Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2005
Regional Report

Plant Summer-Blooming Bulbs

It's not too late to plant lilies in your garden. Select a sunny spot in a wind-free area. Plant the bulbs 3 to 4 inches deep in fast-draining, rich soil. If they don't bloom this year because they went in late, they will bloom next year for sure.

Fertilize Summer Vegetables

Use liquid fish emulsion to fertilize summer vegetable crops. Use a watering can, since I have had experience with liquid fish plugging up hose end sprayers. The organic fertilizer works the same as the chemical alternative, only more slowly. Organic fertilizers won't burn foliage.

Provide Nesting Material

Nesting birds will appreciate short pieces of yarn, string, dryer lint, and moss for their homemaking chores. Place nesting material in net bags and hang from tree limbs or lay on the ground in a protected area. The more birds you have in your garden, the less insects you will have.

Grouping Plants for Vacation

Before you leave on vacation, soak indoor plants well. Place them all in the bathtub on a damp towel. Set the baskets on an overturned pot or bowl so that their bottoms don't touch the towel. Don't leave the plants in total darkness, but close the curtains if possible. Large plants should be left on the bathroom floor with a damp towel under them. Mist or shower the plants once they are all snuggled into the bathtub. By keeping them in a low-light situation, they won't use as much water. Don't fertilize or prune before you leave. They should be in good shape for two weeks, but they'll be very thirsty on your return. Fill the bathtub and let them soak for a half hour or so.

Caring for Containers

Make sure containers are draining properly. Overgrown containers may have roots blocking the drainage hole. Turn the pot on its side, and if you see roots protruding from the hole, use an old kitchen knife or letter opener to ream it out. Any water left standing in pots will kill the roots.

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