Happy Harvest Day! How will you celebrate? A large crowd is expected for the UC master gardeners’ annual Harvest Day celebration today at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center (for details, see Page 3). Meanwhile, bring in your own crops. Harvest tomatoes, beans, squash, pepper and eggplants to prompt plants to keep producing.
• Help your garden cope with heat – and drought. Give most plants a deep watering once a week, more if they look droopy or grow in containers. Also, give them a boost with phosphate-rich fertilizer to help fruiting. (Always water before feeding.)
• Get started on the fall vegetable garden. Plant seeds for beets, carrots, Chinese cabbage, head lettuce, mustard, onions, parsley, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas and turnips.
• Watch out for caterpillars and hornworms in the vegetable garden; they can strip a plant bare in one day. Hand-pick them off plants in early morning or late afternoon.
• When fighting caterpillars , make a game of bug hunting. Let youngsters collect them in a jar. Identify the beneficial butterflies-to-be (and relocate them to somewhere else in the garden where they won’t munch on vegetables), then dispose of the others. To identify the good bugs from the just plain pests, visit www.bugguide.net and www.butterflywebsite.com.
– Debbie Arrington