Southwestern Deserts

July, 2006
Regional Report

Plant Gourds

There's still time to sow seeds for gourds. Seeds germinate quickly, and the vines grow by leaps and bounds in warm weather. Soil doesn't have to be super-rich, but the plants do require consistent soil moisture.

Hose off Cochineal Scale

Prickly pear cacti are susceptible to cochineal scale, a miniscule insect that exudes a white, cottony looking substance as protection. It spreads across the cacti pads, although usually at a slow rate. The best solution is to spray it off from time to time with a forceful blast of water from the hose.

Watch for Black Widows

Warm nighttime temperatures bring out black widow spiders. Females are glossy black and have a red to bright orange marking shaped like an hourglass on the belly. Males have the marking as well, but are smaller and tan in color. They can also be identified by their webs, which are messy affairs in comparison to other species. Both male and female are venomous. They will generally avoid contact with humans, but will bite to defend themselves.

Peruse Gardening Info

It's hot outside! Enjoy a glass of lemonade indoors while looking for ideas in the stacks of catalogs and clippings that gardeners invariably accumulate. Plan the first project you want to tackle when the weather cools!

Provide Water for Wildlife

If you have standing water sources, such as birdbaths, in your landscape, make sure to clean and disinfect them regularly. Scrube them with a ten percent bleach solution (9 parts water, 1 part bleach) and then let them dry in the sun before adding fresh water. If you are going on vacation, pay a neighbor kid to keep the water going. It's important to keep the sources clean to prevent the spread of disease. If creatures are used to obtaining a drink in your yard, it's cruel to stop it.

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