Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Your plants are growing gangbusters now. Give them what they need and deserve in the form of fertilizer. Annual flowers and vegetables should be given 15-30-15 to promote bloom. Fertilize 1/2 strength every two weeks for best results.
Those darned aphids are out in force now. Knock them off the leaves with a flick of the finger or jet of water, or spray them with insecticidal soap. Caterpillars are hatching too, and hungry! Hand pick or use a Bt-based product for control.
Place a thick layer of mulch over anything that isn't green. Mulching will prevent weeds from growing and save you money on your water bill. Mulch also prevents fungus disease by creating a carpet under your plants which prevents water from splashing back on to the foliage. Call your local Parks and Recreation Department to see if they will deliver, for FREE, a truck load of tree chippings to your driveway. Many cities provide this service and it's an inexpensive way to mulch your garden.
Are moles tunneling in your lawn and driving you crazy? They are searching for yummy grubs and earthworms. If you eliminate their source of food, they will go elsewhere to dine. Mix 1 tablespoon of insecticidal soap in a 2 1/2 gallon watering can. Apply directly to the turf at high noon (when the earthworms are deep underground) to kill grubs before they hatch into beetles.
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 bath tub. They will create and provide humidity for each other. By keeping them in a low light situation, they won't use as much water. Please don't fertilize or prune before you leave. 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.