Planting season is just about upon us once again. Gardens are beginning to wake up after a very long, hot summer. It’s time to dust off the pruning shears, break out the fertilizer and get the beds ready for fall planting. Gardening in the desert runs in reverse of the rest of the country. Our gardens are dormant during the summer but we enjoy a full eight months of growing season the rest of the year. With temperatures well above the 100 degree mark, there isn’t a lot of planting to do just yet but September offers several other activities in preparation for fall planting.
Once daily watering continues as long as the temperature remains consistently above 100 degrees. Be sure your water is on long enough to fully saturate the roots of the plant you are trying to water. Multiple water times throughout the day is just about the worst thing you can do for your garden. Remember, deep roots need deep water. Shallow rooted plants such as bedding plants, ground covers and turf survive nicely with once a day watering – especially with the humid weather we have so enjoyed this summer. You may find the more shaded areas of your garden are staying too wet with once daily water. If you are able to isolate these areas, go ahead and cut that water back to every other day – this will allow the area to dry out in between watering.
September is a great time to give your irrigation system the once over. Irrigation heads are easily clogged with the hard water (high mineral content) we have here in the desert. Sand in the water lines will also clog up irrigation heads. Garden Gremlins can attack, turning irrigation heads sideways so the water does not spray in the direction it is intended. Inappropriate/incorrect sprinkler heads may have been changed out, again resulting in inefficient watering techniques. (HINT: Your sidewalks and driveways should really not be getting wet if you use appropriate irrigation heads and ensure they are properly adjusted.) Inspecting your irrigation system is an important task even if you have help with your garden – irrigation issues do not occur only on the day your gardener visits!
Generally, September brings more temperate climate to the Desert. Mid-September is a great month to break out the heavy pruners and get after the plants that have become unruly through the summer. High heat no longer threatens tender new growth as we cool down into fall. This does not mean garden shrubs and trees have to be butchered into the odd geometric shapes that make us CRINGE at Moller’s. There is an art to natural pruning but it is not difficult. The benefits of a beautiful garden will surely outweigh the slight additional time it takes to prune the garden correctly. Check your pruning hardware; everything sharp enough? Do you need to oil the springs? Are the shears clean? Are you using the right equipment for the task at hand? Getting it right will make the work go by quickly and easily. Step into Moller’s for quality garden tools.
It’s really simple: fertilize everything in your garden through the fall months, starting NOW. Take advantage and get the most out of the mild weather just around the corner. We always recommend the organics. You will enjoy the best results with Dr. Earth or Foxfarm products. Remember, feeding the garden is a specialized endeavor these days. Visit the Nursery with any questions you may have.
EXCEPTIONS There is always an exception, isn’t there? The lawn is the one thing you do not need to fertilize in September. Re-seeding is quickly approaching so fertilizing your bermuda grass right now would just be a waste. Re-seeding is a two-part process. First, you want to force Bermuda grass into dormancy. Second, plant the perennial rye seed.
Please CLICK HERE for our Desert Re-Seeding Directions.
We are big proponents of mulch here at Moller’s Garden Center, specifically Harvest Supreme. Work it into your beds to enrich the soil in your flower and vegetable planters. Remember, mulch is for the soil; fertilizers are for the plants. Mulch helps keep weeds at bay, provides water retention and prevents erosion. It does not provide nutrients to plant material; that is the job of fertilizer. Mulch can be laid down several weeks before planting, during planting and layered on top of your beds throughout the year.
This summer we have seen more than our share of pests in the garden. The never-ending humidity we have experienced has been a perfect host for pests of all kinds. ANTS are everywhere and they are generally a sign that you have other guests as well. Follow your ants into the plants; look for signs of white fly or aphids. The ants are after the sticky secretion left on foliage after the white flies have done their thing. (Aphids become more abundant as the weather cools.) The absolute best thing we have found for ants is Amdro Fire Ant Bait. This product is effective on all ants. Ants are more active in the summer; treating them aggressively now will help control them throughout the year.
VEGETABLES, HERBS AND TOMATOES WILL START ARRIVING IN THE NURSERY ABOUT THE 19TH OF SEPTEMBER!! As we have stated, it is time to get to work!