Southwestern Deserts

December, 2007
Regional Report

Transplant Wildflowers

Wildflowers often pop up in thick bunches. When soil is moist, gently dig up seedlings with a skinny trowel or a spoon and move them to bare spots.

Skip a Scheduled Irrigation

Most plants are dormant in winter and aren't using much water. Overly wet soil will promote root rot. If it rains sufficiently in your locale (cross your fingers), skip a scheduled irrigation.

Ask for Coffee Grounds

Frantic holiday shoppers are powered along by extra caffeine. Ask your local coffee house to save a bucket of grounds for you. Check if you need to supply the container and the best pick-up time. Coffee grounds are a source of nitrogen. They are small and moist, so they decay fairly quickly. Layer them as mulch around plants, add to the compost pile, or dig into garden beds. They smell good, too!

Monitor Weather Forecasts

If frost is predicted, cover tender plants such as citrus, hibiscus, natal plum, bougainvillea, and annual flowers and vegetables. Use old sheets, blankets, or frost cloth.

Plant Cool-Season Veggies

Continue to succession sow seeds of root crops, lettuces and other greens, and peas. If birds snapping up tender seedlings is a problem, try foiling them with floating row covers until the seedlings grow.

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