Southern Coasts

May, 2001
Regional Report

Prevent Squash Vine Borers

If you've ever had a seemingly healthy squash plant collapse overnight from wilt, the culprit may have been squash vine borers. To prevent the adults borers from laying eggs on your squash, grow the plants under floating row covers until flowering. After that, watch exposed vines for clusters of eggs and scrape off any that you find.

Harvest Beans

Start picking bush beans as soon as they are 4 to 5 inches long. If you\'re growing haricot verts or French filet bush beans, pick them when they are even smaller. Let the plants bear for a few weeks, and then till the vines under to add organic matter and nitrogen to the soil.

Tea For Tomatoes

Tomatoes need to grow vigorously and steadily to bearing size. The vines should be as thick as your little finger by now. To help them along, water plants with compost tea. Put 1 cup of compost in 1 quart of warm water and let it steep for two hours. Stir, strain, and use.

Prevent Spider Mites

Dry summers can encourage spider mites to spread on junipers, verbenas, and many other plants. To prevent mites, keep foliage moist by putting a sprinkler or soaker hose under the leaves and turning it on once a week. Wetting the undersides of your plants regularly will keep spider mites from setting up shop on them.

Start Pinching Perennials

Stop pruning spring-blooming shrubs now so they can set next year\'s flower buds. Start pinching tall autumn perennials such as chrysanthemums, asters, and joe pye weed to control their height. Continue pinching new growth until July 1. You\'ll end up with a bushier plant with more flowers.

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