Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

September, 2011
Regional Report

Prevent Sun Scald

Sun scald occurs in really hot weather. It affects fruits and vegetables that are not protected by leafy foliage. The damage is usually soft white or yellow patches that attract rot and fungus disease. Protect tomatoes and other vegetable crops from sun scald with floating row covers or shade cloth. Pick off any fruit that appears damaged and toss into the compost bin.

Compost Wisely

Composting is a wonderful way to recycle garden trimmings into beautiful, fertile soil, but be careful of what you add to your compost bin. Weeds that have gone to seed will make a return appearance if your compost pile does not get hot enough. Use 50 percent green, 50 percent dry material (such as shredded newspaper) to build the pile. Water and turning the pile will keep things cooking.

Take Care of Hoses

Store garden hoses out of direct sunlight to prolong their useful life. If you don't coil your hoses, leave them laid out in the shade in a straight line to prevent kinks. When coiling, do not drag the female (threaded) end on the ground to avoid damage.

Sharpen Mower Blade

Keep lawn mower blades sharp to prevent "tearing" the grass blades. A clean cut is always preferable to a ragged edge and will also prevent disease from setting in. Remove the blade from the mower, then use a metal file to create a sharp edge.

Groom Petunias

Petunias are susceptible to bud worm, a despicable creature that dines on unopened flower buds. Check blooming plants early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the caterpillars are most active. Remove by hand or spray with B.t., an insecticide made from beneficial bacteria that controls caterpillars.

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