With heat and humidity typically highest in July and August, common sense leads us to stay indoors as much as possible, but the garden may still need your touch.
Continue watering deeply and infrequently, allowing the soil surface to dry between irrigations. Replenish depleted and sparse mulch material so root areas remain cool.
Generally, you will want to delay shearing or pruning for another month. Pruning could expose shaded stems and foliage to sunburn. A bit of trimming here and there can extend the life of plants such as autumn sage and blue salvia for flowering in the fall and winter season.
Hope for a relatively cooler, cloudy day to start getting ready for planting of fall annuals, perennials and vegetables. Add a 2-inch layer of organic material from compost, manure or other soil amendments and dig it into the top 8 to 10 inches of soil.
Although the weather poses challenges, some experienced desert gardeners have planted these crops through August: basil, beans, cucumber, celery, squash (acorn, butternut, Hubbard, spaghetti, pumpkin) and sweet corn (plant in plots no smaller than 4-feet by 4-feet to ensure pollination).
Anticipating fall planting, you can start seeds indoors for cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, snap beans, radish and beets.
- Remove dead basal foliage of perennials.
- Deadhead spent coreoposis and rudbeckia flowers.
- Rebuild basins on plants to hold in irrigation water.
- Check irrigation systems to make sure they are working correctly.
“Month by Month Planting Guide for the Coachella Valley,” by Palm Springs High School Sustainable Garden Club; “Lush and Efficient: Desert-Friendly Landscaping in the Coachella Valley,” by Coachella Valley Water District. Find the 160-page book at CVWD.org/386/CVWD-Store for $10 with free shipping. Or, look at a PDF of the book at CVWD.org, click on Conservation.