Prepare gardens for the cooler temperatures of winter.
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 mid-month to take advantage of winter rains. Choose a location that receives full sun in winter.
Continue transplanting desert adapted 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.
TIP OF THE MONTH
No outdoor plant is guaranteed to be safe from rabbits — they will eat almost anything except poisonous ones, especially during a drought. But desert-adapted specimens tend to be less palatable to them, including brittlebush, lantana, euphorbia, salvia, rosemary, vinca, yellow bells, penstemon and Mexican Bird of Paradise, which often are found in local gardens.
Rabbits prefer plants that are over-watered or over-fertilized. New transplants from the nursery are very tender, and therefore attractive to them, so they may need temporary protection for 4-6 months until they toughen up a bit. Barricading strategies such as encircling young plants with chicken wire may help. Bury the wire 4-6 inches to deter them from burrowing. Invisible shields or rabbit repellants in spray and powder forms also are available at nurseries.