Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

May, 2006
Regional Report

Plant Summer 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, they will bloom next year for sure. Also plant tigridia, dahlias, and begonias.

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 it on the ground in a protected area. The more birds you have in your garden, the fewer insects you will have.

Arrange Vacation Care for Indoor Plants

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. This will increase the humidity. By keeping them in a low-light situation, they won't use as much water. Wait until you return to fertilize and prune them. They should be good for two weeks, but will be very thirsty on your return. Fill the bathtub and let them soak for a half hour or so.

Tend Container Plantings

Make sure your containers are draining properly. Overgrown containers may have roots blocking the drainage holes. Turn a pot on its side and if you see roots protruding from the drainage holes, use an old kitchen knife or letter opener to ream it out. Standing water in pots can cause plants to drown and die!

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