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Garden Tips

EarthArt Landscape Architecture Monthly Garden Tips.

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January February March
April May June
July August September
October November December

January Garden Tips

Plant winter color. You can still plant for winter color.This is a good time to find Winter-blooming plants at local nurseries. Check the camellias as many species are flowering this month. Look for alyssum, sweet peas, calendulas, cinerarias, primrose, Iceland poppies, English daisies, snap-dragons, stock, and larkspur. Most will bloom during the winter months and well into early spring.

Plant bare root edibles and ornamentals. Fruits including horseradish, artichokes, asparagus, & rhubarb. Grapes, strawberries & cane berrys plant well too. Hardy shrubs, vines and shade trees plant easily this month.

Plant summer bulbs. Cana, crocus, tuberous begonia and tuber rose, dahlia and lilies are found in stock at most local nurseries. All summer-bloomers!!!

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Watering. It's been a great month for water here in San Diego county. There's not much need to supplement with hand watering as is the case during dry years. It's shaping up to be a perfect rainy season here, to help young, unestablished California natives to naturalize.

Perform dormant season pruning. Sharpen up your saws, & loppers, & shears and seize the moment! Deciduous trees & shrubs show their form now. Prune to open up the structure and form of trees shrubs & vines & eliminate rogue branching. Google has all of the instructions needed. For plants that are grown primarily for their blooms, wait until the blooming period is over before pruning them.

Tend to your bare-root plants. Keep roots of bare-root plantings moist both before and after you plant them. If you can't plant them right away, be sure to cover the roots with moist mulch or soil to keep them happy & healthy.

Weed management. The best way to pro-actively control weeds during the cool, wet winter months is mulch. One to two inches of mulch (free at the Miramar landfill) around veggie or shrub beds, as well as trees will retard seed germination and growth and make any weeding later on much easier and less time-consuming.

Groom your camellias. Keep the base of camellias clean and free of fallen leaves & flower petals. If you notice petals turning brown & rotting in the middle, that's petal blight!!! Try to keep the plant free of any infected flowers by removing them.

Spray dormant plants. Spraying leafless or dormant fruit trees and roses now helps reduce or prevent pest problems next winter. Aphids and scale and diseases such as peach leaf curl are easily controlled using horticultural oils alone or mixed with other chemicals (lime sulphur & fixed copper). In coastal areas, if plants are not leafless, withhold water to force dormancy before spraying.

If you have Christmas gift plants or ones that you've purchased for home decorating and are wondering if they're worth saving…it all depends on the plant. Certain species such as poinsettias, azaleas & ornamental peppers don't quite provide the same beauty as the original plant did. On the flip side of the coin, Christmas cactus, kalanchoe, and cyclamen can do quite well and re-bloom for years following normal care…the gift that keeps o giving.


February Garden Tips

Continue to purchase and plant camellias and azaleas.
Choose and plant Chinese magnolias
Purchase clivia
Plant gerberas
Begin to plant gladioli
Plant lilies of the valley
Fill in beds and pots with cool-season bedding plants, if necessary
Start seeds for flower and vegetable transplants
Plant more winter vegetables if desired
Plant asparagus from bare-roots (wait until March to plant from seeds)
Many succulents, including cacti, bloom in winter and spring; continue to purchase colorful types

Prune kiwi vine
Cut back fuchsias after they begin to grow
In coastal zones prune begonias, ginger, cannas, asparagus ferns, ivy, and pyrancantha
Deadhead cool-season flowers to keep them blooming
Mow cool-season lawns
Check warm-season lawns for thatch. Dethatch if necessary but wait until the lawn begins to grow
Level Bermuda lawns that need it, to prevent scalp marks from
Propagate running (usually hardy) bamboos in coastal zones
Continue to feed citrus trees in coastal zones
Continue to fertilize epiphyllums with 2-10-10 or0-10-10
Begin to fertilize avocado trees in coastal zones
Feed deciduous fruit trees
Fertilize roses
Begin to fertilize fuchsias
Feed cineraria with 0-10-10 or 2-10-10-
Fertilize cool-season lawns
Fertilize raspberries and other cane berries when they begin to grow
Spread manure over the roots of bananas, ginger, cannas,
asparagus, and old clumps of geranium

Continue to bait cymbidiums for slugs and snalils
Bait clivia for slugs and snails
Protect celery from slugs
Control pests on citrus trees
Control pests on sycamore, ash, and alder trees
Protect roses from pests and diseases
Trap gophers
Protect cineraria from leaf miners, aphids, and slugs and snails
Control crabgrass with preemergent herbicide
Hand weed flowers and vegetables

Water all garden plants according to their individual needs; don't water succulents
Water roses
Keep bulbs well-watered
Water cool-season lawns as required to keep them growing

Continue to harvest winter vegetables
Mulch young avocado trees
Make a compost pile
Mulch cool-season lawns
Aerate cool-season lawns if compaction has been a problem
Blanch celery a month prior to harvesting whole heads

Thanks again for your interest, support and referrals. They all help.


March is really the month that is the best month to put energy into your garden. It is the start of the spring planting season and during March you can plant most of our summer veggies, fruits, shrubs, and trees. Wait a month or two before planting any tropicals. If you've never gardened before, this is the best time to start because results come quickly as the days begin to warm up and photoperiod lengthens.

"A little madness in the Spring is wholesome even for the King."
-  Emily Dickenson, # 103

Continue to plant drought resistant plants.
Plant wisteria, azaleas, dahlias, water lilies, warm season flowers, any tubs and hanging baskets.
Continue to plant corn and other summer vegetables and herbs.
Plant tropicals.
If you live in the desert or in a hot inland valley finish all spring planning this month.
Start perennials from seed in interior zones.
Purchase, plant and transplant succulents, including cacti and euphorbias.
Now through summer choose, plant, and naturalize bromeliads.

"The first day of spring was once the time for taking the young virgins into the fields, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for nature to follow.  Now we just set the clocks an hour ahead and change the oil in the crankcase."  
-   E.B. White, "Hot Weather," One Man's Meat, 1944

Break off suckers from artichokes.
Remove suckers from tomatoes.
Take cuttings from epiphyllums, and root them to make new plants.
Prune roses by picking, deadheading, and disbudding.
Pinch back petunias when you plant them.
Start to prune and train espaliers as they begin to grow.
Propagate daylilies by planting their pups.
Thin out fruit on deciduous fruit trees.
Thin vegetable crops.
Feed citrus trees, avocado trees, fuchsias, tuberous begonias, irises, roses, water lilies, lawns, peppers when flowers show, and cycads.

Control crabgrass.
Continue to control slugs and snails.
Control rose pests and diseases.
Control fuchsia gall mites.
Control spider mites, Eugenia psyllid, ash whitefly, and leafhoppers.
Control weed among veggies and flowers by hand pulling.
Spray junipers and Italian cypress for juniper moths.
Spray with BT against caterpillars if necessary.
Protect corn from raccoons.
Cultivate to remove weeds among shrubs and trees.
"Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush." 
-  Doug Larson
Something to Smile About: What if you're wearing Birkenstocks filled with sand?
Water all garden plants according to need when rains are inadequate.
Keep all vegetables well watered, particularly globe artichokes.
Water roses.
Water lawns (including dichondra)
Don't let tomatoes dry out.

"Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"

-  Robin Williams

Keep bamboo from running into your neighbor's yard.
Treat cut roses to keep them fresh.
Begin to harvest potatoes as needed when blossoms show.
Harvest vegetables while they're young and tender.

Have a good March…Check out some of the local garden tours here in SD County…We have some of the BEST!!!!


• Bedding plants. Replace fading cool-season annuals with heat lovers such as escalosia, dahlias, marigolds, petunias, salvia, verbena, and vinca. Try starting cosmos, sunflower, and zinnia from seed, even if you're a novice gardener. They're all super-easy, make good cut flowers, and attract the beneficial insects you want in the garden.
• Rose companions. Planting perennials in your rose beds adds complementary textures, forms, and colors, and provides interest when roses are not in bloom. According to Wen Wang, rosarian at Descanso Gardens in Flintridge, good choices include catmint, cranesbill, feverfew, French lavender, lamb's ear, Shasta daisies, snow-in-summer, and veronica. We also like bearded iris, scented geraniums, and 'Indigo Spires' salvia.
• Roses. Container-grown roses are in full bloom and in plentiful supply at nurseries this month. Three outstanding newcomers ― all floribundas ― are worth seeking out: 'Julia Child', a delicious butter yellow; smoky purple, clove-scented 'Ebb Tide'; and 'Tuscan Sun', a deep apricot blend.,20869,724476,00.html"

• Vegetables. Coastal gardeners (in Sunset climate zones 21-24) can continue to plant quick-maturing, cool-season crops, including chard, leaf lettuces, radishes, and spinach. Inland (zones 18-21), switch to warm-season crops such as beans, corn, cucumber, eggplant, melons, peppers, summer and winter squash, and tomatoes. In the high desert (zone 11), wait a few more weeks; frost is still a possibility.,20633,702218,00.html

• Divide cymbidiums. If pots are too packed with bulbs, some brown and leafless, it's time to repot. Knock the root mass out of the pot and separate it into clumps by hand or with pruning shears. Keep at least three healthy bulbs with foliage; repot those in fresh potting medium designed for orchids.
• Fertilize. Feed trees, shrubs, groundcover, perennials, and other permanent plants. Try using a fertilizer containing iron on all plants, not just the chlorotic ones. That's Steve and Donna Brigham's practice at Buena Creek Gardens nursery in San Marcos. They use Best Super Iron (9-9-9 with 11 percent iron) to lower pH and brighten flower colors. Apply at half strength and water well after application.

• Combat powdery mildew. Warm days and cool nights are ideal conditions for powdery mildew. Prevent this fungus by hosing off foliage in the morning several times a week to wash off spores. To treat it, spray foliage with a baking-soda formula, such as 1 tablespoon baking soda plus 1 tablespoon canola oil to a gallon of water.
• Manage aphids. Keep the aphid population in control by stripping the pests from plants by hand. Wear thin disposable rubber gloves. Or dislodge the pests from plant foliage with a strong blast of water from a hose.
• Manage snails. Search for snails on strappy-leafed plants such as agapanthus and daylilies, then hand-harvest and dispose. Or trap by allowing them to collect on the underside of a slightly elevated board.

Lure bees to pollinate your fruits and veggies. The following bee magnets need only moderate water: Agastache, 'Mönch' aster, catmint, germander, lavender, rudbeckia, and Salvia chamaedryoides. See for more choices.

Cosmos, sunflowers, and zinnias are quintessential summer flowers ― neither fussy nor thirsty ― and are great if you're new to growing seeds. They also draw bees and beneficial insects. Other nonthirsty annuals include celosia, marigold, portulaca, sanvitalia, and sweet alyssum.

Plant beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, lima beans, melons, peppers, squash, tomatoes, and other warm-season crops. Delay planting two to four weeks in the high desert (Sunset climate zone 11) where frost is still a possibility. Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company is a great seed source for less common varieties.
Thanks to all of you for your comments and support over the year. I hope that these help you all to enjoy , maintain, and improve your garden's health. If you have any questions, I'd like to refer you to a GREAT gardener's website It is very comprehensive and has a tremendous amount of information. ENJOY this resource!!!!
Also, April is the best month for local garden tours. If interested in spending a beautiful day viewing gorgeous personal gardens, check out the Union Tribune's weelky garden calender at which lists upcoming area tours and garden events.

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If you planted your garden in March or April, May is the month to enjoy watching everything grow. With two months of planting, increased rains, warmer weather and a little fertilizer & all systems are GO!!! While conventional landscape plants are beginning a season of fast growth most of our drought-tolerant natives are now beginning to pull back for a long dry season. Withold the water from these as well as succulents.

Did you know that the month of May is:
National Salad Month, National Egg Month, National Barbecue Month, National Hamburger Month, and Fungal Infection Awareness Month in the U.S.

Continue to plant drought resistant plants.
Plant irises, canned roses, tuberoses, potted bulbs into the ground, zinnias, morning glories, warm-season lawns, melons
Continue to plant summer vegetables and herbs.
Set out cucumbers, eggplant, melon, peppers and tomato plants. Sow lima and snap beans, corn, melons, summer and winter squash.
Plant tropicals.
Plant a giant pumpkin for Halloween
Start perennials from seed in interior zones.
Purchase, plant and transplant succulents, including cacti and euphorbias.
Plant bananas, cherimoya, and other sub-tropical fruit.
Looking for something different? Try mandarinquats, a cross between kumquats and mandarin oranges with an edible rind, like the kumquat and a sweeter taste, like the mandarin.
May Day originated as a pagan holiday celebrating the Spring planting and was celebrated by the Romans, the Celts, and the English. It once was a period of great sexual license, which the Catholic church tried to suppress. People continued, however, to go out into the forest to collect trees for planting and green boughs where, well you know…they would celebrate!!! Dancing around the May pole became the more wholesome tradition.

Mow all grass lawns.
Thin out fruit on deciduous fruit trees.
Continue to tie up sucker tomatoes.
Continue to prune roses by picking, deadheading, and disbudding.
Pinch back petunias when you plant them.
Start to prune and train espaliers as they begin to grow.
Propagate daylilies by planting their pups. Cut off any spent blooms.
Thin vegetable crops.
Feed citrus trees, avocado trees, fuchsias, tuberous begonias, irises, roses, water lilies, lawns, peppers when flowers show, and cycads. Also feed ferns, azaleas and cymbidiums
after blooming. Feed all container-grown succulents with a well diluted complete liquid fertilizer.

Control crabgrass.
Continue to control slugs, snails and mildew.
Control rose pests and diseases.
Control fuchsia gall mites.
Control flea beetles on dichondra
Control weed among veggies and flowers by hand pulling.
Spray junipers and Italian cypress for juniper moths.
Cultivate to remove weeds among shrubs and trees.
Trap or control gophers before planting new lawns.

As weather becomes drier water all garden plants regularly. From now until November the gardner's main task is to water deeply and appropriately for each plant. In drought years, some plants may suffer from lack of adequate water in late Spring and summer.
Keep all vegetables well watered.
Water roses.
Water lawns (including dichondra)
Do NOT water succulents.
Taper off watering California native plants which do not accept water. However, all newly planted natives need irrigation to get started.
Study your sprinkler system to see whether adjustments can be made to conserve water.
Emerald is the birthstone for May. Hawthorne (raphiolepis) and Lily of the Valley (Convallaria) are considered the flowers of May.

Keep bamboo from running into your neighbor's yard.
Keep cymbidiums in semi-shade where they will get some sun.
Mulch camellias and azaleas.
Pull out cool season annuals that have finished blooming.
Harvest vegetables regularly.


Remember what it was like last summer?! June gloom never left us. Winter was summerier than Summer was!!! Have you noticed how relatively nice it's been up to this point (knock knock)? I'm going to shimmy on out on a limb and predict that we are going to have an incredibly fruitful summer. Regular warm, sunny days characterized by vigorous growth and a thriving landscape…in every sense of the word!!!

• Landscape plants. Because it is not yet scorching hot in the inland ares, now is a good time to purchase and/or plant good vigorous shrubs and trees. Most drought resistant plants transplant smoothly now as bougainvillea, and other drought-tolerant sub-tropicals such as blue hibiscus (Alyogene), natal plum (Carissa), crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia) , and coral trees (Erythrina crista-galli). Succulents & natives are still amenable to planting as is the transplanting of most palms.
Vegetables. Coastal gardeners (in Sunset climate zones 21-24) can now begin to fill in areas bare from early harvests. Green beans, leaf lettuces, radishes, carrots, beets turnips,and spinach can be started from seed now. Inland (zones 18-21), warm-season crops such as beans, corn, cucumber, eggplant, melons, peppers, summer and summer squash, and okra do well. In the high desert (zone 11), wait a few more weeks; frost is still a possibility. To increase the sustainability of your landscape, plant mango, banana, and melons at this time.

• Fertilize. Feed citrus and avocado trees. Feed fuscias, ferns, epihyllums,cycads, water lilys, bamboo, tuberous begonias, and roses. Most plants really expend a lot of energy in the Spring, attracting those vectors of love (the birds 'n the bees) and then manufacturing seeds of offspring. They get pretty hungry around now. Fertilize container-grown succulents, perennials & annuals with complete fertilizers.Feed cool-season lawns, dichondra, and camellias lightly.
• Combat powdery mildew. Warm days and cool nights are ideal conditions for powdery mildew. Prevent this fungus by hosing off foliage in the morning several times a week to wash off spores. To treat it, spray foliage with a baking-soda formula, such as 1 tablespoon baking soda plus 1 tablespoon canola oil to a gallon of water. If mildew is found, Neem Oil is an effective foliar spray for suffocating the mildew and it's organic.
• Manage whitefly. Whitefly hide, quietly and unobtrusively on the underside of herbs and veggies like tomatoes, mints, lantana, fuscias, and neglected patio plants such as ferns, palms and gardenias. These maddening pests will not only fly out from their hidde lair to frighten unsuspecting visitors in the garden, but they will embarrass the gardener…while sucking the life out f plants and leaving their shiney, weblike snails' trails behind. Keeping the whitefly population in control can be a daunting task due to the multiple stages of a whitefly's life, requiring prolonged and repeated treatments. Methods vary from biological control (ladybugs and spiders), home-made or store-bought traps, and insecticidal soaps.
• Manage snails. Search for snails on strappy-leafed plants such as agapanthus and daylilies, then hand-harvest and dispose. Or trap by allowing them to collect on the underside of a slightly elevated board.

Water. Water all plants except for natives, succulents, and some well-establisheddrought resistant plants. If it's really warm & really sunny an occasional hand-watering is in order. Keep veggies watered and cool-season grasses. Cut down water on warm-season turf. Don't let strawberries dry out.
Other Tasks. Harvesting from the garden sould be in full swing by now and increasing over the summer. Time to reset lawnmower blades for cool-season lawns if not done yet.. practice crop rotation. This helps prevent soil depletion of nutrients and buildup of pests and fungi in the soil.

Thanks to all of you for your comments and support over the year.


As the weather gets warmer, schedule your gardening for early morning and late afternoon when the air is cooler and the sun not so intense.

Deadheading 101

Keep deadheading. For the most flowers and tidiest garden, deadhead daily. Some gardeners take a few minutes each morning, making it part of their daily routine.
Click here for deadheading tips: 
Keep up with watering chores. While you're at it, give your trees, shrubs, and perennials an occasional hosing down from top to bottom to wash off dust and pests.
Keep new plantings well-watered.
When annuals or perennials get leggy or scraggly, consider cutting them back by one-third or more. With some plants, this not only makes them look neater, but it also often encourages a fresh flush of growth and/or bloom.
Fertilize any acid-loving plants and any that may be showing an iron deficiency; for example, young leaves may appear yellow-green with dark green leaves. Acid-loving plants include azaleas, gardenias blueberries, and camellias.
Fertilizing Plants -- Fertilize containers. Constant watering flushes out nutrients. For more info on watering in pots, visit the Better Homes & Gardens website below:
Harvesting Vegetables

Keep up with the harvest from your vegetable garden. Be sure to pick small and often. Tiny filet green beans, for example, need picking daily. And be sure to remove rotting or diseased produce from the garden. They act as disease magnets.

Fertilize tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants for best growth, especially in upcoming cooler months.
Mow regularly, your best defense against weeds!
If you have a garden journal, keep up with it. Most garden journals drop off as the season progresses, but it's a useful tool 12 months of the year.
Plant late-summer flowering annuals and perennials, as well as heat-loving tropical and sub-tropical plants.
Vegetable Production -- Harvest veggies to keep them producing.
Most vegetables reach their peak flavor when they're young and tender. Try these strategies for the freshest, tastiest home-grown vegetables.

Beans, Broccoli, and Carrots and Beans
If you plant in mid- to late spring, beans continue to set through most of the summer if you keep picking them. For best flavor, pick them when they are thinner than a pencil.
Test Garden Tip: For variety, harvest some immature, or baby, beans and add them to salads. They have a slightly different flavor when they're young.

Don't wait for the broccoli in your garden to get as big as the ones you see at the grocery store to pick them; home-grown plants rarely reach that size. Cut the primary crown (where the individual heads come together) when it's about 4 inches across.
Test Garden Tip: Give your broccoli an extra dose of plant food and a crop of new flower heads will start to form where the leaves join the main stem.
Carrots are fully ripe when their shoulders reach up out of the ground and the leaves turn a rich, darker green than they were during the growing season.
Test Garden Tip: If you get impatient, you can harvest carrots as soon as they're large enough to eat. Plant extra so you can harvest baby carrots during the growing season while you wait for them to fully mature.
Tips for Growing Carrots, Corn, Melons, and Okra

If you grow newer corn hybrids, they'll hold their flavor for a week or maybe more. But regardless of the type, it's best to wait until the silks at the ear tips turn brown. Feel the ears and make sure they're full and solid.
Test Garden Tip: If you're not sure, peel back the husk and pierce a kernel with your fingernail. If the juice looks milky, your corn is ready. If the juice is clear, give the corn a little more time. 

Watch for cantaloupes to be ripe when they bear a yellowish color on the bottom of the fruit. Look for a brown line around where the stem attaches to the fruit. For watermelons, the best indicators are that the curly tendrils closest to the fruit turn brown and dry, the fruit goes from shiny to dull, and when the bottom of the watermelon (where it sits on the soil) goes from light green to yellowish. 

Onions, Peas, Sweet Peppers, and Hot Peppers & Onions
One good indicator that your onions are ready is when the foliage topples over. Dig the bulbs and store them in a dry place to cure for at least a week.
Test Garden Tip: If your onions bloom, harvest the blooms and use them in salads for extra flavor.

Tips for Growing Onions 
Onions, Peas, Sweet Peppers, and Hot Peppers
One good indicator that your onions are ready is when thefoliage topples over. Dig the bulbs and store them in a dry place to cure for at least a week.
Test Garden Tip: If your onions bloom, harvest the blooms and use them in salads for extra flavor.

It's best to pick them early; if they're left a couple of days too long, they'll go from sweet to starchy. Gather flat-pod snow peas when you see a hint of peas forming inside. Let snap peas plump up a bit before picking. Harvest shell peas before the pods have a chance to turn waxy.
Test Garden Tip: Like beans, you can harvest peas when they're still young and immature. They're also great in salads!
Peppers are more flavorful -- and nutritious -- if you allow them to ripen beyond the green stage. Most bell peppers will turn red, orange, yellow, chocolate-brown, or purple when fully ripe.
Test Garden Tip: Like tomatoes, peppers will continue to ripen after they're harvested.
Tips for Growing Peppers
Hot Peppers
Like sweet peppers, the hot varieties will have the best flavor if you let them ripen fully. They ripen best at warm temperatures -- so be patient during periods of cool weather and watch them carefully during hot spells.
Test Garden Tip: Wear gloves and wash your hands after handling hot peppers; the hot oils can irritate your eyes, nose, or mouth if the oils rub on them.

Potatoes and Salad GreensPotatoes
Don't worry if you can't wait for your potatoes to ripen; sneak a few spuds as they develop. Just feel around the top inch or so of the soil and gather the small, young potatoes. The tubers are fully ripe after the plants HYPERLINK "" bloom and start to turn brown and die back.
Test Garden Tip: Too much sun on the potato skins will cause them to become bitter and distasteful. Make sure your potatoes are mulched well and brought inside promptly after harvesting. For info on soil and blooming check these links out!!!

Salad Greens
Most salad greens are a great "cut and come again" vegetable. When they're about 4 inches tall, cut the tops of the leaves off and enjoy them in your salads. The plants will grow a new set of leaves that you can cut and harvest again.
Test Garden Tip: Plant a big patch and stagger your harvesting times so you can always have a fresh supply of greens during the growing season.

I HOPE THAT THESE TIPS HELP YOU WITH THIS MONTH'S HARVEST. Thanks to Better Homes & Gardens for their insights and guidance for the month of July.

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August Garden Tips

Transplant biennials started from seed in July. Replace unruly plants near swimming pools with plants with less leaf & petal drop and are less invasive. Transplant palms, any vegetable transplants that you may have.
In coastal zones, purchase and plant cacti, succulents and euphorbia. Grow transplants by starting seeds of cool-season flowers-pansies, primrose, stock, delphinium, snapdragons, violas, nemesia, Iceland poppies and cineraria are all good choices. Seeds for cool-season vegetables are good to start now as well.
Plant bananas, papaya, and palms. Plant buffer zones between chaparral and the home for fire prevention.
Purchase and plant cassia and flame eucalyptus in coastal zones.

Feed, fertilize these plants during August- water lilies, roses, container-grown succulents, tropicals, ferns, cymbidiums, fuscias, and tuberous begonias.
If cool season lawns show signs of nitrogen deficiency (yellow leaves and stunted growth), fertilize lightly, otherwise not at all.
Fertilize warm-season grasses other than Adalayd and kikuyu. Feed dichondra with half strength fertilizer.
DO NOT fertilize deciduous fruit trees at this time.
Fertilize warm-season biennials started from seed, with fish emulsion at weekly intervals.
Feed and water cycads.

Clean out native brush from buffer zones. Remove dead and dying foliage from date palms, Cut back petunias in mid-August to keep them flowering. Clean up daylilies and agapanthus by removing stems that have already bloomed. Trim unruly vines and trees planted close to swimming pools.
Prune and train wisteria, leave some dead fronds on Washingtonia palms to provide nesting for cardinals.
Cut off bloom stalks from yellow fortnight lilies; take off seed pods only from fortnight lilies.
Give roses and fuchsias a light midsummer pruning.
If you have treated crabgrass with a weed-killer, now is the time to remove the dead crabgrass.

Check your irrigation system and make adjustments for improved efficiency. Flush filters and headers in drip systems. Check for malfunctioning spray and drip emitters and install a new backup battery in timeclocks.
Keep an eye on all plants in hot, dry weather. Water vegetables, wisteria vines, deciduous fruit trees container plants, and succulents.
If lawns develop brown areas figure out what is causing it and fix it. Water warm season lawns deeply at least once a week. Water warm-season lawns more shallowly and frequently.
Rebuild watering basins. Make watering basins for large trees at the dripline, not around the trunk.

Continue to control weeds by cultivating hand pulling, and mulching.
Coastal fog or cloud cover this time of year can produce mold and fungus on plants. Look for signs on roses, Canary Island date palms.
Control pests on fuchsias.
Control white grubs on cool-season lawns and look for signs of sod webworm on lawns, particularly cool-season lawns. Control crabgrass after it turns red with a selective crabgrass killer, if needed.
Check cycads for scale.
Control fireblight by removing disfigured twigs and branches.
Control serious nematode and fungus problems with soli solarization.

Continue to harvest summer veggies. Harvest bananas when ready. Watch cantaloupes for signs of ripening.
Order seeds and supplies for Fall planting from mail order sources.
Gather seaweed for garden mulch. Untie palm fronds that were transplanted in June. Treat indoor ferns to a breath of fresh air in coastal zones by bringing them outdoors half of the time.

September Garden Tips

September marks the beginning of the fall planting season -- a busy time of year for lucky warm-climate gardeners.

Pre-chill hyacinth bulbs in the refrigerator to simulate winter. Chill tulip bulbs for 6-8 weeks before planting.Store in a paper bag in the crisper section of the refrigerator. (don't store with ethylene-producing fruit, like apples.) Plant after Thanksgiving.
Plant beds with cool-season flowers, such as pansies, calendula, candytuft, foxgloves, snapdragons, stock, and sweet alyssum.
Also plant cool-season veggies, such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflowers, lettuces and greens, potatoes, peas.
Dividing and Planting Perennials -- Divide or plant perennials now that bloom in spring or early and mid-summer.
Keep up with watering chores. Weather stays warm this month, so keep up with watering all plants in the ground deeply but infrequently. Established natives will need water only once a month or so. If you know Santa Ana winds are coming, if you can, water thoroughly before they arrive.Dusty leaves are a haven for mites and other sucking insects. Hose down your plants every so often to remove dust and dirt.

Feeding Roses -- Fertilize roses to encourage fall bloom. This month continue to fertilize warm-season lawns, such as Bermudagrass, but halt fertilizing of cool-season lawns, such as bluegrass. Fertilize any acid-loving plants and any that may be showing an iron deficiency; for example, young leaves appear yellow-green with dark green leaves. Acid-loving plants include azaleas, gardenias, blueberries, and camellias.

Fertilizing Plants -- Continue to fertilize containers containing annuals and perennials. Continue to keep up with watering chores. Soak plants in containers well. If you can't keep up or they're wilting anyway, move them to a shadier spot. Also give your compost heap an occasional dousing to promote necessary decomposition; and consider shading the heap to keep it moister longer.
Buy and Plant Bulbs- For best selection, buy bulbs as soon as they appear at the garden center. Most spring-blooming bulbs, such as tulips, hyacinths, and crocuses, will need to be pre-chilled in the fridge for 6-8 weeks to "fake" winter before planting outdoors.

Protect against wildfires- Dead vegetation adds fuel to fires. In fire-prone areas, before the Santa Ana winds come, cut and remove alll dead leaves and limbs from trees and shrubs, especially those that grow near the house. Clear leaves and twigs from gutters and remove woody vegetation growing close to structures.
Feed perennials- Feed established trees, shrubs, groundcovers and warm-season grasses, like Bermuda. Coastal gardners can also fertilize tropical plants with a fast-acting fertilizer one last time if needed. DO NOT feed California natives of drought-tolerant Mediterranean plants, and wait 3-4 weeks before fertilizing new transplants.


Spread Mulch- Hot Fall days are tough on camellias, azaleas, and gardenias. Protet these and other plants by renewing organic mulch to a depth of at least 3 inches. Keep mulch away from trunks of trees and shrubs.
Force Weed Seeds-When getting ready to plant, first water planting area in order to get weeds growing. As soon as weeds germinate, pull them out or remove with a hoe. Once weeds are removed new plants will have less competition for space, soil nutrients, and water.
Protect Plants from Wind-Santa Anas are blowing this month. Take down hanging baskets to keep them from drying out in hot winds. Support young trees with strong stakes and ties that won't girdle the trunks.

Project 3

OCTOBER Garden Tips

Tend roses
Mild-winter climates: Feed and water roses deeply to encourage a round of fall bloom.
Cold-winter climates: As you cut flowers to take indoors, shape plants. Allow a few hips to form, completing the flowering cycle and ushering plants into dormancy.
Get first pick of bulbs
Gather your flower bulbs as soon as they become available in nurseries. If you're first in line, bulbs aren't likely to be mixed together yet, and you'll have the best selection of the year.
Plant batches of them shoulder-to-shoulder in a pot for three weeks of portable spring color.
Mild-winter climates: Refrigerate the bulbs in paper bags (away from ripening fruit) six weeks before planting.
Harvest fruits and veggies
Keep them picked to keep rot from taking hold.
Eggplants. Harvest fruits when they're immature and shiny.
Peppers. You can pick any pepper when the pod is firm and fully developed. But for best flavor, pick after the pods show color.
Tomatoes. Pick after fruit colors fully. In fall, when night temperatures drop below 55°, pick any tomatoes with some color and ripen them indoors on a windowsill (dark green fruit never ripens).

Multiply by dividing
Dig and divide perennials such as bee balm, daylily, and Shasta daisy to reinvigorate plants and increase size and numbers of blooms.
Pop the whole clump out of the ground with a shovel or spading fork. Hose off the rootball, removing as much soil as possible.
Use a butcher's knife or pruning saw to cut the clump into quarters. Pull the quarters apart and further divide them with your hands or a knife. Each division should have a sturdy root and one to three leaf fans (more fans result in faster growth and flowering).
Plant a few wildflowers
Sow in weeded, prepared beds, being careful to plant a line of seed around the edge of the bed so it won't look ragged-edged (unless it's in a wild part of the garden).
Sow some of the same seed in a flat so you'll have a reference plot that shows the difference between weed and flower seedlings when both emerge in spring.
Move to cool-season annuals
Mild-winter areas: Try seedlings of pansy (pictured), calendula, dianthus, English daisy, Iceland poppy, lobelia, nemesia, ornamental cabbage and kale, primrose, schizanthus, snapdragon, stock, and viola. Continue to deadhead existing plants, and fertilize one last time early in the month.
Cold-winter areas: Pull up existing plants when frost hits. Shake soil off the roots and toss them onto the compost pile.
Plant ornamental grasses
Ornamental grasses bring texture, motion, light, and even sound to garden beds and borders. They also make great companions to potted annuals, perennials, herbs, succulents, and broad-leafed plants.
Weekly irrigation is sufficient for most varieties, and many get by with even less water. Don't bother with fertilizing ― grasses look better without it. Leave your chemicals in the garage; pests and diseases rarely affect them.
Choose trees for fall color
This is the best month for planting shrubs and trees that have great fall color; shop now and you'll see just what you're getting.
Cold-winter climates: Protect young tree trunks. Bright winter sunlight can make young tree trunks split and crack down their south sides. Protect them with a coat of white latex paint or a length of corrugated drain pipe split lengthwise. After trees are three or four years old, thickening bark prevents sunburn.

Get rid of pests
Mild winter climates: Control insects and snails. As fall flowers and vegetables start putting on tender new growth, aphids, white flies, and snails often move in to feast. The secret is to control them before populations get out of hand. Hose off plants invaded by aphids and white flies, then spray for the insects that remain with a pesticide like insecticidal soap. Bait for snails with iron phosphate (it's nontoxic to pets and humans), and squash them whenever you see them.
Cold-winter climates: Prevent snow mold. Rake the thatch that harbors snow mold out of the lawn, then spray turf with a fungicide, such as benomyl.

Make compost
As you clean out the summer garden, pile everything but diseased material onto the compost pile. Turn the pile and keep it moist. By next spring compost should be ready to use.
If you have compost already, work it into your soil now for earlier spring planting. Leave the surface rough so it absorbs winter moisture; the freezing-thawing cycle will break apart clods.
Cold-winter areas: Use the compost as a mulch to protect bulbs, perennial flowers and vegetables, permanent plants, and strawberry beds.

NOVEMBER garden Tips

Learn about the region Plant reference books targeting the Southwest can be difficult to find, but Greg Starr's new title, Cool Plants for Hot Gardens (Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2009; $25), is a standout in the genre. Starr, a horticulturist and teacher and the owner of Tucson's Starr Nursery, describes 200 water-smart plants that are specifically adapted to hot parts of the Southwest. You'll also find excellent photos, plants' natural elevation ranges, and which cities in the region are suitable for growing each plant.

For information on the following highlighted plants, cut and paste the following hyperlinks and search for the plant:
Alternative grasses As drought persists and water-use regulations increase, consider replacing conventional turf-grass lawns with low-water varieties of blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis 'Hachita') or buffalo grass Buchloe dactyloides 'Legacy'). Ready-to-plant plugs and blue grama seeds are available from High Country Gardens (800/925-9387).
Edible flowers and herbs  Sunset climate zones 1a-3b: Set out transplants of calendula, chives, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and society garlic. Zones 10, 11: Plant basil, bee balm, lemon balm, and pineapple sage. Zones 12, 13: Set out basil, chives, lemon verbena, and nasturtiums.
Low-water landscape plants Plant native and other low-water species now, when summer rains make digging easier.
Attract butterflies  Sunset climate zones 10–13: Draw these pollinators to your garden by planting mist flower (Conocli-nium greggii) and blue mist flower (Ageratum corymbosum). Both are heat-loving perennials with puffy powder-blue blooms. They mix well with other butterfly magnets such as 'New Gold' lantana and attract clouds of showy orange queen butterflies.
Grow zephyr flowers Zones 10–13: For blooms that arrive with the season's humidity, plant these summer-flowering bulbs now through November. The white-blooming version Zephyranthes candida) bears its crocus-like flowers from tufts of grassy foliage. Hybrid Zephyranthes x 'Prairie Sunset' has apricot-colored blooms and longer-lasting evergreen foliage during the hot months.
Plant veggies Zones 1a–3b: Sow seeds for arugula, bush beans, spinach, and turnips. Set out transplants of broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. Zones 10–11: Sow beans, corn, cucumbers, potatoes, and spinach. Zones 12–13: Sow bush beans, carrots, corn, green onions, summer squash, and turnips.

Control weeds Summer rains spur weed growth. In the early morning, before breezes pick up, either pull them by hand or spray with undiluted white vinegar, avoiding desirable plants.
Prune oleander To encourage fullness without diminishing height on leggy or woody plants, prune out one-third of the branches at the plant's base. To reduce overall size, cut the entire plant to 12 inches, then fertilize and water well. Watch for malformed flowers and warty growths ― signs of oleander gall, a bacterial disease. Cut out the affected parts and throw them away. Between cuts, disinfect pruning shears in a bleach solution (10 parts water to 1 part bleach) to avoid spreading the disease.
Cut back tomatoes Zones 10–13: Rejuvenate your tired tomatoes by shearing them back to a height of 1 foot, then fertilizing and watering deeply. This will spur new growth, yielding a crop that will begin to ripen in September.
Deep-water plants Regular, shallow irrigation can cause salts to build up in the root zones of landscape plants. Flush the soil by watering two to three times deeper than you normally do; for trees, leave a hose running at a slow trickle under the tree's canopy for six to eight hours.
Fertilize citrus Toward the end of the month, give trees their final feeding of the year with a citrus-specific fertilizer. Follow package directions for application rates and water thoroughly before and after feeding.
Reapply mulch After summer storms subside, cover bare spots in your garden with a new layer of mulch. If your garden is topped with gravel, add more (take a handful of your existing type in a plastic bag to a local sand and gravel yard to best match the color and size). Applying a fresh top-dressing is an easy way to give the garden a neat appearance without a complete makeover.


Turkey: Get whatever size you need

Cover the turkey, you will need:
Bleached muslin, a white pillowcase or sheet (wash before using)
One cup flour mixed w/ water, to a smooth, runny consistency but not too thin
A roaster pan, oval, not square
Rack for roaster
Kitchen twine

Season the Turkey, you will need:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup olive oil
1/3 bottle of dry white wine (the rest goes to the cook & assistant!)
4 mashed garlic cloves
2/3 tsp rosemary
½ tsp thyme
Dash of terragon
2/3 tsp. oregano
Whole bay leaves

COOK'S NOTE: Since it is necessary to baste the turkey only once (lightly) and that before the sheet goes on, take best advantage of the butter & olive oil by sautéing the mashed garlic buds and adding the seasoning prior to pouring the seasoning/oil mixture over the turkey. Then place the bay leaves on the breast in a pattern that pleases you. Pour wine into a cavity, or the pan, iF the turkey is stuffed, to enhance the flavor of the gravy.

Stuff turkey w/ your favorite stuffing recipe.
Place turkey on a roasting rack in pan.
Cover turkey w/ sheet and pull sheet around pan.

Tie sheet to pan perimeter with string and pull slack out of sheet. With a square pan it may be necessary to pin sheet up the backup to the top of the sheet, around the pan. You want to eventually create an airtight seal so make sure to tie the sheet under the lip of the pan.

Starting at the top of the turkey/sheet, pour the flour/water mixture over and, using your hands, work it into the sheet thoroughly, especially at the junction between the string and the pan.

For the actual cooking time, consult the wrapper of the bird & bake until the top sheet is the color that you would like the turkey to be. This may be, depending on the size of your turkey, 30-60 minutes less than the total time per pound listed in your cookbook. For example, a 12# turkey will cook at 325 degrees for 2:15-2:30. (I've found it best to go by the color as the bird can often cook even quicker than the recipe suggests if it's a bigger one…like a 20 pounder!!)!!!

Be careful removing the baked sheet as the steam builds up & is released when removing the sheet.


Happy Holidays

Project 3

December Garden Tips

Season's greetings to everyone!!!

Purchase & Plant
Bare root roses, trees, & vines
Purchase poinsettias early in the month. The best are picked early.Look for plants that appear healthy, no wilted bracts (the colored modified leaves that look like flower petals) or fallen leaves.
Plant Camellias & azaleas
Finish planting any Spring-flowering bulbs (except tulips, hyacinth, or crocus, on or before Xmas.
Purchase and plant any colorful perennial plants that you find in the nursery now to provide Winter color.
Plant culinary herbs in pots for turkey stuffing.
Plant more Winter vegetables

Trim, Prune, Mow, & Divide
Stop pickinh and dead-heading roses; leave the hips on the bush.
Start pruning deciduous fruit trees.
Don't prune tropicals.
Prune grapes, native plants, low-chill raspberries.
Mow cool-season grasses including Bermuda that's over-seeded with winter ryegrass.

Stop fertilizing potted poinsettias. Bring them into the house to enjoy. Don't fertilize roses.
Continue fertilizing cymbidiums until they start blooming.
Feed shade plants for bloom. Feed cool-season flowers for growth and bloom. Feed cineraria for growth.
Feed cool-season lawns, but not warm-season lawns except overseeded Bermuda grass.

Don't water succulents growing in the ground.
Continue to water plants, including California natives it the weather is hot, dry, or windy, as this is their best growing season.
Don't water roses.
Water cool-season lawns if Winter rains are inadequate.
Turn off the irrigation on all warm-season grasses once they have turned brown.

Control Pests, Diseases, and Weeds
Spray peach and apricot trees for peach leaf curl if you didn't do it in November.
Protect cymbidium bloom spikes from snails.
Control rust on dwarf snapdragons.
Use dormant spray on deciduous fruit trees and other woody plants.
Control rust on cool-season lawns by fertilizing and mowing them.
Control aphids with insecticidal sprays and beneficial insects.

Also This Month
Prepare for frost where you might expect it by sheltering tropical plants growing in containers.
Force budded cymbidiums into flowering, if desired for the holidays.
Keep an eye on the growth of potted bulbs; remove the covers when they reach the right height.
Prepare beds for planting bare-root roses next month.
Lift dahlias and store them for the winter.
Prepare amaryllis to bloom.
Protect tender annuals from frost. Especially cineraria.
Tie up permanent vines so they don't get knocked off by rain or wind.
Make a holiday wreath from succulents.
Use flexible stems of grape vines to make wreaths and baskets.
Harvest winter vegetables as they mature.

Looking Forward to a Fruitfully Prosperous New Yearfor All!!!
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!