April Tips: The Desert Southwest

The garden season is in full swing. Grab your gloves and enjoy the chores -- heat will arrive soon! Don't miss these April gardening tips for the Southwest.
Planting Annuals

Replace cool-season annuals with sturdy bloomers that can take the heat; for example go with celosia, marigold, verbena, salvia, and petunia. Direct-sow cosmos, cleome, sunflowers, and zinnias right into the garden for easy-growing cut flowers.

 
Vegetables

Enjoy the pleasures of growing your own food! In your diverse region, what you plant depends on where you garden.

Low Desert: Set out seedlings of tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Direct sow seeds of beans, cucumbers, squash, melon, and okra.

High Desert: Sow quick-maturing radish and lettuces, or set out seedlings of broccoli, cabbage, chard, or cauliflower. Frost is still a possibility. Wait another 2-4 weeks before planting warm-season crops. Check with a garden center to confirm your local last frost date.

 
Trees and Shrubs

Continue to plant container-grown trees, shrubs, perennial herbs, groundcovers, and perennial flowers. In the desert, finish planting this month.

Test Garden Tip: Soil needs to be 60F for heat-loving crops like tomatoes and peppers. If you don't have a soil thermometer, you can tell when it's warm enough by walking on it barefoot. If you're not scampering along because of the chill, it's good to go. Soil typically reaches this temperature about two weeks after the last average frost date.

 
Continued on page 2:  What to Do Now

 

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