Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Wild Fire Preparation
The summer fire season is upon us. If you live in a rural or heavily wooded area, remove any overhanging branches that touch the roof of your home. Also, don't stack firewood near buildings. Keep wild grasses mowed down around the perimeter of your property.
Hydrangeas respond well to a general clean-up this time of year. Remove any fallen leaves, spent flowers and obviously dead stems. Fertilize with super phosphate for pink flowers and aluminum sulfate for blue. Or put some of each on either side of the plant for the "dynamic duo". Scratch dry fertilizer into the soil and water.
Hemerocallis gets ratty looking after the first bloom has faded. Remove dead flower stalks and loose, dry foliage at the base of the plant, and rake fallen debris from between clumps. Fertilize around the base of the plants lightly with a slow release product and water deeply.
I love the look of cultivated soil. Water, oxygen and fertilizer can easily get down to the roots of vegetables and annual plants if the soil surrounding them is opened by cultivation. Use a cultivating tool around the drip line, being careful not to disturb shallow roots. Cultivation also prevents weeds from growing and germinating!
Propagate Chrysanthemum for Fall Planting
Take cuttings of chrysanthemums now for fall planting. This is a cheap and easy way to provide maximum color for your garden. Take tip cuttings, dip in rooting hormone and plant in peat pots with fresh potting soil. Keep the cuttings continuously moist until you begin to see new growth.