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desert gardening basics
july 2013 gardening checklist for arizona’s mid and high elevations
July 2013 Gardening Checklist for Arizona’s Mid and High Elevations
July, 2013, Page 121
MID AND HIGH ELEVATIONS
WHAT TO PLANT
—Transplant eggplant, okra, peppers and pumpkins. Sow root crops and salad greens. Sow or transplant cucumber, melon and summer squash.
—Sow beans, beets, carrots, chard, Chinese cabbage, corn, salad greens and squash. Transplant broccoli and Brussels sprouts by the first week in July.
(Mid and High Elevations)
—Use native plants for most of your landscape. They thrive in the Southwest’s unique growing conditions and provide food and shelter for a host of native creatures. Transplanting during monsoon months helps plants establish because of the increased rain and humidity. Some gardeners at mid elevations may find it still too hot and dry to transplant this month. If the monsoon rains do not appear, hold off on transplanting or be vigilant about each plant’s water needs.
—Remove spent blooms from roses and annual flowers to prolong flowering. If dead blossoms are left to dry on a plant, this will reduce flowering, as the plant expends energy on seed production.
Control tomato hornworms
—If you see denuded stems or chewed foliage, check the undersides of leaves and along stems for fat, bright-green caterpillars with a tiny “horn” protruding from their backsides. Their coloration camouflages them well. You may find them more easily by looking for “frass,” their brownish-black pellet-like droppings that stand out against green leaves or hardscape, if grown in containers. Handpick hornworms and destroy or feed them to the birds.
Weed, weed, weed
—To prevent weeds from absorbing soil moisture and nutrients after monsoon rains, remove them as soon as they sprout. Pull or hoe when young. If weeds have developed roots too tenacious to remove, cut stems back to the ground as soon as they appear. This drains the plants’ energy reserves and prevents seed heads from forming. Never allow seeds to dry and scatter, as this will create a “seed bank” in your soil that will plague you for years. If there are no seed heads attached, let foliage lie on the soil where you pulled it, or toss it into the compost. As it decomposes, nutrients and organic matter will be recycled 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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