Like me, you’ve no doubt noticed that the daytime highs in the Southwest are moving into triple digits a little early this year. A quick scan of my herb garden reveals my plants noticed it too. Several annuals (cilantro and catnip, in particular) are setting seed and getting ready to die before the worst of the summer heat gets here.
Now is the time for one last application of fertilizer before summer. Why do I say this? Because I need to remember the high heat means all my plants will stop significant growing, and for a good reason. New leaves appearing during high heat and high stress times are less likely to be healthy. A wise plant – and a wise gardener – recognizes that. Fertilizer stimulates growth. You don’t want to do that in mid-summer when the plant is already stressed and is struggling to keep healthy what leaves it already has.
So if you have plans for another application of fertilizer, get out there and do it now. Which fertilizer? For herbs I generally recommend a balanced fertilizer, one where the N-P-K numbers on the front label are close together. A 10-12-10 fertilizer would be just fine for example. If you’re unsure of the N-P-K numbers, ask your nursery staff. They’ll be glad to help.
P.S. This is also a good time to get down some mulch if you haven’t already done so. Mulch provides protection from drying winds and acts as a very, very slow release fertilizer. It also reduces weed problems, something we all struggle with.