Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
To discourage weeds from taking over unplanted garden beds, cultivate the surface of the soil frequently. After planting the bed, continue to cultivate between plants to prevent weeds from germinating. The coveted plants will eventually shade the soil and cover the area, pushing out unwanted weeds.
Use thick pads of damp newspaper to mulch the soil under roses. Cover with decorative bark or wood chips. The newspaper will prevent weeds from growing, hold in moisture, keep the soil cool, and encourage earthworms to the area.
Use Tin Cans for Tender Celery
When growing celery, cut the bottom off a large tin can and place it over the developing plant. The can will shade the stalks so they stay white and tender. The can will also protect the plants from cutworms and earwigs.
Partner Carrots and Radishes
Plant 20 percent radish seeds with 80 percent carrot seeds. The radishes will be first to germinate, marking the area where the slower growing carrots will make a later appearance. The radishes will be harvested before the carrots need the room to develop. And remember, no manure for carrots. It causes them to grow in all sorts of odd shapes.
Combine Tomatoes and Asparagus
When the soil warms, plant tomatoes in the asparagus bed to protect the feathery fronds from attack by asparagus beetles and to shade the soil during the hot summer months, keeping the asparagus roots cool. The asparagus plants will repel nematodes that kill tomato plants.