North Coast Gardening | Tips for keeping a healthy garden – Times-Standard

Luckily we got some rain this spring to help soak the ground before the summer days set in. Yet we are in a drought period and need to garden with water conservation in mind. Here are some tips to help you keep your garden looking its best in May.

Warning: slugs and snails love the recent rainy and drizzly weather. Be sure to place bait and check plants often. The beginnings of newly planted flowers and vegetables are especially tasty for them.

Wait: Warm-season crops like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and basil don’t like cold, rainy days in May. Wait until the weather clears before planting these plants.

Watering: Generally around mid-May it is time to think about watering the garden. Check hoses, sprinklers and hose fittings for leaks.

Mulch: It is especially important that flower beds are mulched now before summer sets in, as we are now in a drought period. Installing soaker pipes and then placing mulch on top works best. This puts water directly into the root zone. Avoid overhead watering. Let the lawn turn golden this summer.

Fertilize: Due to drought conditions, it is important not to over-fertilize plants. Fertilize plants lightly and less often than usual. The reason for this is to maintain the health of the plant without putting out too many new shoots.

Terry Kramer is the site manager of the Humboldt Botanical Garden and a trained horticulturist and journalist. She has written a garden column for the Times-Standard since 1982. Contact her at terrykramer90@gmail.com.

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