Official “first frost” date in Tucson has traditionally been November 15th (which is why we tell you to plant the cool weather vegetable seeds in October.)
That said – I was just at the Desert Green XXII Conference in Las Vegas where the shift in weather patterns was one of the many topics discussed. Basically, weather patterns have been shifting since the 1970’s with temperatures across the Southwest an annual average of almost 2 degrees higher. This means it takes longer to cool off in fall, and “first frost” dates are being pushed back across the region.
So – go ahead and keep planting your vegetable seeds through this month. Succession planting is ideal for a continuous crop of lettuces, radish, spinach, and all those yummy salad greens. Defiantly plant some nursery seedlings of the cool herbs – like parsley, cilantro, dill, fennel.
Anytime during the month of November
* Plant annual seasonal color, either seedlings, plants, or bulbs.
* Plant spring-flowering bulbs in amended beds or pots.
* Start forcing bulbs indoors for holiday color.
* Reduce irrigation frequency if you haven’t already.
* Autumn is a good time to repair the irrigation system or install one.
* Catch and remove winter weeds as they germinate.
* Some citrus may be ripe. Store fruit on the tree until use for best flavor. You have 5 to 6 weeks in autumn to enjoy tangerines. Most other citrus ripens later.
* Harvest pecans. Learn more about pecans here.
* Harvest the last of the pomegranates.
* Rake up autumn leaves. Add to compost or bury in unused beds for slow decay.
* Cover tender plants if frost is expected.
If you live in Southeastern Arizona, please come to one of my free lectures. Check our events page for locations and times. After each event I will be signing copies of my books, including “Month-by-Month Guide to Gardening in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada” (Cool Springs Press, $26).
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