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Keeping soil moist and summer pests at bay


Last updated 8/3/2007 at Noon

Round it out and keep all your plantings organic and happy!

You can still plant corn, squash and cucumbers one more time. The next six weeks will be HOT, HOT, HOT! If you have any fruit trees, nectarines, plums, peaches, berries or apples, pick and enjoy. You can summer prune fruit trees, but never take off more than one-eighth of the tree at one time, and only cut back branches six to eight inches. This is a great way to control the growth of the tree and prevent broken branches in the future.

The ornamental landscape only wants to be able to tolerate the heat with good watering practices, lots of mulch and some good organic fertilizer. It’s too hot to do any foliar spraying, as the oils in the sprays could burn the leave of the plants. Even insect control with soaps and oils can be touchy; try to use water sprays to get rid of any pest that is causing a problem.

Some botanical sprays are not heat-sensitive and can be used. Talk to a farm supply store about these products. As it cools we will knock back any pest problems and control them. Another way to keep insects at bay is to plant native species of bird-attractants, including salvias, manzenitas, elderberries, huckleberries and Hawthorne berries.

I do not like to see plants dry out this time of the year. If you mulch first with straw and then with bark, it looks beautiful, retains soil moisture and keeps weeds from growing. Additionally, landscape cloth is porous and breaths well. If it is put under the mulch in the ornamental garden, it will control weeds and help to retain soil moisture. These make the ornamental garden a thing of ease and beauty.

A combination of organic fertilizers should contain rock dust for minerals, feather meal for nitrogen, soft rock phosphate for phosphorus, greensand for potash, kelp and alfalfa meals for root stimulation and trace minerals, a good compost for the biology it contains and humic acid for humus. If spread for the next two months around ornamentals, they will shine and get some great strength to make it through winter.

Prune ornamentals very gently this time of the year, never going back past the green leaves to the wood. This will stimulate them to grow and you will keep a manicured look going.

I like to maintain a landscape equal to where I would love to live. I really enjoy Fallbrook because of the diversity of plants that can be grown in the frost-free areas. We have sequoias, pines, water plants, mangos, bananas, tree ferns, fuchsias, sago palms, cactus, coral trees, palm trees, bamboo and more. It makes me feel like I am at home in the forest – lots of fun food to eat and lots of beautiful plants to watch.

As we get into fall we can look more at planting, growing hedges and getting our fall/winter gardens going. There is a time that the summer gardens overlap with the early winter veggies and make the most delightful of meals.

As always, “Lessen your carbon footprint by keeping your home and its surroundings organic.”


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