Author Article Archive - iguanawebco

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December

  • Rhubarb clumps can be dug and divided, suggest once every 5 years
  • Turn compost pile, cover to prevent leaching
  • Apply dormant sprays during winter when dry and above freezing; use lime sulfur and oil, controls some diseases and insects of fruit trees and shrubs (will not control scab or brown rot on stone fruits)
  • Lime if pH test warrants
  • Wood ashes on garden soils raise pH, supplies potassium and calcium, save and apply in spring, no more than 25-30 pounds of ash per 1000 square feet
  • Take cuttings for HOS Scion Exchange. Best to collect laterals for earlier fruiting
  • Bare-root planting suggested as long as soil is not frozen
  • Check condition of any stored produce regularly
  • Cut open and remove seeds from any vegetable that you have been saving for seeds, store seeds in temperatures between 35°F and 45°F (not freezing, but cold enough to retard enzyme activity)
  • Clean, sharpen and repair tools
  • Clean labels for reuse; recycle flats, pots, and trays by sterilizing
  • Check stakes and other supportive devices now to ensure stability throughout winter
  • Best to leave ice-covered branches alone, as they may break off easily, after sufficient thawing, assess damages, pruning may be necessary
  • Grab some good books, sit back, and enjoy the winter

November

  • Harvest all fruit; do not leave mummies in trees
  • Continue to rake and compost leaves
  • Destroy all diseased fruit
  • Cultivate around plums, cherries, and peaches to discourage brown rot
  • Plant garlic for harvest next August
  • Mulch around berries for winter protection
  • Tie red raspberry canes to wires; prune to 1 foot above wire or wrap cane around top wire
  • Best time to transplant trees and shrubs
  • Prune roses to 3 feet to prevent wind damage
  • Cover rhubarb and asparagus beds with strawy manure
  • Use winter cover crop, or mulches, or fir boughs to prevent soil compaction and erosion control
  • Good time to apply lime if needed (see October)
  • Remove cardboard bands (codling moth control) when last fruit is harvested from apple and pear trees, destroy bands
  • Protect lower portion of HAYWARD Kiwi with insulation; they go dormant from tip to base, an early hard freeze may kill at ground level
  • After plants are dormant and soil cold, apply a thick (2-6 inch) layer of mulch, rotted manure, compost, mushroom compost, or yard debris compost, helps to moderate soil temperature, retain moisture, delay spring bud break
  • Check moisture around plants near foundations and under eaves, water if necessary
  • Cut back chrysanthemums to within 6 inches after the last flowers fade, will bloom in spring
  • Stay on slug patrol
  • Sow hardy annuals, candytuft, clarkia, larkspur, linaria, and wild flower seed mixes
  • Take currant and gooseberry cuttings and stick in ground
  • Clean garden tools for storage, oil moving parts
  • Sharpen pruning tools
  • Drain outside hoses and store in warm area
  • Plant spring-blooming bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and snow drops
  • Record first frost
  • After first frost, dig dahlias and glads and store for winter
  • Winter scald occurs when temperatures rise, causing sap to rise, then it freezes, killing cambium, can be lethal or on west side of plant, foam pipe insulation, bubble wrap or tree wrap can help prevent scald
  • Protect cold-sensitive small plants with row covers, i.e., Reemay, Agronet or Frost Blanket
  • Protect roses by hilling up 12 inches of soil around stems
  • Reduce wind chill with a 4-6 sided enclosure made with tall stakes and tied burlap

October

  • Keep harvesting, watering if needed and cleaning up
  • Collect and destroy fruit drops daily
  • Rake up and compost leaves
  • Plant, by broadcasting, winter cover crops in any empty space; reduces weeds by outgrowing, reduces soil erosion and compaction, adds organic matter, plant per 100 square feet, 3 lbs Austrian peas, or 3 lbs. Fava beans, or 1 lb. alfalfa, or 1 lb crimson clover, or 1.5 lbs vetch or 2-3 lbs annual winter rye before fall rains start
  • Spray cherries, peaches and nectarines for Coryneum blight with copper
  • Record harvest dates
  • Record frost date
  • If you had bad disease problems this year apply another spray of copper with horticulture oil for insects, before heavy autumn rains begin
  • After final harvest of ever-bearing raspberries, cut canes to ground
  • Train next year’s blackberry and spring-bearing raspberries on supports
  • Prepare straw bed for peas and early potatoes (i.e., turn soil, cover with straw)
  • Apply 3-4 lbs dolomite lime per 100 square feet to lawns and vegetable beds every 3 to 4 years
  • Thatch lawns if needed (if you use organic fertilizers you will never need to thatch again)
  • Mulch strawberry and blueberry plants
  • Protect base (3-4 feet) of Hayward kiwi from early frost (they go dormant from the tip to the base)
  • Place mulch of manure or compost on asparagus and rhubarb

September

General Maintenance Of Gardens

  • Slug patrol; as the fall rains start the slugs will appear, each one you get rid of now will prevent about 100 in the winter and 200+ by next spring, corrugated cardboard placed glue side down is a good concentrator of slugs, check daily, place slugs in container of soapy water, after death add to compost pile
  • Mildew time: with higher humidities of August and September nights, powdery mildew as well as several other leaf spot diseases will appear, see August for control formula
  • Record harvest dates
  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs
  • As perennials stop flowering, you can transplant
  • Cuttings of broad–leaf and conifers can be rooted this month
  • Most evergreens can be transplanted with minimum loss, water in well
  • Plant, by broadcasting, winter cover crops in any empty space; reduces weeds by out- growing, reduces soil erosion and compaction, adds organic matter, plant per 100 square feet, 3 lbs Austrian peas, or 3 lbs. Fava beans, or 1 lb. alfalfa, or 1 lb crimson clover, or 1.5 lbs vetch or 2-3 lbs annual winter rye before fall rains start
  • Mulch winter beds with organic matter, turn under in spring
  • Start a compost pile if you do not have one
  • As fall approaches, leaves are sending nutrients back to stem and roots, they are weak, therefore, disease and pest prone, do not over-react
  • Apply fall lawn organic fertilizer application before fall rains

Plant Specific

  • Prepare bed for peas and potatoes using straw method (e.g., turn soil, do not break up clods, cover with 6″ straw)
  • Harvest potatoes when tops die back, if persistent, partially break stem at ground level
  • Harvest squash after frost, cut a two-inch stem on both sides of the squash stem, cure in warm room for 10 days, then store in cool area
  • Prepare fuchsias and geraniums for over wintering, cut back plants to edge of container and store in a dry area that will remain above freezing
  • Make cuttings from fuchsias and geraniums for new plants

Fruit Tree, General

  • Clean up fallen fruit twice weekly, destroy if wormy or diseased; do NOT place in compost pile

Fruit Tree, Specific

  • Destroy cardboard bands on apple and pear trees (used to trap codling moth larvae) when harvest is finished

August

General Maintenance Of Gardens

  • Record harvest dates
  • Root cuttings of broad–leaf evergreen shrubs
  • Plant seeds of perennials, biennials and hardy annuals
  • Black sooty mold (BSM) is often observed on all kinds of crops, it is a fungus that feeds on the “honey dew” droppings of sucking insects (scale, aphids, white fly, mealy bugs), to be sure it is BSM, rub it off the leaf with your fingers and if the leaf is not damaged it is BSM, control sucking insects
  • Mildew time: with higher humidities of August and September nights, powdery mildew as well as several other leaf spot diseases will appear, mildew and leaf spots on Mahonia, Photinia, Holly, Skimmia, Pieris, Azalea, Lilac, Euonymus, Hydrangea, Maple, squash family and many others, control with sulfur or 1 T Baking soda and 2 T horticulture oil per gallon of water, test spray a few leaves before spraying whole plant, OR spray with compost tea
  • Check compost pile, may require watering, turn to prevent fly maggots, use yellow sticky boards for fly traps

Plant Specific

  • Plant seeds of turnips, beets, radishes for fall harvest
  • Before middle of August plant seeds of spinach, Chinese cabbage, collards, mustard greens, chard, and leaf lettuce
  • Lilies can be dug, separated, replanted after foliage turns yellow
  • After harvesting raspberries and blackberries from producing canes, prune old canes to ground and remove
  • Clean and fertilize strawberry beds

Fruit Tree, General

  • Summer prune the first week in August, if west of Cascades (WA, OR), cold climates do not summer prune
  • Pick up and destroy diseased, spoiled fruits and windfalls weekly
  • Start summer bud grafting
  • Water young trees
  • Start support for heavy branches
  • Scale insects: the best time to control is during the crawler stages, from late June, July and into August, spray with horticulture oil

Fruit Tree, Specific

  • Apple: keep up on apple maggot traps
  • Apple: keep up with codling moth traps, the second generation will appear near end of August
  • Summer apples should be picked as soon as ready, they do not store well
  • Pear: ‘Bartlett’ and early pears may be ready for harvest by end of August, harvest if yellow–green and seeds brown
  • Cherry: clean cherry fruit fly traps

July

General Maintenance Of Gardens

  • Fertilize container plants often, with a slow release or organic fertilizer like fish fertilizer, recommend 25-50% strength
  • Divide or move spring-flowering bulbs after their foliage has died back
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs if needed
  • Keep compost pile moist during warm weather; add weeds, grass clippings and kitchen wastes
  • Early morning is best time to water, deeply and infrequently
  • Mulch after soil has a chance to get warm, paper, sawdust, not plastic

Plant-specific

  • Ground covers, once bloom is gone clip and feed with complete organic fertilizer (kelp, alfalfa meal, canola meal)
  • Prune long stems and shape azaleas and rhododendrons
  • In hot weather, container plants require more water, give them special attention
  • Fertilize June-bearing strawberries after harvest, remove dead leaves and other debris, pin runners for new plants
  • Plant fall garden – seed directly into soil, radishes, lettuce, bush beans, onions, carrots, turnips, beets
  • Plant seedlings of cabbage family
  • Divide irises as they finish flowering
  • Stake tomatoes, sunlight does not ripen tomatoes, the gaseous plant hormone, ethylene does, therefore leave leaves on
  • Tomatoes, spray with compost tea to control early and late blight
  • Control hollyhock rust by compost tea spray and sanitation, picking infected leaves

Fruit Tree, General

  • Scale insects: the best time to control is during the crawler stages, from late June, July, and into August, spray with horticulture oil
  • Pull off water sprouts as you see them, they will not grow back, and will help with calcium deficiencies and less shading of fruit
  • Water young trees if dry, at drip line and beyond

Fruit Tree, Specific

  • Apple: set traps for apple maggot
  • Apple: set traps, pheromone or water/molasses for codling moth in apples and pears
  • Apple: examine fruit for bitter pit (early varieties) – spray with calcium spray and remove larger of the water sprouts forming in July and first half of August
  • Cherry fruit fly larvae drop from tree to soil, may be controlled with Nc nematodes [if soil temperature 60°F (16°C) or above], apply to soil beneath tree, keep top 2-3″ soil moist, Nc feeds on pupa
  • Place tarp under tree to prevent the cherry fruit fly larvae from entering the soil

June

General Maintenance Of Gardens

  • Thin seedlings, so that leaves do not overlap, after final thinning root crops should be at least 4 inches apart
  • Side dress leafy vegetables with blood meal, contains nitrogen for leaf growth
  • Side dress root crops with wood ashes or seaweed, contains potassium (potash) for root growth
  • Side dress flowering and fruiting plants with bone meal, contains phosphorus for fruit and flowers

Plant Specific

  • Use netting or sticky boards to keep birds away from blueberries and cherries (new product 1996, Bird Shield for cherries, try on blueberries)
  • Start seeds of cabbage family for fall planting in 5 to 7 weeks
  • Pinch back dahlias and fuchsias; remove stem tip and the hormone auxin, to promote branching
  • Train grapes, young kiwis, blackberries and raspberries
  • Prune established kiwis and untangle them where shoots are twisting on one another
  • Direct seed: plant corn, beans, squash, pumpkins and cucumbers in first half of June
  • Transplant tomato, eggplant, melon, pepper seedlings
  • Remove faded iris blossoms (nutrient sink concept)

Fruit Tree, General

  • Remove water sprouts from fruit trees, pull or rub off
  • Water one inch per week if dry, apply slowly to avoid run-off but conserve
  • Inspect plants for insect problems, aphids, leaf hoppers, cherry and pear slugs, don’t act unless problem is severe, give natural control a chance, spray with pyrethrin or rotenone (CAUTION: Broad Spectrum Killers)
  • Aphids: Late spring and summer: control ants, control aphids with M-Pede, insecticidal soap

Fruit Tree, Specific

  • Apples and pears: Late spring and summer: set traps, pheromone or water/molasses for codling moth in apples and pears, check blossom ends for codling moth frass, remove fruit.
  • Apples and pears: Late spring and summer: Isomate-C, mating disruption for codling moth, remove lose bark from tree, removes hiding place for pupa; wrap corrugated cardboard bands (ridges inward) around trunk of tree, encourage larvae to pupate, check if found, remove and burn, use for first and second generation moths.
  • Apples: continue to examine shoots and leaves for San Jose scale crawlers spray with summer oil
  • June drop, tree selects which fruits will develop, not well understood, probably based on number of seeds in fruit and photosynthesis
  • Thin apples (30-40 leaves per fruit), peaches (50-75 leaves per fruit) and pears after June drop, or leaving 1 fruit every 6 inches, who has time to count leaves (nutrient sink concept)
  • Continue scab and mildew control, if weather moist removes spent flowers from annuals to encourage more bloom
  • Scale insects: the best time to control is during the crawler stages, from late June, July, and into August, spray with horticulture oil or fish oil