Southwestern Deserts

January, 2008
Regional Report

Sow Cool-Season Vegetables

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

Harvest Citrus

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

Monitor Jack Frost

Temperatures have been up and down this winter. Be prepared to cover frost-tender plants such as lantana, citrus, hibiscus, natal plum, and annuals. 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 support the cover so it doesn't rest on the foliage.

Spruce Up Houseplants

Turn plants one-quarter turn each week to prevent stems from appearing to stretch towards the light and becoming leggy. Wipe off leaves with a soft, damp cloth to remove dust. Increase humidity by setting the pots on pebbles in a saucer of water. Fertilize at half strength as many houseplants are not actively growing in winter. For the same reason, be careful not to overwater, as roots will rot in overly wet soil.

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.

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