Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2007
Regional Report

Plant Summer Crops

If you haven't already done so, it's time to plant warm-season crops such as corn, tomatoes, and peppers. Amend the soil with organic compost prior to planting. You might want to add eggshells or oyster-shell lime to your tomato bed to prevent blossom end rot at the end of the season. For best results, plant heat-loving crops in black plastic mulch to turn up the temperature!

Prune Roses

Deadhead faded flowers on roses. Remove any new growth that's growing through the center of the plant to improve air circulation. Pick off and dispose of any foliage that displays signs of fungus disease. Remove sucker growth coming from below the graft as close as possible to the main trunk.

Groom Ferns

Ornamental garden ferns appreciate an occasional grooming. Cut off and remove faded fronds. Surround plants with a 1-inch layer of organic compost. Make sure to make your cuts close to the base of the plant. After grooming, foliar feed with a solution of liquid fish or sea kelp.

Tune in to Caterpillar Season

Petunias and geraniums are notorious for caterpillar their problems. The budworm will chew through your crop of flowers before you can ever enjoy them! Look for telltale signs of caterpillar activity; holes in the buds, caterpillar poop on the foliage (looks like pepper). Treat with Bacillus thuringiensis in the morning or late afternoon, the times when caterpillars feed. Spray only the plants that are affected and mix only as much as you will use at one time.

Guide Unruly Wisteria

A healthy wisteria vine will grow wild and rampant and quickly get out of control unless guided and controlled on a regular basis. Remove the long summer tendrils with clippers, or guide them toward a trellis. Be advised: wisteria requires a hefty trellis for support.

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