Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

April, 2012
Regional Report

Wash Shrubs and Trees

Fill a portable sprayer with soapy water and spray the foliage of shrubs and small trees including the under sides of the leaves. The lack of rainfall this winter has left many trees covered with a layer of dust that provides ideal breeding conditions for mites and thrips.
Once the plants have a layer of soapy water, rinse them well with a strong jet to dislodge and remove any insect pests.

Plant Perennial Cilantro

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is a cool season annual. Did you ever wonder how cultures such as Vietnam and Mexico came to use them in their cuisine? They use the perennial version of this flavorful herb. Polygonum odoratum is sometimes called Vietnamese cilantro. Harvest the leaves whenever you want that special fresh flavor that only cilantro can provide.

Transplant Cactus

Use kitchen tongs to handle prickly cactus plants. Tip root bound cactus out of their restrictive pots and move to the next larger size. Use a specific cactus and succulent potting mix to allow for maximum drainage. Early spring is the ideal time to repot cactus before they begin to actively grow.

Care for Blueberries

Blueberries are actually members of the heather family. They are easy to grow and will reward your efforts with fresh, delicious blueberries in the early summer. They require full sun and ample water. Mulch in early spring with well rotted sawdust or pine needles. The roots are close to the surface, so do not cultivate the soil under the plants. Plant two or more varieties for best pollination and yield.

Compost Weeds Carefully

If weeds have gone to seed you might reconsider tossing them into your compost pile. Unless the pile gets hot enough to sterilize the seeds, it's better to dispose of weeds rather than compost them.
Ensure that your compost pile heats to the maximum temperature by placing it in full sun, providing equal amounts of brown and green material, turning it frequently and keeping it damp.

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