Workshop to focus on winter vegetables

At the farmers market today some of us from the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program will be presenting a short workshop on starting vegetables from seeds that germinate in cold weather and container growing. Some examples of container plants, such as leaf lettuce and endive, will be demonstrated.

We also will have bee houses for native bees and instruct you on how to build them or obtain them from us.

The Molto Vegas Farmers Market is located at 7485 Dean Martin Drive, Suite 106, every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Starting in January we will be providing fruit wood from our orchard in North Las Vegas for grilling. Fruit wood will include apple, pear, peach, nectarine and the most popular new wood for grilling — fig. Supplies will be limited.

Q: I’m planning to buy a lemon tree for my backyard. What type of soil do I need to use when I plant it? What type of lemon can I plant in the Las Vegas Valley? In the wintertime, what should I do with my lemon? For all citrus trees, does the soil need to be the same? What type of spray should I use to keep them bug free?

A: The most commonly planted lemon in the valley is Meyer lemon. It can handle wintertime temperatures down to about 22 F. At temperatures below this, you may lose it or have light to severe damage depending on how cold it gets and for how long. It is usually harvested late in the winter. Leaving fruit on the tree will not cause them to overripen.

Plant lemons either in the ground or in containers. Find a warm microclimate in your yard to help protect your lemon from winter freezing. Otherwise, plant it in a large container and move it into your garage daily until threats from hard freezes have passed.

When planting in the ground, use the same soil you took from the hole but amend it with at least 50 percent compost. Also, use a starter fertilizer, meant for planting, mixed into the amended soil. Just about all citrus will grow in our amended soils. Iron fertilizers will most likely be required annually, applied in early spring.

Stake the tree to make sure the roots do not move during the first few months after planting. Water deeply and thoroughly at each irrigation. Mulch around the trees on the surface of the soil with 3 to 4 inches of wood mulch to a distance at least 3 feet from the trunk.

Lemon trees are relatively pest-free here so you should require few pesticides.

Q: Late this spring, I cut down our 10-year-old, dying Idaho locust tree. Shortly thereafter a sprout from the tree’s roots began to grow into a fledgling replacement tree. It is about 6 feet tall already and seems to be thriving.

But something is eating the newest leaves of the tree, leaving large semicircular gaps. I’ve sprayed it with two different pest products to no avail. What’s the culprit and any ideas on how I can prevent further leaf damage?

A: These semicircular gaps, as you call them, are most likely nesting material for the leafcutter bee. We do not control this insect as it provides a lot of pollination for us.

Leafcutter bee boxes are available at the orchard.

The sprout from the roots is most likely black locust, which is frequently used for the rootstock.

Q: I need help with a golden shrub daisy. It was planted last September in a large pot and blossomed for months. Last summer, with the hot weather, it began drying up. I have the drip emitters watering five times a week for 20 minutes.

Also, the neighbor behind my property has very large trees overhanging onto my property. They drop pods and leaves onto my ground. I have never met these people. I would like to trim their branches back. What is the proper protocol?

A: Whenever growing plants in pots in our climate it is always wise to use large containers, put a pot inside of a pot and to make sure the soil drains.

If the containers are too small, you will get wide variations in soil temperatures and the side of the pot facing the sun will become extremely hot. As the soil dries, temperatures on the surface of the container can reach 160 F and kill most of the root system growing in the soil facing the sun. A double pot provides some insulation to the interior and reduces the temperature and amount of heat transferred to the soil.

When watering during the heat of the summer, it is wise to irrigate the container just prior to high temperatures. Wet soil heats up more slowly than dry soil. These containers must drain freely and you must flush the container with about 20 percent extra water each time you irrigate. This keeps salts from building up in the soil, particularly if you are using water coming from Lake Mead for irrigation.

For the branches hanging over your yard, this may be awkward but the best advice I can give you is to meet your neighbors and discuss it with them.

Bob Morris is an associate professor with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Direct gardening questions to the master gardener hot line at 257-5555 or contact Morris by e-mail at


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