Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
They're out, and they are hungry. Slugs and snails will do dreadful damage to new seedlings, tender new growth, and daffodil buds. To control them, eliminate their favored hiding places (dark and wet spots), keep plant debris raked up, and seek and destroy snails in their hiding places during the daylight hours.
Look for infestations of aphids on new growth of roses. If you find large colonies, wash them off with a strong jet of water or purchase lady bugs from your garden center and release them in the evening hours after watering the garden well. If you\'re lucky, the lady bugs will stay around to mate and feed on your aphids.
Control Powdery Mildew
Look for signs of powdery mildew--white, powdery patches on the upper sides of plant leaves--as the weather begins to warm. Treat plants with sulfur dust or make a preventive fungicide of 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon horticultural oil mixed in a spray bottle with 1 quart warm water. Apply frequently to control fungus disease.
Cultivate Around Pansies
After removing faded flowers from pansies, use a cultivating tool to break open the surface of the soil around plants so water, air, and nutrients penetrate to the roots. Your plants will be healthier and produce more flowers for a longer period if groomed regularly. Pansies love to be cultivated!
Pick Sweet Peas
Glorious bouquets of heavenly scented flowers are the reason for growing these early spring annuals, and they need continual harvesting. The more sweet pea flowers you cut, the more the plant will produce. Cut the flowers at the base of the stem near the vine. Once the plant is allowed to go to seed, flower production will cease.