Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2011
Regional Report

Plant Autumn Blooming Bulbs

Summer bulbs such as spider lily, colchicum, allium and cyclamen can be planted now for late summer bloom. Amend soil with organic compost prior to planting, and follow planting instructions for each variety. Colchicum is especially delightful, arriving unannounced in an otherwise neglected area.

Water Wisely

Water potted plants, vegetables, and lawns early in the day to get the most benefit for your effort. Water infrequently and deeply to encourage roots to grow deep into the earth. By watering early, plants have time to dry off before nightfall, thereby discouraging fungus disease.

Protect Beneficial Insects from Ants

When releasing beneficial insects such as ladybugs into your garden, make sure that the ant population is under control. Sticky barriers around trunks or Terro Ant traps will prevent ants from moving up and down the plant and attacking beneficial insects.

Enjoy Compost Tea Time

To keep plants healthy and protect them from invasions of fungal disease or insect pests, spray frequently with a concoction made of compost and water. The compost tea introduces beneficial organisms to the leaf surface which compete with disease organisms. To make compost tea, place a scoop of compost into a pantyhose leg and soak overnight in a watering can. Pour the brewed tea into a small sprayer and go to it!

Hand Pollinate

Hand pollinate to increase your yield of tomatoes, squash, eggplant and other annual vegetables. Use a small paint brush to pick up pollen and move it from one flower to another. Squash and melons have male and female flowers that need to "get together" to make fruit. By moving pollen by hand you will guarantee a bumper crop.

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