Temperature suddenly cools down as though someone switched of the heating. It has been a long stretch of over 100° temperatures this summer and monsoon has not been generous this year. Some, specially gardeners, can sometimes feel discouraged. Change of season brings out again the hope and desire to create, to start fresh again. And that is the beauty of our southwest climate. As the cooler parts of country are preparing to wind down the gardens, we in southwest are getting ready to wake up our gardens again from the summer nap.
Plants get stressed our desert hot summers, often with little or no shade in the gardens. As temperatures consistently drop below 100° plants start to show new growth. Many will have new leaves and flowers. Vegetable harvest may go into hyperdrive.
Let us start our fall gardens.
It is common knowledge that new planting should be in spring but many may not know that in desert southwest it is better to plant fruit tress in fall than in spring. When trees are planted in spring they have about 1-2 months of root growth in the ground before the hot weather arrives. It gets very difficult for the shallow rooted trees to handle the harsh environment and the tree may show signs of stress. When planted in fall, the trees have time to grow their roots deeper and stronger for several months before the next summer arrives. These young trees then will be able to handle the heat stress better.
Some perennials arrive in larger selections in nurseries in late summer and fall. Few of these are:
Rudbeckia (black eye susan)
Bat faced cuphia
Color your garden with pansy, petunia, viola,
Add a layer of compost to rejuvenate the soil and a layer of mulch to prepare the garden for upcoming winter.
Mulch provides the soil protection against elements and at the same time increases the biodiversity and nutrition in the soil. This will help the plants grow their roots better and will help them to withstand the winter freeze.