Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

May, 2003
Regional Report

Prevent Powdery Mildew Disease

To avoid powdery mildew disease on roses and apple trees, thin branches for better air circulation. Keep water off the leaves of begonias and zinnias, and try not to water late in the day. Pick off diseased leaves of any plants.

Plant Warm-Season Veggies

It's finally warm enough in coastal areas to plant warm-season vegetables, such as tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, and peppers; and herbs such as basil and cilantro. To get the quickest, most productive crop, plant in well-draining soil in the sunniest spot.

Apply Organic Mulch

Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around trees, shrubs, and perennials to help retain soil moisture and prevent weeds from cropping up. Organic mulch could include straw, bark, shredded leaves, or compost. Keep the mulch a few inches away from trunks and main stems to prevent crown rot.

Conserve Water

Install a drip irrigation system in your vegetable or flower garden to help conserve water. Drip irrigation eliminates water loss from spray evaporation and surface evaporation. You also can water more often without causing fungus to grow on the leaves of your plants.

Check for Insects

Check young plants for insects. In particular, watch for cabbage worms on cole crops, Mexican bean beetles on beans, and flea beetles on lettuce, radish, and potato foliage. Remove insect pests by hand or put a barrier screen, such as a floating row cover, over new plants.


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