Pacific Northwest

June, 2012
Regional Report

Welcome Eight-Legged Pest Controls

House spiders make quick work of houseplant pests. Whenever I find a spider indoors, I pick it up carefully by sliding a stiff piece of paper beneath it and take it to a group of houseplants. Spiders have no interest in me, but they love to feed on the insects and other pests that plague plants. I think they work just as well as chemical sprays. When the spiders move along, you can be sure your plants are pest-free.

Keep Your Old Calendars

In my current calendar I write down on a weekly basis what I did of note in the garden and what I should do next year to improve things. Every New Year's Day I transfer what needs to be done in the new year onto the appropriate page of the new calendar. I don't toss out the old calendar. Instead, I keep it so that I will have an accurate running record of things I've done in the garden.

Separating Rooted Cuttings

I propagate many plants by rooting cuttings in a potting mix. I usually have five or six going at a time in the same container. Frequently the roots of the cuttings fill the potting mix, making it difficult to separate them at planting time. I've found that if I shake free the excess soil and then place the cuttings into a bowl of water, most of the tangled roots float apart. Those roots that remain tangled can be pulled free with very little damage.

Pinch Out Tomato Plant Suckers

Suckers are the narrow stems that grow out at a 45-degree angle right at the crotch where a larger stem meets a main stem. If not removed, the sucker will grow into a tangled mess of stems which can crowd the plant and reduce tomato yield.

Remove Spent Blossoms

Many perennials and some annuals have finished that first flush of blooms and may now be producing seeds. Some perennials will rebloom if the old flowers and developing seeds are removed. This process is called dead heading. The old or spent blossoms should be cut off where the flower stem connects to the leaves, usually several inches down in the plant. Since dead-heading also removes unsightly, dry flower heads, it also improves the appearance of your garden.

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