Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Get the most from your annual plantings by fertilizing. 15-30-15 applied 1/2 strength every two weeks during the growing season will provide ample nutrients and copious blooms. Cut back rangy annuals such as petunias to encourage one more bloom.
Increase your stock of summer blooming perennials once they have stopped blooming by digging them from the soil, removing all but a few inches of the top growth, dividing the root ball into several pieces, each containing some foliage and root, then replanting in either garden soil or containers. Daylily, statice, penstemon, agapanthus and ornamental grasses all respond well to division. Water immediately after planting to settle roots.
If raccoons, moles and skunks are tearing up your lawn at night, chances are they are searching for grubs. Hungry nocturnal creatures are looking for tasty grubs that live just below the surface of turf grasses this time of year. Left untreated, grubs emerge in the spring as Japanese beetles or other destructive insects. Lift a section of turf with a knife to check for infestation. If there are more than two grubs in a 4 foot area, treat the entire lawn by spraying with beneficial nematodes or milky spore. Ask your nursery professional to recommend a product.
Bud Worm Watch
Petunias and geraniums (Pelargoniums) suffer from bud worm, actually a caterpillar that feeds on the unopened buds. For best control, apply Bt in early morning or late afternoon when the caterpillars are actively feeding. Mix only the amount of Bt that you will use in one application and do not apply to plants not affected.
Fall Planting Begins
Plant fall and winter vegetables. Crops such as broccoli, lettuce, cilantro, carrots, kale, cabbage and beets can be planted from seed directly into prepared beds. Protect seedlings from hungry snails and slugs by surrounding them with a ring of diatomaceous earth or fireplace ashes. Replace the barriers daily if the evening dew is heavy.