Prepare gardens for the cooler temperatures of winter.
Tip of the Month
It is time to plant root vegetables. These include carrots, parsnips, turnips, horseradish, beets and radishes. They prefer the cooler temperatures of late fall and develop the best flavor when temps stay below 80 degrees. Seeds can be grown in succession until February. For best germination, keep seeds constantly moist to sprout and grow. Thin seedlings to a few inches apart to ensure roots are not crowded as they mature.
Root vegetables grow well in raised beds where they get four to six hours of sun a day. These crops do best in sandy soil.
Beets are a double crop, as both root and leaves are edible. Keep water constant for rapid growth and better taste.
Radishes are the fastest growing of all the root crops. They can be planted around other slower growing vegetables. Look for other unusual radish types such as watermelon, white icicle, and Daikon or Japanese (milder flavor).
Plant winter color annuals such as cyclamen, primrose, pansies, violas, lobelia, snapdragon, petunia, gazania, nasturtium and sweet pea.
Sow seeds for beets, bok choy, bulb and green onions, collards, endive, kale, leaf lettuce, leeks, mustard greens, peas, radishes and spinach.
Plant colorful perennials such as angelita daisy, gaura, hummingbird trumpet sage and Mount Lemmon marigold.
Sow wildflower seeds by midmonth to take advantage of winter rains.
Choose a location that receives full sun in winter.
Continue transplanting desertadapted trees and shrubs, ground covers, vines, cacti, succulents and grasses.
Transplant culinary herbs such as cilantro, dill, fennel, parsley, marjoram, mint, chives, rosemary, catnip, oregano, society garlic and sorrel.
Also, transplant broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and chard. Set out rain lily bulbs now. Plant them under trees or among rocks.
Move tender potted plants to sunnier locations or in protected spots under porches, eaves or tree canopies.
Don’t water cacti and succulents before frosts.
Place polystyrene cups over the tops of columnar cacti.
Drape small trees with frost cloth; wrap young citrus trunks with burlap.
Adjust automatic irrigation timers to reduce water. Irrigate citrus trees about every three weeks to a depth of three feet.
As weather cools, less water helps prepare plants for dormancy.
The first of the winter vegetables will include radishes, spinach, arugula and leaf lettuce. Test citrus to determine ripeness. Tangerines ripen first, followed by navel oranges, tangelos, lemons and limes.