Well, I don’t know if there will be a winter this year or not, but other than windstorms, there hasn’t been much winter in evidence. As I started to write this, it was sunny and unusually warm outdoors and I suddenly remembered that early warm weather makes trees bloom early….I leaped up and shot out the door to start pruning my trees and grapes.
Pruning: So this is a reminder to get started now on pruning, especially if you have a lot to do. Start with the earliest flowering trees, such as cherries and peaches as they are most likely to burst into bloom soon. Be sure to only prune cherries and peaches on a dry day, frequently sterilizing your pruners as you go to avoid spreading bacterial canker, which is all too common on these trees in the coastal climate. To sterilizer tools, wipe your pruners with rubbing alcohol or soak them in 1 part hydrogen peroxide bleach to 9 parts water and rinse well.
Read more about Pruning, Grow Lights, #*!#*@#! Spotted Wing Drosophila and Yams
The recent cool weather is giving way to what is forecast to be pretty hot weather starting this weekend. This is a reminder that if you haven’t done so already, do finish mulching vegetables before it gets hot; it will conserve soil moisture and keep roots cool. Some people had quite a bit of rain, others not so much over the last week—but at least it was something after the driest May on record. It was so dry in May that powdery mildew showed up on a variety of plants (strawberries, kale, roses, etc.)--much earlier than we usually see it. On the other hand, some diseases of wet weather, such as apple scab, were noticeably absent.
Because it has been cool, young leaves of vegetable will be tender and prone to sunscald damage. Temperatures that could fry leaves this week wouldn’t likely damage plants later in the summer after leaf cells have had time to adapt to summer weather. Be ready this weekend to deploy some k…
Just a quick note this time, but I couldn’t let another day go by without reminding everyone that it is time to sow seeds of Brussels sprouts and any cabbage varieties that need over 120 days to mature (e.g., January King, Danish Ballhead, Red Langedijker). Getting the timing right for these crops seems to be a perennial problem for many due to conflicting information on seed packets and from nurseries. The long season cabbages really do need the whole summer to develop a good-sized head, but no matter what size they are by fall, they still provide a harvest. Timing of Brussels sprouts, on the other hand, is a trickier because if sown too late (after the first week of June), plants usually don’t have enough growing season left to produce sprouts before winter—and if they don’t form sprouts by the end of October, they aren’t likely to have them at all. Of course you can sow Br. sprouts earlier, but by waiting until now to sow them, you largely avoid …
Our cold spring continues…with the soil too soggy to work in many gardens, especially after this recent heavy rain. If you squeeze a small handful of soil and it stays together in a compact clod, then it is too wet to handle; it should be moist but still easy to crumble apart after you squeeze it. Trying to turn in amendments in wet soil compacts the soil and crushes the air spaces that let in oxygen and let out carbon dioxide (plant roots, soil microbes, earthworms, etc. all need to breath). If hard clods form when your soil dries out, it is a sign of compaction, often seen in clay soils. Wait until such soil are drier before handling them and keep adding compost and organic matter from mulches to improve soil structure.
Gardeners are always eager to get out there and plant something, but really, there is no rush, especially if have crops in the ground year round. If you are not harvesting lots of overwintered crop…