November Southwest Desert Garden Chores and Tips

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November Garden Chores and Tips

Fall weather is here, and summer cactus blooms give way to flowers and vegetable planting! Cut back on the watering schedule and replace the plants that didn’t make it through the summer.

What To Do in November


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  • Bermuda should be watered with two to three inches of water each week. Bermuda will become dormant as temperatures drop to below 50 degrees.
  • Dethatch to prevent fungus diseases.
  • Overseeding should have been done by now.
  • Winter ryegrass should be mowed to 1-1/2 to 2 inches. Keep watering until established, and then water only about once a week.
  • Yellowing of the winter lawn may occur when the cold weather sets in. An application of ammonium nitrate will bring back the dark green color.


  • Cut back watering of all trees and shrubs, but continue to water deeply. Don’t over water or fungus will grow.
  • Plant 3-5 gallon shrubs and 10-15 gallon trees.
  • Clean dead branches out trees and shrubs.
  • Trim unwanted sprouts from the interior of your citrus trees. This makes it easier to harvest fruit.
  • Keep the skirt of your citrus trees pruned and trimmed to about two or three feet from the ground. This permits a better air flow and minimizes chances of fungus.


  • Plant in full sun: petunias, calendulas, dianthus and snapdragons
  • Plant in part sun or shade: dianthus, geraniums, impatiens, and primrose
  • Plant bulbs in well-drained soil that is also high in compost or organic matter. Your bulbs should be planted with about two inches of sand beneath them. Cover with a coarse material such as peat moss or crushed wood products, such as bark. Plant Amaryllis, Anemone, Calla and Easter Lily, Dutch Crocus, Daffodil, Freesia, Gladiolus, Iris, and Ranunculus. Planting in clusters rather than in rows makes for a nice arrangement. Bulbs should be given a good soaking immediately after planting, and every seven to ten days after growth begins.
  • Keep spent rose blooms pruned.


  • Now is the time to plant seeds for beets, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collards, endive, kale, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsley, peas, radishes, rutabaga, spinach, and turnips.
  • Transplants in November include asparagus, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, and lettuce.
  • When you plant any of the many varieties of leaf lettuce you can harvest and the plant will keep growing new leaves. You don’t have to pick the whole head of lettuce.
  • Plant strawberries now to get berries next spring.
  • If you planted vegetables in October, thin out seedlings about three to four weeks after germination. Snip them, don’t pull them.

Don’t Make These Garden Mistakes in November

  1. Don’t forget to check for aphids in the garden. Use soapy water in a spray bottle to control them.
  2. Don’t water the lawn when it’s dark.
  3. Do not fertilize frost-tender plants such as bottlebrush, bougainvillea, oleander and citrus.
  4. Don’t procrastinate about preparing for cold weather. Toward the end of November we can get frost, and your garden will be at risk if you don’t cover tender plants, flowers and vegetables.
  5. Don’t ignore weeds. Either pull them later, or use pre-emergent now.

12.  December Garden Chores and Tips

You might not think that it ever gets cold in the desert, but it does. Frost is a plant killer!

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