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For The Garden

November 2012 Gardening Checklist for Arizona’s Mid and High Elevations

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: November, 2012, Page 141


(Mid Elevations)
Wildflowers—If you did not do so last month, sow seeds to germinate with winter rains.

Spring-blooming bulbs—Plant spring-blooming “true” bulbs and other bulb-like plants, including corms, tubers and tuberous roots, four to six weeks before your area’s first frost date. Incorporate plentiful compost or other organic matter into the soil for good drainage, as bulbs rot in wet soil. Phosphorus encourages blooming but does not move readily through the soil if applied at the surface. Thus, mix it into the bottom of the planting hole where it can be accessed by roots. Organic phosphorus sources include bonemeal or rock phosphate. Chemical (inorganic) fertilizers with high levels of phosphorus have a higher middle number, such as triple super phosphate (0-45-0).

(Mid Elevations) 
Harvest herbs—Cut back stems and dry for later use.

Protect vegetable gardens—Cover plants with floating row cover or cold frames to extend the growing season.

(High Elevations)
Prepare for winter—Drain water from hoses to prevent cracking before storing them. Mow lawns for the last time, and drain gas from mowers. Dig up and store summer-blooming bulbs such as dahlias and gladioli before the ground freezes, or they will rot.

Cover roses—Rake up leaf litter that may harbor powdery mildew or insects, and dispose of it in the trash. When nights remain “frosty,” mound soil around the bases of shrubs so that it covers the bud unions (a slight bump where the rose variety was grafted to the root stock). Encircle shrubs with a wire-mesh cylinder, and fill with dry leaves and compost as insulation from cold.

(Mid and High Elevations) 
Adjust irrigation—As cold weather approaches, reduce watering to prepare plants for dormancy. Plants still need moisture in winter. If rain or snow is inadequate, be prepared to irrigate landscape plants, fruit trees and evergreens once every three to six weeks, depending on temperature, precipitation, soil type and plant maturity.

Care for houseplants—Increase indoor humidity levels around plants with a humidifier, or elevate pots on pebbles in a saucer of water. Pots should sit high enough above the water so that it is not absorbed into the soil.

Cathy Cromell is a Master Gardener and co-author of  Earth-Friendly Desert Gardening (Arizona Master Gardener Press)
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