Southwestern Deserts

April, 2012
Regional Report

Get Out and About to Enjoy Spring

Go for a walk on your lunch break, head out for hike in nature on the weekend, or walk around a neighborhood different from your own. Soak up the beautiful spring weather and blooms because the heat of summer is just around the corner! Look for unusual plants, garden ornamentation, or plant combinations that might work well in your yard.

Pay Kids to Pull Weeds

I met a woman who was lamenting the weeds popping up in her yard. I suggested she pay her kids a nickel for each weed they pulled. She said they'd never work that cheap. I saw her a week later. Kids had enthusiastically pulled weeds. Their going rate was 10 cents for regular sized weeds, twenty-five cents for the big ones!

Plant Citrus Trees

In small yards, choose a dwarf or semi-dwarf tree. Another option is a cocktail tree, which has several varieties grafted to one rootstock. Do not prune up lower branches. Leave them to offer shade to the trunk bark, which is highly susceptible to sunburn.

Rotate Crops

As you transfer from cool-season to warm-season gardens, remember to rotate planting positions from year to year. This is a good gardening practice because annual veggies and flowers in the same plant family are susceptible to specific pests and diseases that may live in the soil or plant litter.

Trellis Vining Crops

In limited space, grow cucumbers, gourds, squash, and melons up on trellises or wire supports on walls. In addition to saving space, fruits stay off moist soil so are less susceptible to rot or insects. The catch is to be sure their support is extremely sturdy so the weight of the mature vines and fruit does not tip it over.

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