Pacific Northwest

July, 2012
Regional Report

Water With Care

It's important to provide an even supply of water to tomatoes to help prevent blossom end rot. Blossom end rot is a symptom of calcium deficiency. It isn't because there isn't enough calcium in the soil, but that there isn't enough water to carry it to the tomato on a regular basis. Routine watering is the best way to prevent blossom end rot.

Keep After Those Persistent Weeds

A common garden and lawn weed, black medic, is peaking at this time of year. The leaves look similar to clover, but this weed grows very close to the ground and develops small yellow flowers instead of the white flowers you see on clover. When soils are damp, the tap root is easily pulled up by hand. My favorite weeding tool to discourage persistent weeds is a dandelion digger.

Deadhead Those Perennials

A few perennials, like catmint (Nepeta), golden alyssum (Aurinia saxatilis), and candytuft (Iberis),need extreme deadheading in the form of shearing (to about 6 inches above ground level) to encourage a late summer rebloom. A good reference for perennial care is The Well Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust (Timber Press, 2006).

Watch Out For Slugs

Slugs and snails are a constant problem here in the Pacific Northwest. Handpicking or beer traps are easy control methods. For another simple trap, elevate a piece of wood a few inches off the ground in a damp, shady area. The slugs and snails that congregate there can be easily gathered up and thrown in the garbage. Use chemical baits only when other treatments fail and be careful so children, pets, and other wildlife do not eat any treatments, or use a non-toxic, iron-based bait such as Sluggo.

Help Those Veggies Grow

A vegetable garden needs one inch of rain or water each week. I think early morning is the best time to water. If you water at night, keep the water off the plant leaves. Leaves that remain wet through the night are more susceptible to fungal diseases. Be sure to mulch around plants to reduce water losses and improve yields.

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