Early October is ideal for planting trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, bulbs, groundcovers, wildflowers, herbs, vegetables,,,, in short, almost everything! (Exceptions are things that have tropical genes, like cacti, palms, most citrus). Now that it’s getting cooler, time to go forth and plant! With a little work now, your yard will bloom all winter long.
Official “first frost” date in Tucson is November 15th. This means that if you plant seeds of flowers and vegetables now, they will have at least six weeks of growing before frost hits them. This amount of time is ideal. Don’t wait much past the middle of October. There are occasionally frosts as early as October 15 (not that I expect one this year but the weather has been acting strange).
* Treat alkaline-induced-iron-chlorotic roses and citrus by acidifying the soil.
* Sow wildflower seeds now for spring display.
Anytime during the month
* Plant seasonal color, either as seeds, seedlings, or bulbs.
* Plant cool season vegetables.
* Plant winter herbs — those in the carrot family. Cilantro, dill, fennel, parsley, and more watch this blog plus SouthwestGardening.com for details on how to grow them.
* Harvest pomegranates. They store well for over three months in a refrigerator.
* Harvest barrel cactus fruit as they ripen. For ideas on how to use the fruits of your garden visit my Savor Sisters at SavorTheSouthwest.com.* Dethatch then overseed Bermudagrass lawns for winter green.
* Reduce irrigation frequency once days no longer top 95 F.
* Catch and remove the winter weeds as they germinate.
Want to learn more? Look for my free lectures at your local Pima County Library branch, Tubac Presidio, Tucson Festival of Books and other venues. 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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