Friday, July 1, 2011

July Gardening for Tucson

This month should be relatively low care for you the Tucson gardener with all the heat happening outside.  Monsoon is here. Watch for flooding, microbursts, and lightening. Strong winds can knock branches down.  Some years are better with rain while others are quite dry. This year, the report is that we will receive an average monsoon with around 6 inches of rain.   Monitor your plants for watering and watch the local weather for rain reports. Here are some tips.....

Avoid planting new plants except summer wildflowers or monsoon-season crops ● Collect rainwater through water harvesting ● Use BT mosquito dunks in any standing water ● Maintain watering for most plants, but discontinue temporarily after heavy monsoon rains ● Stop watering cacti & succulents if moderate to heavy rains arrive ● Prune drooping tree limbs or wind-damaged branches

Let's look at specifics....

-If you haven't done so, apply mulch around plants to retain moisture.
-Plant palm trees, making sure to keep their root balls consistently moist but not overly wet through the summer.  Palms are among the few landscape plants that actually thrive when planting in the heat.
-Sow seeds for sunflowers, zinnias, marigolds and portulaca
-Sow seeds for pumpkins, okra and cantaloupe.  After mid-month, sow seeds for winter squash, snap beans and a second planting of sweet corn.  Corn requires high amounts of water and nitrogen to survive here.

If you haven't considered rain barrels, you should really think about doing this as you will save on your water bill as the barrels will collect nitrogen rich monsoon rains.  Run off from your roof, if planned properly, can save you from watering plants in this humid weather.  In Tucson, Silverbell Nursery offers some wonderful options for rain barrel instalation.  Right now, you should be staying inside your cool home and enjoying the green lovely foliage outside from your window.  During this time of year, I usually wait until mid afternoon to determine whether or not I'll water plants in the evening.  Again watch local forecasts to determine whether or not you will need to water. Until then, stay cool gardening friends.......

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