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

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: September, 2013, Page 134


Photos - From left: Chile peppers • Cherry tomatoes

(Mid Elevations)
• Fall bloomers
—For cheerful color until winter sets in, transplant aster, chrysanthemum, goldenrod, marigold and salvia into the garden or outdoor pots.
Veggies—Sow quick-maturing arugula, carrots, leaf lettuce, radishes, scallions and spinach.
Cover crop—Add nutrients and organic matter to your garden’s soil by sowing a “green manure” cover crop. Learn more in Planting a Fall Cover Crop from the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension at

(High Elevations)
Bulbs—Plant spring bloomers four to six weeks before your first hard frost. Reliable choices include crocus, daffodil, grape hyacinth, snowdrops and squill. Order from
Wildflowers—Sow blue flax, purple cranesbill (Geranium caespitosum), Rocky Mountain penstemon, scarlet bugler penstemon and yarrow. Or scatter a wildflower mix geared for your area’s unique native plant community, such as high desert, piñon-juniper, mixed conifer forest, aspen grove or wet meadow, from

(Mid Elevations)
Fertilize lawns—Feed Bermuda grass with ½ pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

(High Elevations)
Fertilize lawns—Feed tall fescue and perennial rye with 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in September and again in October.

(Mid and High Elevations)
Check out fall blooms and color—Go for a hike in a natural area. What flowers or seasonal changes (foliage color, seeds, berries) do you see that would add visual interest to your landscape? Check out local native plant nurseries as well as plant sales at public gardens. They offer species that thrive in local conditions, as well as unusual, hard-to-find options. Water-wise, late-season bloomers that perform well in garden and landscape settings include goldeneye (Heliomeris multiflora), scarlet globe mallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea) and hummingbird mint (Agastache cana).
Harvest cantaloupe—When the color changes from green to tan and the raised ribbing on the skin becomes more obvious, gently lift the melon. If ripe, the melon will “slip,” or detach itself easily, from the vine.
Learn from the experts—The 14th-Annual Highlands Garden Conference sponsored by University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners will be held in Miami, Ariz., on Oct. 12. Early registration ends in late September. A sampling of topics includes bees, chickens, integrated pest management and worms. Find details at

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