Southwestern Deserts

January, 2012
Regional Report

Thin Wildflowers

As seedlings emerge, thin as needed to prevent overcrowding. Crowded flowers compete for water, nutrients, and sun, which causes them to become leggy. Dig them gently and transplant elsewhere to fill gaps. Alternatively, snip them off at the base with scissors rather than yanking them out, which may disturb nearby roots of other seedlings.

Plan for Rainwater Harvesting

Watch where winter rain naturally flows off rooftops and collects on your property to incorporate those areas into your overall rainwater-harvesting plan. As drought conditions continue, water rates increase, and water sources are depleted faster than they can replenish, it makes sense to keep some of the high-quality rainwater that hits our property on our property. Other benefits of rainwater harvesting include reduced erosion, reduced non-point source pollution entering waterways, and reduced expenditures on storm water infrastructure.

Fertilize Annual Flowers and Vegetables as Needed

If you see yellowing on older leaves at the base of the plant or stem, it may indicate a lack of nitrogen. Annuals are heavy feeders because they must complete their entire life cycle in one season. Apply a nitrogen fertilizer according to package instructions. Over time, you can enhance your soil fertility by incorporating 4 to 6 inches of compost with each planting season.

Harvest Peas Regularly

When pea pods are plump and ready to eat, pick them immediately. If left hanging on the vine, future blossoming is inhibited because the plant thinks it is time to go to seed.

Sharpen Pruning Tools

Dull blades tear and rip plant tissue, which is both unsightly and more difficult to for the plant to heal. Also, sharp blades are easier on your hands and wrists! Pruning season is at hand, so be prepared.

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