieties of navel, Arizona sweet, and blood oranges are ready for harvest, as well as mandarins, tangelos, grapefruit, pumelos, lemons, limes, and kumquats.

Maintain Houseplants

Turn plants 1/4 turn each week to prevent foliage from stretching towards the light. Wipe off leaves with a soft, damp cloth to remove dust. Increase humidity by setting the pots on pebbles in a saucer of water. The pebbles raise the pot up enough to prevent excess water absorption. Fertilize at half strength as many houseplants are not actively growing in winter.

Fertilize Citrus Trees

Divide your citrus tree's total annual nitrogen requirements into three equal feedings. Apply one third in January or February. Apply the remainder in April/May and August/September. The amount to apply depends upon the age and size of the tree. Use a citrus fertilizer and follow package instructions. Water thoroughly after applying fertilizer to prevent root burn.

Sow Cool-Season Vegetables

Continue to sow vegetables such as beets, bok choy, carrots, chard, all types of salad greens, leeks, green onions, peas, radishes, rutabagas, and turnips. Transplant potato slips.

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