Southwestern Deserts

September, 2012
Regional Report

Spread Compost on the Garden

Layer 4 to 6 inches of compost or other organic matter on top of garden beds. It will decompose further and be ready for incorporating later, when temperatures cool and you are ready for fall planting.

Expand Watering Zones as Plants Grow

Roots spread horizontally through the soil past the dripline, or canopy edge, or trees and shrubs. If you continue to water near the trunk as the plant matures, there are no feeder roots to absorb it. Expand the watering well, move drip emitters outward, or drag the hose out further to keep pace with expanding canopies.

Order Bulbs for Fall Planting

Many bulbs sell out quickly, especially the more unusual types. Order from catalogs or check your favorite nurseries while selection is good. At nurseries, buy the larger bulbs, which have more stored energy and will be more likely to put on a good floral show.

Look for Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency appears as yellowing leaves with obvious green veins. It occurs when plant roots cannot absorb existing iron from the soil, either because the soil is too wet or the soil pH is too high (alkaline). Also called iron chlorosis, this condition sometimes appears at the end of summer if monsoons saturated the soil. This problem is more likely with non-native plants. Native plants have adapted to alkaline soil and rain patterns. Since wet soil can worsen the problem, ensure that you are watering plants efficiently. Check irrigation systems for leaks or errors in the automatic watering timer. If necessary, reduce watering frequency, especially if rain is adequate. The problem will often correct itself when irrigation problems are addressed and/or monsoons end. If chlorosis continues, supply iron in a chelated form, which roots can more easily absorb.

Start Vegetable Transplants

Sow seeds indoors for cabbage family plants such as bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale. Transplants will be ready in time for the cool-season garden.

Our Mission in Action

Shop Our Holiday Catalog