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May 2013 Gardening Checklist for Arizona’s Mid and High Elevations

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: May, 2013, Page 117
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(Mid Elevations)
—Transplant or sow warm-season beans, cucumbers, melons and squash. Transplant eggplant, peppers and tomatoes.

Summer-blooming bulbs—When soil warms and is workable (not wet), plant crinum, dahlia, gladioli, rain lily and spider lily. Mix phosphorus fertilizer to promote flowering in the bottom of the planting hole.

(High Elevations)
Vegetables—Sow seeds for cool-season leafy greens and root crops and transplant broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Sow seeds indoors to start warm-season crops (peppers, melons, squash and tomatoes) for transplanting outdoors, after your last frost.

(Mid and High Elevations)
Landscape plants—Although gardeners often eagerly await the planting season after a long cold winter, many savvy gardeners suggest waiting until the summer monsoon season arrives to transplant. June is typically a hot, dry and windy month that stresses new transplants. But increased rainfall and humidity during the monsoon season help roots establish easier. If you can’t wait, monitor transplants’ water needs and keep soil consistently moist as roots develop. Temporary protection from hot afternoon sun and desiccating winds is also helpful.

(Mid Elevations)

Tend iris—After blooms are spent, cut flower stalks off at the base of the plant. Allow foliage to remain, as it is supplying nutrients to the rhizomes for next year’s growth. Apply a complete fertilizer and spread fresh mulch.

Wildflower seeds—Let seed heads dry and disperse to self-sow for next year. Alternatively, save seeds to sow where you want them to grow. Collect seeds on dry, sunny days and remove any attached plant matter to inhibit moisture that causes mold during storage.

(Mid and High Elevations)
Prune spring-blooming shrubs—After they finish flowering, lightly trim forsythia, lilac, spirea and wisteria.

Monitor fruit trees for codling moths—Adult moths are gray-brown. They lay eggs on emerging fruit tree blossoms that will hatch into pinkish-white caterpillars with brown heads that tunnel through and eat the fruit. Hanging pheromone traps in trees as they start blooming will help you monitor when the moths are active, so you can begin other control methods. The traps are only partially effective, so manage these pests’ different life stages with a combination of cultural, mechanical and organic methods. Find details in Codling Moth, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension’s free publication at

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