This month is the perfect time for planting in the low desert. It’s cool enough now to set out those seasonal flowers and vegetables that love our fall and winter months.
Sow seeds of root crops such as beets, carrots, turnips, onions, salad greens and peas.
Rainfall helps out with irrigation this month. However, don’t rely on it with new plants.
Water citrus deeply to the tree canopy every two weeks or so.
Ease your plants into cooler weather by watering thoroughly and then gradually lengthening the time between waterings.
Prepare beds for bulbs such as ranunculus, iris, anemone, freesia, tritonia, rain lily, amaryllis, crocosmia and spider lily with rich organic soil and well-decomposed compost.
Mix phosphorus fertilizer (which promotes blooming) into the bottom of the planting hole.
Over-seed Bermuda lawns with rye grass between mid-October and mid-November.
Provide at least six to eight hours of full sun daily for vegetables to be most productive.
Repel garden pests by planting herbs such as oregano, rosemary, sage, parsley, thyme and lavender. Their aromatic oils deter most insects.
Remove the last of the warmseason flowering plants.
Divide your clumping perennials such as day lilies and Shasta daisies.
Put in cool-season color annuals such as petunias, stock, snapdragons, dianthus, lobelia, poppies and alyssum.
Set out transplants from the cabbage family.
Plant desert-adapted trees, shrubs, vines, ground covers, ornamental grasses, and cacti and other succulents.
TIP OF THE MONTH
Flowers are a plant’s way of attracting pollinators. Gardeners appreciate their bright blooms as well, and cooks have discovered that a small number of these beauties are edible, providing a different sensory appreciation.
But not all flowers are edible, so do not experiment! And common sense dictates that you avoid eating even safe varieties if they were ever sprayed with insecticide.
The most popular edible varieties include the blooms of chives, leeks, garlic, nasturtium, tiny marigold, pansy, viola, Johnny Jump Up, calendula, anise hyssop, lemon and bee balm, scarlet runner bean, borage, chamomile, mint and squash blossom.
Brighten up a cheese plate with a few pansies, freeze Johnny Jump Ups to adorn ice cubes, sprinkle chive blossoms on a cream cheese bagel, decorate cakes with calendula petals or add nasturtium blooms on salad. Flowers taste best right after they have opened.