We are a few weeks into the 2012 fall planting season. Mother Nature is in much better spirits; Summer 2012 seems to be finally behind us. The daily highs may reach into the low 90’s but that should not deter you from putting your garden gloves on, breaking out the planting trowels and getting your hands dirty!
As always we start the conversation with a few words on the subject of H2O. There are many differing opinions on how best to water your garden. Our suggested irrigation schedule is intended to create healthy, well rooted plants while at the same time make efficient use of our precious water resource. NOW is the best time to cut the water back to ONE TIME A DAY, every OTHER day watering for established gardens. Remember, you want the water on long enough to fully saturate the roots. Just because the water comes on three times a day does not mean the plants are getting enough water. Roots on established shrubs are at least 18″ deep. Established tree roots can reach 10 feet into the soil. A three minute watering cycle would not provide water for that tree no matter how often it comes on. Newly planted material will benefit from daily water the first few weeks after planting, especially during 90 degree weather. Give the roots the opportunity to reach into the soil. This goes for your pots as well. Newly planted turf requires multiple watering times through the first 2 – 3 weeks of growth; reduce water to every other day AFTER the first mowing (when the grass is approximately 2″ in height). Please don’t assume your gardener has your time clock set correctly. Have the conversation with your maintenance people so you are all on the same watering schedule.
Continue with a monthly fertilizing protocol through the warm fall months. Choose the correct product for the specific plants you want to feed. Use enough, but not too much. Just follow fertilizer application directions. Don’t forget your palm trees; you can still use the spikes during this warm weather.
The best advise we can offer for fall planting (next to proper watering techniques) is to know the exposure for the area you want to plant. Sun exposure may change from summer to winter in your garden. Some gardens spots may enjoy shade all winter then change to direct sun for the summer. Take a little time to visualize what will happen with the sun as we transition from fall to winter to spring.
Vegetables & Herbs
Each year we experiment and find that more and more fresh produce can be grown in home gardens. On the shelves this week, we have peas, eggplant, two types of cauliflower including cheddar cauliflower! (It’s orange) Tomatoes: yellow pear, Sweet 100’s, Celebrity, Roma, Early Girl, Better Boy, and Beef master. Squash: spaghetti, butternut and table ace. Peppers: Yolo Wonders, Holy Mole, and Habanero for the hardened chili connoisseur! Start with good soil, proper water and adequate fertilizer. Don’t forget the full sun. You will have a bountiful Thanksgiving harvest.
There are limitless choices for fall color plantings in the Desert. We offer a few hints to keep in mind as you plan your garden. Rabbits don’t eat geraniums! (Nor do they like Liquid Fence which is a rabbit repellant.) Similar color schemes will make your garden seem ‘taller’; blended or solid color choices will elongate your planting beds. White shows up great at night. Properly placed yard lighting and white flower beds will make the garden pop at night. Create interesting garden accents by coordinating your blooming shrubs with bedding plants. Contrast yellow euryops with crown blue pansies. Blend rosenka bougainvillea with hot pink petunias. Your garden is your canvas; the plants and flowers your color palette.
We have a few new plant ideas for you this fall. Many of you love tropical hibiscus and gardenia; yet find them a little tricky to grow. Gardenias are particular about the soil they set roots in. Hibiscus are particular about everything except the bugs they attract. We have a few suggestions as an alternative to these problematic plants. Tecoma or Esperanza is a great beginning. Bright, colorful flowers most of the year; green foliage during the coldest months; varieties of this plant offer a multitude of colors for your planting pleasure. It is bug resistant and will grow in just about any kind of soil. Tecoma lends itself to desert landscapes, traditional and transitional gardens. Look for tecoma stans, tecoma solar flare and tecoma crimson flare.
Tabornaemontana (crape jasmine) is a great alternative to the gardenia. It does well in full sun or shade. It is anti-bug, grows in just about any kind of soil and isn’t particular if the roots are a little too wet. Great privacy plant for those of you in HOA’s. The white bloom is delicate, fragrant and present most of the year. Our offering for shade to morning sun is the plectranthus mona lavender. Beautiful bronze foliage with prolific lavender flowers; this beauty can be a little frost tender; it’s showy blossoms are worth the risk. It is a hummingbird mecca!
It is planting season and we are here to help! We’re open 7 days a week through the season. All kinds of new plants, pots, houseplants, garden accessories, orchids and bromeliads to offer you. EVEN CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS! Let us entice you with something wonderful!