The National Weather Service is saying we can expect drought conditions to persist through the summer months, so I've been reading about how to grow vegetables in the desert, though it does occur to me that I might be overreacting just a bit.
All the same, here is a quote from the article I'm reading:
“One key factor you must remember when you are vegetable gardening in the desert is to ensure that the soil stays moist. This will allow the seeds to sprout. Once the plants have become established, you need only ensure that the root zone stays wet. When you are vegetable gardening in the desert, watering thoroughly every seven to ten days should be plenty when the temperatures fall below 100 degrees.”
Also “…if you notice that temperatures are above 100 degrees for an extended period, be sure to water them at least twice a week. Keep in mind that plants will need less water when the temperatures are cooler. Fertilize your plants and give them a good watering to be sure that the precious nutrients are carried down to the roots.” Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/639688.
Hot or dry, after reading that, I'm happy to be living in Fort Wayne. And, rather than dwell on the subject of weather again, I thought we'd talk about taking cuttings and starting new plants from our favorite shrubs and perennials — even extend our annual plants this summer using this method:
Middle to late June is an excellent time to take softwood cuttings of shrubs and perennials (and annuals) to start new plants.
A few examples of plants which can be propagated in this way are spirea, lilac, viburnum, chrysanthemum, azalea, thyme, catmint, geranium, fuchsia, lavender, and daisy (use your imagination and experiment with many other plants as well).
•On shrubs, softwood cuttings are from the tip where new growth has taken place.
•Herbaceous softwood cuttings can also be taken from the new growth of those leafy plants in your garden that die down to the ground in winter.
Things you'll need in preparation for taking cuttings:
•Scissors, hand pruners or a knife.
•Clean containers; for example, plant pots, yogurt or margarine containers, and even Styrofoam cups works well (punch drainage holes in the base of each container).
•Fill container with a basic seed-raising soil media.
•Purchase a box of rooting hormone powder.
•Cut squarely across the stem, just below a growth node. (The node is where the plant's natural growth hormone and stored food is.)
•Remove the lower leaves.
•Remove any flowers. You want all the plant's energy to go into forming roots.
•Trim large leaves in half. This slows water loss from the leaves.
•Dip the cuttings in rooting powder and shake off any excess.
•Fill a container with the basic growing media, and firm it slightly.
•Make holes in the media, and put a cutting in each hole. The eraser end of a pencil works well for this.
•Firm soil around the stems to prevent air pockets.
•Label each pot with the plant's name and the date.
•Water the container.
•Make a small hot house by covering with a plastic bag.
•Set in a well lighted place, but not in full sun.
•When you see new leaves opening up, you will know your softwood cutting has formed roots.
•As the plant grows, you should transplant it into a larger pot to keep it from becoming root-bound.