Southwestern Deserts

January, 2007
Regional Report

Stockpile Leaves

Deciduous or semievergreen trees drop leaves in cold weather. Rake your own, offer to take your neighbor's, or ask landscape maintenance crews. Since crews often have to transport leaves to landfills and pay a tipping fee, they will be delighted to deposit them in your yard. (Ask that no other trimmings be added.) Stockpile the leaves in compost bins or heavy-duty garbage bags until you are ready to use them.

Nourish Garden Soil for Spring Planting

Cool days are great for digging. Layer 4 to 6 inches of compost, well-aged manure, or dried leaves on top of the soil and then dig it all in to a depth of 12 to 18 inches. It will begin to decompose, adding nutrients to the soil for warm-season planting.

Monitor Bulb Beds

Make sure soil stays somewhat moist, but not wet, so the plant isn't stressed for water as it puts forth foliage and flower stalks. Watch for critters who eat the succulent green shoots. If necessary, put fencing or protection over the sprouts until they get big enough to withstand a little nibbling.

Harvest Salad Greens

Lettuce, spinach, chard, tatsoi, kale, collards, and mustard greens are all in their prime. Harvest regularly to enjoy young tender leaves. If you have more than you can eat, fix a salad basket for a friend or neighbor.

Check Irrigation

Check each emitter to make sure it's functioning and not clogged. Check the positioning of lawn sprinklers to ensure water is not running onto sidewalks or streets. Narrow patches of lawn on sidewalk medians are difficult to water efficiently. Consider installing ground covers instead.

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