Garden Calendar May 2017
Summer is on its way … dig in!
Plant gourd seeds with plenty of room to sprawl or train on a trellis or fence.
Sow seeds for warm-season vegetables such as chiles, cucumbers, melons, okra, pepper, squash and tomatillos.
Plant drought-tolerant perennials such
as chocolate flowers, lantana, Mexican primrose and gazania.
Plant warm-season annuals that will take the heat, such as ageratum, gaillardia, sunflower, zinnia, tithonia, coreopsis and cosmos.
Fertilize citrus and palms at the end of the month.
Feed cacti with a cactus fertilizer or an
all-purpose type diluted to half strength.
Check your irrigation system for leaks and damaged emitters.
Readjust your watering schedule for the warmer weather.
Water lawns in the morning to avoid fungal growth.
Water roses deeply, fertilize and spread mulch around roots.
Prune back salvia plants to promote
Do not prune the lower branches of citrus trees because this foliage shades the trunk.
Put away your smaller containers
and exchange them for larger ones for the warmer months.
Plant palms as the hot weather
Transplant new warm-season herbs such as basil, chives, oregano,
lemongrass, yarrow, mint and pineapple sage.
Divide cacti and succulents. Allow the roots to callus over before transplanting to prevent rot. Provide temporary shade to reduce stress while roots are getting established. Choose locations carefully when planting mesquite, palo verde, acacia and desert willow trees. Allow for adequate canopy and root growth.
TIP OF THE MONTH
Eggplant is a warm-season annual related to tomatoes, It gets its name from early varieties that were small, oval and white, resembling hens’ eggs.
New varieties produce fruit of different sizes, shapes and colors. The large purple variety is most commonly found in groceries. Oriental varieties tend to be elongated and slender, with a thinner, more delicate skin.
The raw fruit is tough, with a somewhat bitter taste, but it becomes tender when cooked. Many recipes advise salting and draining to reduce bitterness and the amount of oil absorbed. Eggplant is versatile and can be roasted, grilled, baked, stewed, stuffed, braised, mashed, pickled, breaded and fried. It is an essential ingredient in Italian ratatouille and Middle Eastern babaganoush.
Eggplant is a frost tender, heat loving, plant that grows best in temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees — it’s easy to grow in the low desert. HG