Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

May, 2001
Regional Report

Mulch Gardens

To save precious water and to discourage weed growth, spread a protective layer of organic mulch over the surface of the soil. Examples of organic mulches are newspaper, pine needles, and straw. For a large garden, consider getting a local tree service to dump a load of tree chippings in your yard. It's work to move them, but they make an excellent mulch.

Prune Spring Flowering Shrubs

The very best time to prune spring flowering shrubs such as lilac, forsythia, redbud, weigela, and spiraea is right after they finish blooming. They will put on new growth after pruning and may produce some fall blossoms for you to enjoy.

Remove Azalea Flowers

Remove the spent flowers from azalea and rhododendrons to encourage new growth at the base of each flower head. With proper pinching, your plants will be lush and bushy, instead of tall and straggly. The spent buds snap off easily between your thumb and forefinger. Wear gloves to keep the sticky sap off your hands.

Plant Veggies

It\'s time to plant your warm season vegetable garden. The soil has warmed enough to plant sweet corn, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and basil. Protect new seedlings from hungry slugs and snails.

Fertilize Roses

Feed roses after they have completed their first bloom cycle. Use a balanced slow-release fertilizer and mix in some chelated iron for good measure. Spread the dry fertilizer into the surface of the soil, then water. Repeat every 4 to 6 weeks during the summer.


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