Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2010
Regional Report

Cool in the Shade

To grow plants in shade, it is very important to keep a clean and tidy garden. Lift and rake under shade loving plants such as loropetalum to remove fallen debris. This simple step will help prevent fungus disease by increasing air circulation. Fallen leaves and branches also provide hiding places for destructive insects and snails. When planting in the shade, place your plants a little further apart to allow for maximum air circulation.

Herb Harvest

Most herb plants prefer a sunny location, however, if your herbs are grown in the shade they will exhibit a leggy growth habit. Pinching (removing the growing tip of each branch) will keep plants compact. Even plants grown in full sun will benefit from constant pinching to keep them compact. By doing so you are providing yourself with succulent new growth which is ideal for harvesting. Always use the new leaves for cooking. Older foliage has a bitter flavor and a tough texture.

Keep Cool With Mint

Mint (Mentha spp.) requires partial shade and regular water. Mint plants perform best in light, medium-rich, moist soil. They creep along the soil by underground rhizomes; it is recommended that you plant in containers or use a barrier surrounding the mint bed so it doesn't become a pest. Mint is the primary ingredient for mint juleps or mojitos. Grow plenty so you can stay cool this summer!

Calla Lily Care

Calla lilies (Zantedeschia aetheopica) prefer a shady location, slightly acid soil, and regular water during growth and bloom. Following the bloom, they require a rest period during which water is withheld. Overwatering causes the bulbs to rot in the soil. Leave them undisturbed (no transplanting) until overcrowding causes decline of vigor and bloom quality, then dig and divide.

Snail Watch

Slugs and snails are a menace now. The evenings are warmer and it's not cold enough to keep them home at night. They are out and about, eating their way through your garden. Keep garden beds clean and raked up to eliminate hiding places. Surround new plantings with diatomaceous earth, egg shells or fireplace ashes and renew frequently. Slugs and snails don't like to feel a rough texture of these materials on their sensitive foot. Surround garden beds with strips of copper foil. Copper reacts with the body juices of slugs and snails causing an electrical charge that gives these garden devourers an unpleasant jolt. Set beer traps near the surface of the soil. Slugs are real boozers and will help themselves to a fatal sip if available. Pay kids a penny a piece for snails collected from your garden.

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