Southwestern Deserts

November, 2007
Regional Report

Clean Up Mildewed Plants

Rake up any debris around perennials that had powdery mildew, such as roses, and pull up any affected annuals. Dispose of them in the trash unless you know your compost pile is hot enough (140 to 160 degrees F for several days in a row) to kill disease organisms.

Buy Tomato Seeds

Browse catalogs and online sites now. It's easy to forget during the busy holidays and then you won't have seeds on hand at the optimum sowing time. Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before transplanting outside from mid-February to mid-March in the low desert. In higher elevations wait until the last chance of frost.

Monitor Water Needs

The unseasonably hot fall weather we're experiencing is playing havoc with watering schedules. It should be okay to reduce frequency on automatic timers, but watch new transplants for signs of stress, such as yellowing and wilting.

Transplant Aloe Pups

Aloes can make huge clumps in just a few years. Their offspring are attached to the parent by a fleshy underground runner just below the soil surface that can be easily cut. Dry them out of direct sun for a couple days before transplanting to allow the cuts to callus.

Water Bulbs in Containers

Don't forget bulbs left in containers from the previous season; many are starting to sprout. Water deeply and gently scratch a slow-release fertilizer into the soil surface. A layer of coffee grounds on top of the soil is another option for adding nitrogen.

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