Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2011
Regional Report

Milk to Combat Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Rinse empty milk cartons and save the resulting water to spray on plants that are susceptible to tobacco mosaic virus. Members of the nightshade family, including tomatoes, eggplant, nicotiana, pepper and potatoes will benefit from the milk treatment.

Prevent Blossom End Rot on Tomatoes

To prevent tomatoes from developing blossom end rot, a disease caused by lack of calcium in the soil, bury rinsed egg shells around the base of the plant. You can also bury small pieces of recycled wall board, with contains gypsum, that will release calcium to the roots.

Know When to Harvest Melons

It is sometimes difficult to tell when watermelons and cantaloupe are ready for harvest. When the underside of the watermelon turns from white to yellow, and the leaves and tendrils nearest the melon begin to fade, it's time to harvest. Cantaloupes will slip easily from the stem when they are ready to eat.

Plant Basil as a Companion for Tomatoes

Planting basil near tomato vines will protect the tomatoes from many harmful insect pests. The aromatic oil in basil is offensive to many insects, although you will need to protect the basil from snails.

Groom Rhododendrons

Rhododendrons are finished with their spring show. The faded flowers should be removed by hand to keep the plants compact and increase the bloom for next year. Cut just below the faded flowers and above the new growth. If you look closely there is a bit of tan colored wood that indicates exactly where the faded flowers should be removed.

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