Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Water Me Please!
It's that time of year again. Make sure your plants have the moisture they require to survive the dry season. Check automatic irrigation systems at least monthly and deep water trees and shrubs once a month to drive roots deep into the soil. Remember to water deeply and infrequently rather than a splash now and then.
Save Those Coffee Grounds!
Yet another reason to save your morning coffee grounds. Caffeine can repel or kill snails that might otherwise eat and ruin plants. An environmentally acceptable, natural compound, caffeine has great potential as an alternative to today's snail-and slug-killing chemicals.
Remove the faded flowers from agapanthus now. If you hurry, you may get another bloom from these hardy plants! Cut the flower stems at the base, near the foliage to give plants a tidy appearance. Remove yellow foliage from the base of the plants. Fertilize after you have finished grooming. Dig and divide large clumps.
Bud Worm Watch
Geraniums and petunias are susceptible to attack from bud worms. These little demons will ruin a perfectly good bloom before it ever opens. Treat with an application of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) when you notice damage to the flowers or signs of worm poop on the leaves. Make sure to mix only the amount of Bt necessary to spray the affected plants.
Sow Seed for Fall Color and Vegetables
Now is the ideal time to plant seeds of pansies, calendula, stock, viola and winter vegetables such as beets, lettuce and cabbage. Prepare trays filled with new potting soil by watering well prior to planting. Dig shallow furrows in the prepared trays and sprinkle the seed directly into the furrows. Cover with a very light sprinkle of fresh potting soil, then place in a warm area in direct sunlight. Protect seedlings from slugs, snails and birds. Transplant into larger containers when two sets of leaves appear.