Master Gardener Tips & Happenings - September 2006
We've been busy working in our gardens instead of sitting at the computer
writing monthly tips. We hope youâ€™ve been enjoying your gardens too.
If you're reading this, you survived this summer's unusual heat wave.
Perhaps you've had some casualties in your gardens. Sunburned fruit and
crispy leaves were immediate results, and other effects can take awhile to
show up. A stressed plant often doesn't show symptoms until weeks later. As
common as drying out, many plants were probably overwatered as the
naturally tendency during heat is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Our clay
soils tend to hold water well and can easily get waterlogged below the
surface, leading to root rot and ultimately the demise of plants. An
inexpensive ($5-$8) water meter purchased from a nursery can easily tell
you the moisture level below the surface.
Most trees (not native oaks) benefit from some summer watering - between
bi-weekly and bi-monthly, depending on the age of the tree and the extent
of the root system. They usually prefer to be watered deeply and
infrequently. Lawn sprinklers tend to keep the water in the top few inches,
never reaching the deeper tree roots.
Keep harvesting your vegetables so that the plants will keep producing. An
annual plant's main purpose is to reproduce itself, and once it has
completed its mission it can stop putting out so much energy. If you keep
harvesting before seeds mature, it will keep trying to produce for as long
as conditions permit. It will eventually stop producing when it no longer
has sufficient temperatures or daylight hours, but production can be
maximized during peak season by regular harvesting.
We're fortunate to have a great climate for growing vegetables year-round!
It's time to start getting your cool season vegetables in. Thereâ€™s still
time to start carrots, beets, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce,
spinach, and other greens from seeds or transplants. If there's room in the
garden they can be planted directly while the soil's still warm. Or they
can be started in containers for transplanting after the summer crops are
taken out and when they're strong enough to resist the pests that feed on
young tender growth. And don't forget the peas!
Now is the right time to prune apricots. While most fruit trees get pruned
during the dormant season, apricots can succumb to a disease called Eutypa
dieback if they have open cuts when it rains. More information on this is
available on the UC IPM (Integrated Pest
Management) website .
A new pest, the Diaprepes Root Weevil, is posing a threat to agriculture
and landscaping in our area. It affects 270 plants including citrus,
hibiscus, avocado, peach, guava, loquat, and oak. The Department of
Agriculture has mailed postcards to many residents of Santa Clara County
and we have posted a picture and other information on our website
. People who think they've seen a
Diaprepes Root Weevil should capture it in a jar and call 1-800-491-1899.
Visit our booth at the Santa Clara Home and Garden Show September 8, 9, 10
at the Santa Clara Convention Center and listen to our speakers
Have you seen our Palo Alto Demo Garden at Eleanor Pardee Park, 851 Center
Drive, Palo Alto? It includes a waterwise gardening, fruit trees for a
small space, cut flowers, and ethnic beds, and provides a wonderful example
of how a garden can be delicious and beautiful at the same time. A good
time to visit would be Saturday, September 9, 1:00-3:00, for our workshop
"Less Work, More Food - A Cool Season Garden". This from our flyer: "Find
out how simple it can be to have fresh vegetables coming from your garden
throughout the cool season when nature does the watering for you and bugs
and weeds are off duty!"
The Tomato Tasting on Saturday, August 19, was a big hit. Attendees learned
a lot from our speakers: Gary Ibsen from Carmel TomatoFest, Cynthia
Sandberg from Love Apple Farm, and Laramie Trevino from Master Gardeners.
And thanks to all who filled out tasting ballots letting us know your
favorites. This helps us to select which varieties to grow for our annual
Spring Garden Market in early April. The top vote-getters were Edâ€™s
Millenium, Brandywine from Croatia, Black Pearl, Sun Sugar, and Paul
Chile Tasting Sunday, September 17, 12:00-3:00 at Prusch Park at Story and
King in San Jose. Come sample 75+ varieties of chile peppers of all sizes,
shapes, colors, flavors, and sweetness and heat levels. Learn about
growing, harvesting, and using chiles. Free.
Fun for families is available at the Chinese Moon Festival at Overfelt
Park, McKee Road and Educational Park Drive, San Jose on Sunday, September
17, 2006, 1:00 to 5:00. The Master Gardeners will have activities for
Our sweet potato tasting at McClellan Ranch in Cupertino has been postponed
to later in the fall, due to nature. Weâ€™ll send the new date in the next
Sign up now for the Edible Gardening series taught by Master Gardeners at
the Campbell Community Center, Tuesday evenings beginning October 10. Call
Campbell directly at 408-866-2105 to register.
For more gardening information, call our Hotline at 408-282-3105,
Monday-Friday, 9:30-12:30 or visit our website at www.mastergardeners.org.