Southwestern Deserts

March, 2008
Regional Report

Adjust Irrigation Timers

As temperatures rise, increase the frequency of watering as needed. The irrigation system should run the same length of time to ensure the entire root zone is moistened, just run it more often.

Transplant Tomatoes

If you have not already done so, get your tomatoes into the ground ASAP at the low elevations. Mulch to maintain soil moisture and reduce soil temperature. Keep mulch a couple inches away from the stem.

Leave Cool-Season Veggies

Continue to harvest peas and they will keep producing awhile longer. When broccoli, lettuce, and other greens finish their life cycles, let them flower rather than pulling out the plants. Not only are the flowers pretty and edible (toss them in a salad), they attract pollinators, who will also be available to pollinate your warm-season tomatoes and peppers.

Plant Colorful Flowers and Foliage

Consider coreopsis, yarrow, butterfly weed (asclepias), lavender, catmint, and gaillardia. For bulbs, try bearded iris, gayfeather (liatris), and glads. For sun-loving foliage plants, consider herbs such as artemisia and sage, which have interesting colors and textures. Some annuals that take sun include sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, gaillardia, geraniums, pentas, petunias, salvias, angelonia, vinca, tithonia, black-eyed Susans, portulaca, celosia, globe amaranth, verbena, four o'clocks, and lisianthus.

Trim Cat's Claw Vine

Old, dead growth builds up beneath the fresh growth of cat's claw vine and can become thick and unsightly. Spring is a good time to trim back as the vine will rejuvenate quickly in warm weather. Water deeply after pruning.

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