Southwestern Deserts

November, 2008
Regional Report

Maintain Moisture in Garden Soil

Keep soil moist to a depth of 2 to 3 inches until vegetable, flower, and herb seeds sprout. After germination, increase the depth of water penetration to keep up with the growing root zone. As seedlings mature, allow soil to barely dry out between waterings. When the top inch of two of soil is dry, apply water. Water deeply, and as infrequently as possible.

Save Carbon

Rake leaves to mix in your compost pile. Leaves are an excellent source of carbon or "brown" matter. If you can't use them all at once, leaves are easily stockpiled in plastic bags for later use. They don't even need to be bagged if you have an out-of-the-way corner or empty bin to hold them.

Continue Transplanting Natives

You can still transplant native and desert-adapted trees, shrubs, perennials, vines, and ground covers. Wait to transplant frost-tender tropicals, such as bougainvillea, citrus, hibiscus, and natal plum until spring.

Monitor Forecasts

Check in with the weather report and be prepared to protect frost-tender tropicals, annual flowers and vegetables, cacti native to warmer climates, and citrus trees.

Fertilize Vegetables

Apply a side-dressing of nitrogen if your garden is new or the soil is not very rich. Fish emulsion is a good organic source, although it can be a bit aromatic. Other organic nitrogen sources include blood meal, coffee grounds, alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal and guano. If using a chemical fertilizer, follow package instructions exactly and water immediately after application to help prevent burn.

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