A little cleanup now will prevent problems next spring and summer. For example, aging tomato vines may be harboring fugitive pests, particularly leaf-footed bugs. Pull out the old vines and dispose of them; any pest eggs will leave your garden along with the host plant.
If you haven’t already, pull faded annuals and vegetables, too. They also may be full of bad bugs and their eggs. Compost only plants that look free of disease and pests. Prune dead or broken branches from trees.
▪ To help prevent leaf curl, apply a copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees after they lose their remaining leaves this month. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective if applied now. Choose a fungicide with at least 50 percent copper, if possible. And if you had a leaf curl outbreak in 2015, remember to clean up and discard (not compost) those fallen leaves.
▪ For larger blooms, pinch off some camellia buds.
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▪ Plant spring bulbs such as daffodils, Dutch iris, hyacinths, ranunculus, sparaxis, watsonia, freesia and tulips. Over-plant with winter annuals such as pansies and violas.
▪ In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, bok choy, Swiss chard, garlic, leaf lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio, radishes, shallots and spinach.
▪ Set out transplants for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, fennel, kale, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce and peas.
▪ For spring flowers, plant seeds for California and other poppies, cornflower, larkspur and sweet peas.