Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

September, 2011
Regional Report

Plant Marjoram to Protect Vegetables

Plant marjoram, oregano, and rosemary near vegetable gardens to encourage bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects to visit. Bees and butterflies are pollinators and beneficial insects are carnivores that devour vegetarian insect pests. Marjoram may also work in the soil to enhance pepper production.

Prevent Spreading Disease

When you are finished pruning diseased plants, spray clipper blades with undiluted rubbing alcohol. Rose and fruit tree diseases such as fire blight are extremely contagious. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Construct Home Made Yellow Jacket Traps

To keep yellow jacket wasps under control, fill a recycled two-liter container half full of sugary water. Add a drop of soap to decrease surface tension so the bugs can't make an escape. The insects will crawl in after the sweet water and drown. To make the trap more effective, cut off the top of the container and place the narrow opening upside down in the bottle. The extra step will ensure that the insects can't climb back out. Place the insect trap far away from outdoor dining areas.

Use Companion Planting to Repel Insect Pests

Some plants contain a natural chemical defense that many harmful insects can't tolerate. Garlic, mint, marigolds, chrysanthemum, chives, onions, horseradish, nasturtiums, and many herbs such as rosemary and oregano can be planted in problem areas such as around vegetable gardens and tender annual plantings.

Do One Thing at a Time

Don't perform two large garden tasks on plants at one time. For example; don't prune and fertilize or don't plant and fertilize at the same time. Plants need time to adjust to changes. After pruning or planting, wait until you begin to see new growth prior to fertilizing.

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