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Containers, cuttings and more to do in the garden this week – Orange County Register

1. Slug reduction. Greg, who gardens in Long Beach, sent an email touting turtles for slug control: “Two box turtles In my little 150 square foot garden keep the slug population down to near zero at the cost of a strawberry here and there. The turtles receive a few treats from us (grapes, melon) but they are on their own for food, essentially. Other recommended practices for slug (and snail) control include: trapping them in beer trays or under boards, creating copper tape barriers, sprinkling diatomaceous earth, and applying slug control products organics such as Sluggo, which comes in pellet form. Speaking of box turtles, their calming presence enhances the garden environment in addition to helping them control molluscs and insect pests. As Greg observes, they like to eat fruits that grow close to the ground and most leafy greens, for that matter. If you have succulents in your garden, you’ll want to fence them in as well, as turtles also have an appetite for Sedums, Echeverias, and Yuccas.

2. Vegetable gardens require excellent light. Exposure to full sun – that is, eight hours of direct light – is essential for most vegetables. To ensure good light exposure for your crops, plant tall plants at the northern end of your vegetable garden with increasingly shorter plants as you move south. Tomatoes and other solanaceous fruit crops (peppers and chili peppers, eggplant, tomatillo) can grow well with as little as four hours of sun exposure if located in a location where heat is reflected, such as on a patio terrace. concrete or near stucco walls. If you have less than full sun, root crops should still grow for you, in addition to asparagus, lettuce, potatoes, parsley, and most herbs.

3. Now is the time to make softwood cuttings, and chrysanthemums are ideal for this procedure, especially if you want a garden full of chrysanthemum flowers with the onset of late summer or early fall. . Fill flats or pots with moist perlite. Early in the day, take four-inch tip cuttings with at least four leaves. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cuttings, which are then inserted into the perlite, making sure that the lower remaining leaves do not touch the perlite. Keep the cuttings out of the sun and make sure the perlite stays moist. Within a month roots will form at this time – as long as the roots are an inch long – each cutting can be placed in its own small pot with a soil mixture. In a month, these sturdier cuttings will be ready to be planted in the garden. You can also take cuttings from these new plants to increase your stock of chrysanthemums. Other plants whose softwood cuttings root easily in perlite include Marguerite Daisies, Euryops Daisies, Pelargoniums/Geraniums and Ornamental Sages (Salvias). New growth from winter pruned roses also serves as excellent softwood cutting propagation material. In fact, most woody shrubs that have been pruned in winter to within 2 to 3 feet of the ground will produce new growth suitable for softwood cuttings. The closer new stems and leaves are to a plant’s roots, the easier it will be to root softwood cuttings of this new growth, because closer proximity to roots means a higher concentration of growth hormones root will be present.

4. Ann Christensen, a Manhattan Beach gardener, wondered about growing basil and dill in west-facing containers. I recommended hardy basilisks with a strong upright growth habit that reaches three feet tall. They include varieties such as Everleaf Emerald Towers, Everleaf Genovese, and Everleaf Thai Towers. Dill will thrive with a western exposure as it appreciates a good dose of sun – six hours a day at least. Likewise, it needs protection from strong winds. Plant dill at regular intervals to have a supply all summer long. The flowers are yellow, umbrella-shaped umbels, proving their kinship with coriander, parsley and fennel. Dill attracts beneficial insects such as hoverflies, ladybugs and parasitic wasps which make life uncomfortable for insect pests. Dill also provides a tasty improvement when it comes to pickling since its seeds, flowers, and foliage can all float in the same pot in which cucumbers or other vegetables are pickled.

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