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GARDENING TIPS FOR SONOMA COUNTY


May 2018 Gardening Tips

www.thegardeningtutor.net - Clematis 'Multi-Blue'
Tropaeolum majus (Nasturtium) and Anchusa azurea ‘Alkanet’

MAY 2018

WEEDS!

    D0 you know that a weed seed can stay dormant in the soil for 100 years until something (the right amount of water, soil disturbance, fire or other change) starts the germination process? Yikes! Have you ever heard the adage ‘one year of seeds, seven years of weeds”? Am I trying to scare you? Perhaps.

    Weeds compete with your ornamental plants for nutrients and water in the soil. Some weeds can attract certain insect pests to your garden. The more you can keep ahead of the weeds, the healthier your plants will be. If you can eke out a piece of time to be in your garden and the garden is full of weeds, you may want to do some weeding instead of adding new plants. Need some alone time? One way for me to get time alone is to do the dishes or go out and pull weeds; everyone seems to vaporize when I start these chores.

    If there are too many weeds to pull by hand, at the very least go out and mow them down with the weed eater or lawn mower. Ideally this mowing is done before seeds are formed. If you missed this pre seed head time, after you mow the weeds down rake up the cuttings and remove them from your property. I have pulled a weed just before it went to seed and left it on the ground only to come back a few days later to see that the weed had gone to seed after I pulled it! If you are ahead of the seeds you can compost weeds such as dandelion; however, if you have Cynodon dactylon (Bermuda Grass) or other weeds that spread by underground rhizomes do not put them into your compost pile (remove these weeds from the property too).

    Sometimes people use a rototiller to grind up the weeds to make it easier to remove them but if you chop up perennial weeds such as Bermuda Grass or Convolvulus arvensis (Bindweed) you will just spread the problem.

    Watch The Gardening Tutor Video: Weeds for more tips.

    May 2018
    Gardening Checklist*
    What to SHOP for . . .
    Checkbox Annuals - Impatiens, Limonium (statice), Petunias, Salpiglossis sinuata, Tropaeolum majus (Nasturtium), Verbena.
    Checkbox Perennials - Agastache, Astilbe, Dianthus (Carnation), Campanula, Digitalis, Phlox subulata.
    Checkbox Shrubs -Phygelius, Spiraea, Philadelphus, Pieris, Hebe, Lantana.
    Checkbox Veggies -Tomatoes, Beet seeds, Summer Squash, Parsnip.
    Checkbox Etc. - Maxsea Fertilizer, Stakes, Bone Meal (put a tablespoon in bottom of tomato planting hole).
       
    Tasks to do . . .
    Checkbox Weeding - Continues to be super important this month. As new plants and veggie starts are trying to get established, weeds can inhibit their growth and compete for nutrients and water. If weeds start growing right next to your baby veggie plants, cut the weeds out instead of pulling them because you may pull up your veggies too. Cut the weeds out below soil level.
    Checkbox Tomatoes - Plant tomatoes deeply to encourage lots of roots. Remove the lower leaves and put the whole lower portion of the stem in a deep hole and cover with soil. You'll have about three or four sets of leaves above soil level. Remember to put about a tablespoon of bone meal (calcium) into the bottom of the planting hole and mix it with some soil. Adding calcium at planting time keeps your tomatoes from getting blossom end rot. Uneven watering can also encourage blossom end rot.
    Checkbox Pest Management - Cutworms, snails, slugs and earwigs do a lot of damage and can kill small plants overnight! Bait, hand pick, or place protective cups around young plants (for cutworms). Whichever you plan to do be consistent. This is a good time to have your large trees inspected by a certified arborist for overall health and possible pest problems. Many plants can show signs of fungal infestations now. Neem oil is a pesticide and a fungicide.
    Checkbox Pruning - Fuchsias: Pinch out the tip set of leaves from fuchsias as the new stems push growth. Repeat each time you see two or three new sets of leaves on a stem. This can be done three or four times and then stop pinch pruning to let the foliage fill in. This type of pruning helps create more branching, which means more fuchsia flowers! The time to prune Lilacs is right after the flowers have faded. Usually Lilacs do not need much pruning but pruning off the spent flowers will encourage even more flowers next year.
    Checkbox Warm Season Annuals - If you desire lots of bloom during the summer months, plant warm season annuals such as, Cosmos, Lobelia, Calibrachoa (Million Bells -a perennial grown as annual), Impatiens, Morning Glories, and Zinnias now so they can become established before the heat of summer.
    Checkbox Bees - Do you like a garden that is buzzing with life? Watch The Gardening Tutor Video: Bee Friendly Plants and How to Care for Them.
    Checkbox

    Mulch - Before you apply a layer of mulch to your garden be sure to wet the soil and after you apply the mulch, water it in. This is especially true for compost that is still hot to the touch (not aged completely yet) as the nitrogen in the mulch could burn your plants. Watch The Gardening Tutor Video: Mulch vs. Compost.

    Free printable . . .
      Looking for a way to stay organized in your garden?
    Download this Free Printable Gardening Checklist* and you’ll be amazed how inspired you’ll feel!
    Let us know how you’re doing. You can do it!
    Remember, this printable was created as a short list of tasks with minimal information. If you would like more in-depth information,
    you can always refer back to the checklist above each month for more details.
     

    The Gardening Tutor May 2018 Printable

    *Colors may vary depending upon your computer screen and printer.


*For More Detailed Gardening Tips
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Hands-On Individualized Gardening Instruction and Consulting in Sonoma County