This Blog is focused primarily on the Southwest United States and the challenges of growing gardens and landscapes there.

We all have had great successes, some so-so success, disasters and fatalities in our gardens or landscapes. By sharing what we did right and also the mistakes we made, all of our new gardening community members will benefit.

Do you have a garden question or problem? Post it here and I'm sure someone in our gardening community will have an answer.

I look forward to sharing information and gardening experiences with you all and hope you will share yours here too.

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's Raining! More Or Less.

Monsoon season is here. Wind and rain are the topic of the day. A big hubub over the haboob word caused quite a reaction from a lot of people. Haboob is an Arabic word. It refers to the huge dust storms they have. We have them here too. A lot of folks were upset and said to just call it a dust storm because of the origin of the 'H' word. Origin of the word? Hmm . . then what about Taco and Pina Colada?

Anyway, the rain is pretty much hit and miss as usual. While one part of town is getting a drenching, the other part is enjoying the sunshine. Hopefully we will have a wet monsoon season, we can sure use the water.

Our landscape plants enjoy the rain. A drink of fresh rain water perks them right up. I'm looking forward to more. It cools things down for a day or two which helps in the hot summer temperature.

It's getting Hot

Summer is upon us. The temperature is in the one-hundred-teens. While we spend most of the day inside a cool building or our homes, landscape plants must endure the heat.

Native trees and shrubs have adapted to this environment and can handle the heat. Its the other non-native things like Roses, Hibiscus, Daylily and container plants that take a beating.

Probably the most important way to help all of our plants survive summer is by watering properly. That simply means, water deeply through the entire root system. For established desert adapted shrubs and trees, about once every 7 to 21 days depending on the plant type.

Drip irrigation is the standard method of watering here in the Desert. Water is applied slowly over a long period of time. For small plants, the soil should be watered to a depth of 12 inches. Larger shrubs need the water to soak down 24 inches. Trees take longer to water because the water needs to wet the soil to a depth of 24 to 36 inches. Seems like a lot of water. Not really. All desert adapted plants need to be watered deeply but infrequently.

Well meaning people waste a lot of water by overwatering their Xeriscape (low water) plants.

Its the 'other' non-desert adapted plants that we need to watch carefully at this time of year. Miss one watering and some plants will crisp right up in a day. Watering deeply once every 3 to 7 days might be necessary. Container plants might need watering every 1 to 3 days depending on what type they are.

Frost and freeze

How are you plants doing in the cold weather? We are in our typical winter season now. Some cool nights, some cold nights and a few freezing nights too.

Most Native, Desert adapted and Xeriscape plants can deal with the cold with little or no damage. However, some of us plop plants into our gardens and landscapes that are much more tender to our weather extremes.

Bed sheet or Frost Blanket material offer the 'freeze tender' plants about an additional 3 degrees of protection. For really cold tender plants, placing a light bulb or a string of the old fashioned Christmas Tree lights under the cover material will help keep them toasty warm at night.

Do you have a successful method of protecting your plants from the cold? Maybe a picture too? If so, post it here to share with other Desert gardeners and newcomers to our area.