Tool Care for Safety – and for Years of Use

Safety and staying safe has been on our minds recently. Perhaps you are safe from virus at this point – but how about your garden tools – are they safe to use? (I’m not talking sanitized.)  Research by OSHA shows that most homeowner tools fail safety tests! Spend some time to make your gardening tools safer to use. Safety First Back in Journalism we learned that “fear sells.” I started my story with a call to action that included an element of fear. I don’t want to scare you, but […]

Garden Calendar for October 2020

Every year the October gardening calendar list differs somewhat – and this year it’s more different than ever! Summer 2020 has been a hard summer for plants – and people too. Autumn Health I was recently interviewed by a journalist writing for a Western Edition of Via – the AAA Magazine. She wanted to know why Autumn garden chores are important and which chores should not be skipped. This is what I told her.  For 2020 – due to the hot dry summer we had across most of the West […]

Fertilizer in the Southwest

Fall is a good time for fertilizer in the Southwest. This will help them put on some healthy growth and store a little excess energy for the winter ahead. This year (2020), I am urging folks in the Lower and Middle Deserts to fertilize after Fall Equinox. More about Southwest Zones here. Fall Fertilizer Fertilizer is NOT plant food. Plants make all of their own food! They combine sunlight, air, and water into – basically – sugar. This is called photosynthesis. Plants can get all they need to survive from […]

Garden Calendar for September 2020

September used to mean back to school and back to the garden, but this year is different. Summer 2020 was a scorcher in the Southwest, so this September is going to have less chores than usual. September is Time to Transition Yes, September is a transition month. The soils are still warm from the summer heat, but the nights are starting to get a tiny bit cooler. What plants really notice though, are the hours of daylight. As the days get shorter, the plant genes are urging them to do […]

Garden Calendar for July & Summer Watering

July is National “Smart Irrigation Month,” so let’s start by talking about water for Southwest plants in summer. Watering Notes All plants need more water as temperatures rise. Water is critical in the desert, but don’t let your plants become “drip sip” junkies. Instead of a “sip” or a little bit of water every single day, water less often but for longer time, so the water sinks in two or even three feet into the ground – where roots should be growing. Roots need to encouraged to grow deep underground […]

You Can Grow Colorful Cannas

Cannas are – circle all that apply – colorful, tropical, large-flowered, bold, brash, bright, sometimes gaudy, glorious, short or tall, a glorious garden plant. I hope you circled them all, because cannas are all the above!  Plus very delightful and very variable. Cannas in the Southwest If you have an entirely desert landscape, cannas won’t look right in your landscape. But – if you are like most of us in the Southwest – you have an oasis zone in your low-water landscape (we used to call ’em xeriscapes), thus cannas […]