Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2007
Regional Report

Turn Compost Piles

You should have a nice pile of compost by now if you have been keeping up with the weeds in your garden. The sun should be heating the pile nicely and the compost should be cookin'! Keep the pile damp and turn it at least once a week so you can enjoy the benefits of rich, black compost to spread around your garden. Turning compost frequently will also take care of any fruit flies that take up residence in the pile.

Patrol for Tomato Horn Worms

Tomato hornworms look like aliens from another planet. The creepy eye-like markings along both sides of the creature give the eerie feeling of being watched. The green color makes the 4- to 6-inch-long caterpillars very difficult to spot on tomato plants. Look for chewed leaves and black droppings and you will find a tomato hornworm not too far away. Remove and toss into the neighbor's yard or treat with Bt. Actually, I find these creatures intriguing and just let them be. Kids love them!

Pinch Fushsias

Fuchsias bloom on new wood. If you keep the branch tips pinched back, the plant will produce two new stems for every one you pinch off. That means twice as many flowers! Remove the last two sets of leaves after the blooms have faded from each stem. Fuchsias are heavy feeders, so pour on the fertilizer!

Keep Container Roses Well Watered

If you grow roses in containers, make sure they have ample water. Container plants rely on you for all their needs, and they dry out quickly in hot weather. Depending on the type of soil in the container, roses may need water as often as two or three times a week. Fill the pot to the brim, allow it to drain, and fill again. Use a slow-release fertilizer for container-grown roses to ensure a constant supply of nutrients.

Pollinate Pumpkins

If you see that your pumpkin plants are setting flowers, you will ensure a good crop if you hand-pollinate. Pick a male flower (those that grow directly from the main stem) and brush it against the inner parts of the female flowers. The female flowers have a swollen base and a stem that connects them to the main part of the plant.

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