Home & Garden

Pull up the tomatoes and move on

It’s time to pull up roots and stop waiting for that last tomato. Those aging vines may be harboring fugitive pests, particularly leaf-footed bugs. Pull out the vines and dispose of them; any pest eggs will leave your garden along with the host plant.

Don’t stop at the tomatoes. If you haven’t already, it’s time to clean up the remains of summer. Pull faded annuals and vegetables. Prune dead or broken branches from trees. A little preventive maintenance now can prevent problems next year.

As for any green tomatoes, they may still ripen off the vine. Put them on the kitchen counter and watch them gradually turn red.

▪  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 an outbreak in 2016, remember to clean up and discard those fallen leaves.

▪  For larger blooms, pinch off some camellia buds.

▪  Plant spring bulbs such as daffodils, Dutch iris, hyacinths, ranunculus, sparaxis, watsonia, freesia and tulips. On top of the bulbs, overplant winter annuals such as pansies and violas.

▪  In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, bok choy, Swiss chard, garlic, leaf lettuce, mustard, onions, 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.

▪  Turn off the automatic sprinklers or reduce watering cycles. Unless you recently reseeded the lawn, that grass needs little extra irrigation during cooler, wetter weather. Run the sprinklers for other plants when the ground dries out or to irrigate recent transplants. Too much fall and winter water can lead to root rot and other problems.