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April in your Desert Rose Garden

Healthy-rose-blooms-1-1024x768Fertilize: Establish a regular fertilizing schedule for your roses starting this month with both organic and water soluble fertilizers:

  • Start with and then monthly: Max Magic Mix or homemade compost (about one cup per bush the first week
  • Bi-weekly: Dilute your water soluble fertilizer (Miracle Grow, Peters, Scotts, etc) as the instructions state and shower your fertilizer using your hose.
  • Monthly  Additionally, be sure to apply a dose of fish emulsion once a month
  • Be sure to water your roses thoroughly the night before you fertilize them.

Pests and Fungi: aphids and mildew:

  • Spraying your roses off with water a couple of times a week will help reduce the aphid population. If a colony has gotten started, use Bayer Rose Spray or Safer Insecticide once a week per bottle instructions to wipe them out.
  • When the weather gets warmer, the dreaded Thrips will appear. They attack the rose blooms and turn them brown. Using a small plastic spray bottle, spray the buds directly with your chosen insecticide above, as they begin to open. Do this at least once a week.
  • Mildew can be kept in check by using a good fungicide. It is best to apply fungicide as a preventative for mildew on a weekly basis, rather than waiting for the problem to show up. It’s harder to prevent damage once it’s started.

DSC01213Water – Daytime Temperature guidelines:

  • 70′s water every 5 – 6 days.
  • 80′s water every 4 – 5 days.
  • Your roses should be receiving 10-15 gallons of water each time you water. You can calculate this by the size of the emitter (e.g. 1 gal/hour) x the number of emitters x duration of watering cycle) This should provide water to a depth of 18-24 inches deep, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. The soil should not dry out between waterings.
  • Continue to water your roses and increase the frequency to three times per week as the temperatures increase.

Mulch:

  • Put down mulch to keep soil from drying out in the hot days ahead.
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The Potted Desert Edible Garden

Lush Potted Herb Garden

Lush Potted Herb Garden

Veggies and Herbs:

  • If you haven’t pruned your herb garden, now is the time to do it. For frost damaged herbs, look for new growth emerging on the lower half of the plant. Use sharp shears to cut the plant back by 1/3 to 1/2 or more, down to healthy new side shoots. Add new compost and water well.
  • Fertilize producing vegetable gardens.

Planting: Set out seedlings of anise hyssop, basil, bay laurel, chives, lemon grass, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, salad burnet, and thyme.

Set out transplants of eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes. Sow seeds of beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, and squash.

Special Attention Needed for the month 

Tippy pots.Burch

Pots Seated Well In Protected Stone Area

Watch out for strong winds this month. Be sure you have all your furnishings secured or in places that will not drag them into the pool or the neighbor’s yard.ecte

If weather advisories come out about gusting winds, be sure to water you pots in well before the wind arrives.

If you have any pots that are notorious for tipping over, move them to a safer location.

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Your Potted Desert Garden – Moving into Summer

Late Winter Desert Potted Flowers

Late Winter Desert Potted Flowers

Repotting season may begin early this year due to our mild winter and early summer. Normally we do not plant to plant our summer flowers until the second half of April or later. Remember, I always talk about how long we ask our summer flowers to perform. If we plant late April, we won’t plant again until late October and that is six months. Planting in late March or the first week of April adds another month to that. We do want to plant before the summer heat arrives so the roots can get established before the soil warms up to summer levels.

Ask yourself, how are you pots looking now? Mine are great! So why would I pull them out. I will wait until April or May and then I should be good for the entire summer. I will have more options too! For those of you chomping at the bit to plant sooner, just be prepared to add some new plants in August to refresh your pots if some of the plants are too tired to bloom or grow any longer.

It’s time to check your irrigation system 

  • NOTE: Newly planted pots need daily water.
  • Review past water bills to track your usage – look for any obvious changes.
  • Check your system for leaks.
  • Do Not ASSUME… we need ½” of rain to be safe in turning off the irrigation for any length of time. Your pots will need water again in one to two days. Don’t forget to turn it back on!
  • Adjust irrigation timers. As temperatures increase, so do the water needs of your garden. To give plants just the right amount, adjust the timer by increasing the number of days per week it operates, but not the number of minutes per cycle.
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Your Desert Potted Garden – Special Attention in March

As we start really warming up now, we can go ahead and take care of the remnants of our winter gardens.

Mexican Lime Trees Do Well in Desert Pots
Mexican Lime Trees Do Well in Desert Pots

Citrus Trees: After the danger of frost is over, you can prune your citrus trees IF you really need to.

There is no need to prune citrus like regular fruit trees. As the trees grow, let the branches and foliage be as low as knee high. The best fruit is produced on the lower two thirds of the tree so raising the skirt reduces the amount of the fruit you will get.

Clean out dead wood.
Remove any suckers growing from below the graft.

Potted Ornamental Shrubs: While pruning frost damaged plants, wait and prune after new growth has started.

  1. Shape your ornamental shrubs so the new spring growth will fill in the bare branches and holes left from pruning.

  2. When you prune shrubs or perennials, do not remove more than 1/4 of the total plant.

  3. Always use sharp, sterile, quality pruning tools and disinfect them between cuts to prevent the spread of disease.

Potted Cactus and Succulents
PedilanthusIf you did not get some rain this past month, water your potted cactus. For a soft, contemporary look, plant a few Slipper Plants (Pedilanthus macrocarpus) in a series of pots or raised bed to create an easy care border.

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March and Your Edible Potted Garden

The Potted Desert Edible Garden – for all our sustainable gardeners out there in the desert!

Many make great focal points in your potted garden as well. Use them alone or combine them with your spring and summer flowers! Artichoke 
is a great perennial that enhances any potted garden.

 

Artichoke Plant with stature

 

Vegetables to transplant include:

•    Globe and Jerusalem artichokes
•    Eggplant
•    Peppers
•    Tomatoes

Herbs to transplant include:

• Basil (watch for a late frost)

• Bay

• Cuban-oregano

• Lemon grass

• Lemon verbena

• Mexican-oregano

• Chives

• French tarragon

• Garlic chives

• Germander

• Lavender

• Lemon balm

• Marjoram

• Mint (Plant alone or it will take over!)

• Oregano

• Parsley

• Rue

• Sage

• Santolina

• Winter & summer savory

• Scented geraniums

• Thyme

• Yarrow

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March Desert Potted Garden – Early Spring in your Desert Landscape

Early Spring in the Desert

Overflowing pots

 

Have you ever wondered why when you visit local plant nurseries this time of year you find many spring and summer flowers for sale and yet I do not recommend starting your repotting season until mid to late April?

There is an excellent reason for this.  Flowers planted for the summer need to make it through October and if we plant them in March, they have to perform for nine months. This is an unfair request of any living thing in our harsh summer sun!   So in all fairness to our flowering friends, we make every effort to split the year into two growing periods and ask them to provide us with six months of beautiful blooms!

This week in your Desert Potted Garden

1. Watch for a surprise frost and cover tender annuals.

2. Do not be tempted to prune back frost damaged plants yet – we need to wait until the danger of frost is over (average date March 15)

3. If you have not fertilized your citrus, you can do so now.

4. Plant citrus after the danger of frost is past.

5. Check your irrigation system and be prepared to increase the frequency as temperatures warm up.

6. Clean up all ground areas of debris – especially from our leaf loss and cactus demise.

7. Apply a pre-emergent if you have not already done so. Follow directions for watering this in if we still do not get any rain. This will help prevent weeds from popping up. Do not use where you are planting seeds or growing vegetables and herbs.

Healthy rose blooms (2)

 Potted Roses

Now is the time to begin a proper fertilization schedule, and at each step be sure to water well the night before fertilizing.

 

  1. For the first week use an organic fertilizer, scratch into the earth and water.

  2. Two weeks later, use a water soluble fertilizer.

  3. Use a fish emulsion once per month to help get microorganisms growing.

If you have newly planted roses, DO NOT fertilize, until after their first bloom!

Spray your Roses!  Springs bring aphids, thrips, and mildew to your plants.  Spray your roses with a jet spray setting on the hose in the morning, twice per week to assist in preventing unwanted critters and mold.  For more information, go to the Rose Society’s website.

Continue to water your roses and increase the frequency to three times per week as the temperatures increase.  In addition, water to 18-24 inches deep, not soggy; however, you do not want the soil to dry before the next watering.

Continue to water your roses and increase the frequency as the temperatures increase.

Daytime temperatures:

  • 70′ s  ~ water every 5 – 6 days.

  • 80′s  ~  water every 4 – 5 days. (These are suggested intervals based on 10 – 15 gallons of water per watering.)

In addition, check that you are watering to a depth of 18-24 inches deep, and do not allow the soil to dry out before the next watering.

Have questions? Please do not hesitate to contact me by email any time. marylee@potteddesert.com.

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February Desert Potted Garden Tips – This week in your desert landscape: 2/28/14

Desert Potted Winter Kitchen Garden

The Potted Desert Edible Garden 

Resource: The Magic Garden Nursery and Landscaping, Tucson

  1. Get in another planting of all your cool season veggies, if you have room. Go ahead and transplant some more greens for an early spring salad. (Spinach, all lettuces, mesclun, swiss chard, kale)
  2. Get your garden ready for the warm season planting. But, be ready to cover if it freezes again.
  3. Plant transplants: artichokes, asparagus, chard, kohlrabi, lettuce and onion. If you set out transplants before mid-February protect them from the cold.
  4. Tomatoes and peppers must be transplanted early enough to develop roots, flower and set fruit before hot weather arrives, so set them out as early as mid Feb. Watch for frost and cover for protection until mid-March.
  5. Plant seeds: beans, beets, bok choy, carrots, swiss chard, cucumbers, leaf lettuce, melons, mustard, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, sunflowers, turnips, watermelons, Martha Washington asparagus (roots or crowns).
  6. Fertilize producing vegetable gardens.

Potted Roses; Care for the end of February

Resource: Tucson Rose Society

  1. Pruning of your roses should be completed now. If not, get out there and do them this weekend.
  2. Clean up all the old mulch and dead leaves and throw them in the trash, not your compost pile. Dead leaves can often have mildew spores and  other diseases on them that can infest your compost pile and create problems later on.
  3. Apply both a pesticide and a fungicide to your pruned roses and the ground around the plants. Fungus spores such as mildew can live through the winter in your soil.
  4. Apply long-term or organic fertilizer, such as Max Magic Mix, Bandini Rose Food or homemade compost. Also, it helps to add superphosphate at this time since it takes a while to break down. Scratch it into the soil and water in.
  5. Two weeks following the long-term fertilizing, begin your regular  short-term or liquid fertilizing program.
  6. Once growth appears, start in on your hose spraying program in the mornings to keep the aphids and mildew away.
  7. Continue to water your roses. As daytime temperatures increase, increase your watering frequency.

Classes sponsored by Marylee,

The Potted Desert and the Tucson Botanical Gardens!

Winter Color Potted Desert Landscape.jpg

A FLOURISHING POTTED GARDEN

  • Wed., March 5  9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  or
  • Sat., March 8  1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Learn special tips for planning, designing, planting and caring for your desert home’s container garden. When planting in containers, there are well-established methods for plant survival, particularly in our challenging climate. Learn from potted garden expert Marylee Pangman and her proven  techniques for planting successful potted gardens. In this class you will learn how to choose plants and pots that enhance your patio, plant for success and  care for your potted gardens.

$12, $7 Tucson Botanical Garden members

Call 326-9686 ext. 18 or email education3@tucsonbotanical.org to register

Save the Date for Future Classes

April 5; 1-3: Designing your Summer Desert Potted Garden and Keeping Them Alive!

May 31; 9-11: Bringing the Tropics Home to Your Desert Oasis – Tropical plants – inside and out

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Do you want to stop throwing out your plants? Learn to create a desert potted garden that WORKS! – Register TODAY!!

Winter flowers

A FLOURISHING POTTED GARDEN - Helping Homeowners Create Potted Gardens that Work

  • Wed., March 5  9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  or

  • Sat., March 8  1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Learn special tips for planning, designing, planting and caring for your desert home’s container garden. When planting in containers, there are well-established methods for plant survival, particularly in our challenging climate. Learn from potted garden expert Marylee Pangman and her proven  techniques for planting successful potted gardens. In this class you will learn how to choose plants and pots that enhance your patio, plant for success and  care for your potted gardens.  $12, $7 Tucson Botanical Garden members

Call 326-9686 ext. 18 or email education3@tucsonbotanical.org to register

I just put the finishing touches on my presentation. Part slides; part demonstration – I promise you will not get bored. We have two choices in the schedule so that one should work for you! I hope to see you at the Gardens! ~ Marylee

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February Desert Potted Garden Tips – This week in your desert landscape

Potted Desert Landscape Winter Flowers.GlassPotted Winter Flowers , Plants, Citrus and Grasses

In order to keep your winter flowers blooming into May, you must provide them with some attention. Take a morning coffee break with your garden a couple times a week so that you can enjoy your labors for several more months!

  1. Deadhead your flowers weekly. Be sure to pinch them back to the originating stem, not just the flower. This will support continuous bloom.
  2. Cut back ornamental grasses to just above ground level.
  3. Fertilize your potted plants every two weeks with a water soluble fertilizer. Best applied with a hose applicator.
  4. Fertilize any potted citrus or other fruit trees as per the directions on the label.
  5. Plant color annuals such as pansies, petunias, larkspur, primrose, poppy, stock, violas, alyssum, snapdragon and marigolds (warmer areas only.)
  6. Watch shallow-rooted newly planted annuals, which can quickly dry out with spring winds.
  7. Adjust watering schedule according to winter rains.
Potted Desert Potted SucculentsPotted Cactus and succulents

If we do not get any additional winter rains this month, be sure to water your potted cactus and succulents. You can also fertilize them with a water soluble fertilizer. I suggest half strength in your potted plants.

 

 

 

Desert Potted Garden Classes sponsored by Marylee, The Potted Desert and the Tucson Botanical Gardens!

Winter Color Potted Desert Landscape.jpgA FLOURISHING POTTED GARDEN

  • Wed., March 5  9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  or
  • Sat., March 8  1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Learn special tips for planning, designing, planting and caring for your desert home’s container garden. When planting in containers, there are well-established methods for plant survival, particularly in our challenging climate. Learn from potted garden expert Marylee Pangman and her proven  techniques for planting successful potted gardens. In this class you will learn how to choose plants and pots that enhance your patio, plant for success and  care for your potted gardens.  $12, $7 Tucson Botanical Garden members

Call 326-9686 ext. 18 or email education3@tucsonbotanical.org to register

Save the Date for Future Classes

April 5; 1-3: Designing your Summer Desert Potted Garden and Keeping Them Alive!

May 31; 9-11: Bringing the Tropics Home to Your Desert Oasis – Tropical plants – inside and out

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Desert Potted Garden Care in February

 

We have had an inconsistent winter this year so far. Warmer than average temperatures while the rest of the country suffers through freezing, snowing conditions. Our fluctuations have confused our plants so extra care is needed. Do not let a warm week in February allow you to think that winter is over. We can and most likely will have freezing temperatures this month and possible into March. Average last frost date is March 15 and remember – That is the AVERAGE!!!

 

 

Mitchell 10-03-11 (11)Fertilize your citrus around Valentine’s Day 

  1. Water both the day before and immediately after applying granular fertilizers.
  2. Use a granular fertilizer according to the directions on the package. Size and age of the trees determine how much fertilizer you use.
  3. Fertilize mature trees away the trunk, meaning the outer two thirds of the ground of the leaf canopy where the most active roots are.
  4. Give the trees a deep soaking watering after applying the fertilizer.
  5. Newly planted trees do not need fertilizer the first 1-2 years after planting).
  6. Note: Whether you use Ammonium Sulfate, Ammonium Phosphate or Citrus Food fertilizer it’s important to read instructions because the amount of fertilizer need per year will vary depending on the age, size, and type of citrus tree. For example, a medium-sized adult tree 5-6 years after planting needs 6.2 pounds of Ammonium Sulfate per year (split into three applications). Grapefruit trees 5 or more years after planting need half the amount for other citrus.
    Source: Pima County Master Gardener Program
  7. Continue to pick your citrus. You do not need to harvest all of the fruit just because the trees come into flower. Grapefruit and Valencia oranges will continue to sweeten while left on the trees. 

frostFrosted or Frozen Plant Damage

  • Do not be tempted to prune back frost damaged plants yet.
  • We need to wait until the danger of frost is over (average date March 15)
  • Watch for a surprise frost and cover tender annuals.
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