Southwestern Deserts

June, 2001
Regional Report

Harvest Citrus


Harvest any remaining grapefruit and Valencia oranges now, as this is the end of their season. Although citrus harvest is basically finished until winter, ponderosa lemons and Mexican limes (also called key limes) will keep producing and can be picked year round.

Protect Vegetables

Place a layer of clean straw underneath melon, cucumber, squash, and tomato fruits to keep them off the moist soil. This helps prevent rotting and subsequent pest damage. A board also works if you can\'t find straw or another dry mulch material.

Cover the Compost

With hot temperatures and drying winds, compost piles dry out rapidly in summer. To help keep the pile moist, cover it with a tarp or large sheet of plastic. Water is an essential ingredient for soil microorganisms as they decompose the materials. Take the covering off when summer rains are predicted.

Harvest Herbs

To keep herb plants from getting too woody and to promote bushiness, snip them back regularly. Deadhead any flower buds that appear, as herbs tend to lose flavor or become bitter when they go to flower. Dry some herbs for later use.

Check Irrigation Systems


Monitor your irrigation system to make sure it's turning on and off and that all emitters or sprinkler heads are functioning. A sudden loss of water can quickly stress or kill a plant in the summer heat, depending on its variety.

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