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The Digging Fork

A Davis Garden Newsletter

July - August 2008

July August
Planting Warm season annuals Warm season annuals
Perennials Perennials
Cool season vegetables:
Can still plant, but need Strawberries (if you can find
to keep plants well them), potatoes (early Aug.),
watered until established leeks
Can still plant, but need
to keep plants well
watered until established.
Seeding Warm season vegetables: Cool season vegetables:
These crops are best Must shade seedlings!! Early November succulent display
direct seeded in garden broccoli, cabbage, leeks,
directly in early July-
into the
snap beans, cucumbers,
carrots, cauliflower and
romanesco, Florence Succulents
summer squash and corn fennel, kale, lettuce, green Although many of us have been growing succulents
Warm season annuals onions, parsnips, turnips,
sunflowers, cosmos, Swiss chard
for years, they seem to be extremely popular right now.
celosia, alyssum, They are interesting plants even when not in flower
marigold, zinnia with leaves that can be pinkish, grey, white, red,
Cool season vegetables: yellow, etc. Succulents are plants that are able to store
Must shade seedlings!!
Brussels Sprouts, water in their swollen, fleshy roots, stems, flowers or
rutabaga leaves making them a good choice for low water
Seeding Perennials and cool season Perennials and cool season gardens. The cactus family, with all plants originating
annuals annuals
in trays in the Americas, contains about a quarter of the
outside or Cool season vegetables:
greenhouse, broccoli, cabbage, leeks, succulents. So, all cacti are succulents, but not all
to trans- lettuce, cauliflower and succulents are cacti. It is not so easy to distinguish a
plant in fall romanesco
cactus just by looking at it. Most cacti have sharp
Fertilize Roses after bloom Citrus as needed.
spines, but many do not. Many non-cactus succulents
Look for nutrient
deficiencies – especially also have spines, thorns or sharp toothed leaves which
iron and nitrogen. make them look like a cactus.
Soil sulfur for citrus and Succulents can be planted in pots or in the garden.
acid loving plants
(will lower the pH of soil making
They require well drained soil and little water. Some
iron more available to plants. Mix
soil sulfur with top 6” of soil and
will be very happy in the garden with regular watering,
water well) however more succulents die from over-watering than
Tomato hornworms - pick off
Pest & Snails, slugs and earwigs Same as for July. anything else. Some are fine in the sun but most like
Disease damage –use baits or traps afternoon shade in our climate. These plants also have
Aphids -can spray off with
Control water and watch for
evolved to require less nutrients. Planting in pots can
ladybeetles. be challenging in Davis with our long, hot summers,
Tasks Summer pruning of fruit Summer pruning but succulents are a great choice with their low water
trees will devigorate plant pruning apricot trees only
in Aug. helps control and nutrient needs. Several types with differing forms,
and help control size.
Eutypa disease colors and sizes can be grouped in a pot for interest.
Weed control continues
Divide and replant bearded
They also lend themselves to some creative planting in
Stake dahlias and other tall
plants that need support iris. wreaths, wheel barrels, old logs, etc. Cactus and non-
Cut back berries and tie cactus succulents are best not grouped together as their
Weed control continues
new canes to supports needs differ. The only negative features of succulents
Mums, asters, perennial Order cool season bulbs and is that they do not tolerate being walked on and
sunflowers, etc. can be perennial plants for fall
cut to about 12” in early
sometimes stems easily break off.
planting (see article in
July to encourage The Digging Fork, In the wild, propagation by seed is most common.
branching and reduce May 2007 issue) However gardeners can take advantage of the easy
plant height. This may
delay the bloom time. vegetative propagation of succulents. Propagation is
Water Water deeply and Same as July. easiest when the plants are actively growing. To
infrequently to encourage prevent pathogens from entering, stem and leaf
deep roots!! Water compost piles!
cuttings need to heal for a couple days to several weeks
Deep water trees and shrubs
before planting to form a hard calloused layer.
Offsets can often be separated from the mother plant Local classes and workshops
and replanted. Master Gardener Educational Workshops
Fruit Tree Summer Pruning and Irrigation
Saturday, July 12, 9-11 am
Woodland Community College Greenhouse Orchard
Yolo County Fair
Aug. 13-17, Floriculture building and courtyard
Booth featuring container gardening
Flower pounding Saturday, early afternoon ,
Composting Friday and Saturday, 10-11am
Stem cutting – roots grow at nodes Mother plant with offsets
Tomato Festival and Seed Saving
Maintenance is easy. Pull off or cut spent flowers Aug. 23 Woodland Farmer’s Market
and remove withered leaves. Remove the cobwebs Workshops are free 666-8143
with a soft brush. If growing in pots, repot
occasionally, adding a thin layer of gravel on top of the Davis Central Park Garden Workshops
Tour of the Garden Saturday, July 26 9am
soil, if desired, to help with drainage. Some succulents Free, more information
are frost sensitive and may die during a cold winter. Gardening Skills Class – Davis Adult School
Many will change colors as the weather cools with Mondays, September 22 to November 3, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
beautiful shades of red, purple or orange. Plus two Garden Visits to reinforce classroom learning:
Here are some of the easiest succulents to grow in Sunday, September 28, 3-5 pm and
Davis. Most Aloe have spines on the edges of leaves. Sunday, October 19, 12-4 pm (rain date is Oct. 26)
The juice in the leaves of the well known Aloe vera is Taught by Patricia Carpenter and Marlene Simon
used to treat minor burns. Aeonium, Sempervivum Information
and Echeveria all have wonderful rosettes and can be Ceanothus California Field Botanists Association
very showy. Sedum are very easy to grow and Learn to key plants.
Saturday, July 12, 9 am to 12 noon
propagate. There are many sizes and colors and they
Held at UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity
are also very frost hardy. Crassula can be frost Information
sensitive and includes the Jade plants that are City of Davis Worm and Garden Composting
commonly grown. Dudleya are succulents native to Free compost bin by taking Davis Compost
California. Correspondence Class
The local nurseries have a wonderful selection of Information (530) 757-5686
~ Garden Intern Needed ~
For a few years now, Patricia has tried to have a paid intern one day a week.
The intern learns about plants, garden maintenance, irrigation, propagation,
etc. and Patricia gets a bit of help in the garden. Days and hours are
flexible. If this sounds interesting to you, send an email to Patricia.

Plant sales and events

UCD Arboretum
Plant sale Saturday, October 4
Lots of great guided tours and workshops coming up!!
For information 752-4880
Fall Plant Sale and Garden Walk
Sunday, September 28, 10-3pm
Sale held in Patricia’s garden, 36951 Russell Blvd. Davis Collection of succulents in pot Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’
Patricia Carpenter and Frances Andrews, propagators
Information 753-0607
Davis Garden Club
Tour - Morningsun Herb Farm Sunday, July 27 10:30 am
For information 222-3052
Plant Sales at The Gifted Gardener
Saturdays and Sundays: July 19th and 20th , September
20th and 21st, October 4th and 5th 9:30 am to 3 pm.
18th and J Streets, Sacramento. Sales benefit local charities
Information (916) 923-3745
Friends of the Davis Library Book Sale
August 8 (noon-7 pm), 9 (10 am-5 pm), 10 (10 am-3 pm)
Often good finds on gardening books! Info. 758-4754 Planted in old boots Newly planted log

Plant notes!
Here is more information about some plants mentioned in this newsletter.
Shade plants:
Asian lace fern Microlepia strigosa Bright, dappled and deep shade.
2-3 ft. tall. Tolerates drier conditions than most ferns.
baby’s tears Soleirolia soleirolii Evergreen mat, perennial. Will die
back with sun or hard frost, but regrows. Bright to deep shade.
bergenia, pigsqueak Bergenia Evergreen About 18 in. tall. Pink
flowers in winter. Bright, dappled and deep shade. Wonderful with ferns.
bloody dock Rumex sanguineus Dappled to bright shade, some sun.
1-2 ft. tall. Edible sorrel.
calla Zantedeschia aethiopica Perennial rhizome may go dormant in
summer with lots of sun or lack of moisture. Flowers white, 2-4 ft.
Bright to dappled shade, some sun. Dead nettle ‘Orchid Frost’ Rose campion
cast-iron plant Aspidistra elatior Evergreen perennial, 2-3 ft. tall.
Bright to deep shade. The reddish flowers are only 3 inches tall.
Chinese foxglove Rehmannia elata Dappled to bright shade. 2 ft. tall.
clivia Clivia miniata Perennial from tuberous rhizomes, mostly orange
Shade - So Welcome in the Summer
flowers. 2 ft. tall. Dappled, bright and deep shade. In the heat of the summer, a shade garden sounds
dead nettle Lamium maculatum Evergreen groundcover. Bright to like a wonderful idea. Getting plants to grow in shade
dappled shade, some sun. Many wonderful cultivars. however can be difficult. They grow slower than in
flowering maple Abutilon hybrids Woody shrub 3-10 ft. tall. Bright to
dappled shade, some sun. Semi-evergreen, almost always in flower.
sun, if planted under trees they have roots to contend
Properly stake newly planted shrubs. Scale can be a problem. with and water needs vary depending on the amount of
hellebore Helleborus Evergreen perennial, blooms late winter. Bright shade. There are many types of shade including deep
to dappled shade. Unusual flowers last a long time on plant. Helleborus
orientalis, Lenten rose does well here.
shade, shade with bright light and dappled shade.
Japanese anemone Anemone x hybrida 2-5 ft. tall, fibrous root. Knowing the type of shade in your garden will help
Flowers pink or white, cut back after bloom. Takes awhile to establish with plant selection.
plants, then spreads. Bright and dappled shade, some sun.
Shade refers to an area that receives less than 5-6
Japanese aucuba Aucuba japonica Evergreen woody shrub 6-10 ft.
Direct sun will burn leaves. ‘Variegata’ usually called gold dust plant. hours of sun. Plants in shady areas may get a bit of
Myers asparagus Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myers’ Evergreen, 2 ft. tall. direct sun in the morning or afternoon. Direct sun in
Bright to deep shade. Upright green tufts can be trimmed to ground to the morning is ideal, being that it is not as harsh. Just
rose campion Lychnis coronaria Perennial, white or magenta flowers, about any shade plant will be happy in this location. If
self-sows. 2-3 ft. tall. Gray foliage. Bright to dappled shade or sun. the direct sun occurs in the late afternoon, this is a
southern sword fern Nephrolepis cordifolia Evergreen, tolerates more difficult spot. This can be a western exposure
poor soil, spreads by runners. Bright to dappled shade.
spider plant Chlorophytum comosum Common indoor plant can be
where sun is blocked most of the day or a northern
used as a groundcover or specimen plant. White flowers and variegated exposure with hot afternoon sun for a few hours just in
foliage lighten up a bright, dappled or deep shade area. the summer when the sun sets further north. In this
Succulents: location, a sun plant will not thrive with so few hours
Aeonium (ay-OH-nee-um) Mediterranean islands and western part of N. of sun but the intense afternoon heat may prove fatal to
Africa. Rosettes, prefer afternoon shade. Will tolerate regular garden
Watering, are somewhat frost sensitive. Propagate by stem cuttings more sensitive shade plants. Flowering maple,
Aloe (AL-lo) From drier regions of Africa and Madagascar. Some will Japanese anemone, calla, dead nettle, and rose campion
grow 30 ft. tall. Well drained soil and low water, but tolerates regular are examples of plants that do well in this tough spot.
garden watering. Propagate by offsets. Some prefer full sun and others
part shade. Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) used for burns.
Crassula (KRASS-yuh-lah) From southeastern Africa. May die back in
a cold winter. Propagate by stem cuttings. The Jade plant, C. ovata is
common in Davis
Dudleya (DUD-lee-yuh) Native to California, Arizona and Oregon. They
need well drained soil.
Echeveria (etch-a-VER-ya) From Mexico to Venezuela. Propagate by
planting offsets or leaf cuttings. These benefit from more water, more
fertilizer and a richer soil than most succulents.
Sempervivum (semm-pur-VEE-vuhm) From the mountains of Europe,
Asia and Africa. Winter hardy. S. Tectorum is the common houseleek,
often called hen and chicks. Propagate by cuttings and offsets. Flowers
are green, white, yellow, pink and red. Prefers afternoon shade.
Sedum (SEE-duhm) Stonecrop is from northern temperate regions, parts Flowering maple Japanese anemone
of Africa and South America. Many colors and forms and among the
easiest succulents to grow, cold hardy. Propagate from cuttings. Many
Some areas of shade receive both sun and light
sedums benefit from cutting back to new growth after flowering. intermittently throughout the day. These filtered or
Flowers white to red, yellow. dappled shade areas occur generally under the open
Cool season vegetables: canopy of a tree. Most shade plants thrive with these
Seeds can be sown directly in the garden in the summer for a fall crop.
Shade seedlings and keep them well watered until
established. Seeds can also be started in trays or pots and the Some areas get no sun at all. Bright shade,
plants will be transplanted into the garden in Sept. and Oct. sometimes called light shade, most often occurs under
a patio overhang or a high tree canopy. Sun’s rays Stressed trees and shrubs
never penetrate but there is enough light for a lot of Trees and shrubs need extra water during June when they are
plants to grow such as the Asian lace fern, southern really starting to grow and the
sword fern, hellebore, Chinese foxglove, bloody dock, weather is warming. Just when
bergenia, and spider plant. Many have unique textures we were thinking of giving them
this extra deep watering we got a
and variegated foliage that we rely on to brighten the
very hot spell in early June.
shady area, even when there are no flowers. Deep Many plants got water stressed
shade can be daunting to a gardener. Usually it is with leaf edges browning. They
found in an enclosed area such as a porch or under a should now be showing new,
dense canopy. Very little light penetrates here, but healthy growth as they start to
there are plants that will grow with these limited light recover.
conditions. The cast-iron plant, Japanese aucuba, Tomatoes
baby’s tears, clivia and the Myers asparagus fern are Lower yellow leaves on tomatoes are common once the
examples. plant has reached a good size and is producing fruit. Plants
move nitrogen from the old leaves to the new ones. No need
to worry or fertilize. Control tomato hornworms by hand
picking at dawn or dusk. Locate dark excrements to
determine if hornworms (larvae of the large “sphinx” moth)
are the culprit. If numbers are high, be sure to till up the soil
before spring planting to kill any over-wintering pupae.
Damage (eaten leaves and buds) can be severe even with
small numbers of the larvae.
Native bees
Hopefully you are seeing lots of bees in your garden. The
common honey bee is from Europe and is the bee that has
been in the news lately with declining populations. Bees
Asian lace fern and spider plant Bloody dock that are native to California are very common in the garden
and visit many non-native plants as well. The carpenter bee
Another shade dilemma is areas of winter sun but and bumblebee are two that are easy to identify.
summer shade found under deciduous trees. Spring
blooming bulbs are ideal for these areas. They bloom
in winter and spring requiring a good amount of sun.
Don’t be afraid of shade. Create a cool, shady spot
to enjoy during the hot summer.

European honeybee Bumblebee with pollen Carpenter bee

on hind leg (US Forest Service photo)

July is spider month in the garden. Watch for some
incredible webs and interesting spiders. Sometimes they
build the web across a path, attached to two tall plants.
Patricia always walks carefully and carries a big stick to
avoid a web and big spider in her face.
Cocoa mulch is toxic to dogs
Cocoa Mulch, available at many garden stores, contains an
Chinese foxglove Japanese aucuba ‘Variegata’ ingredient called 'Theobromine' that is lethal to dogs and
cats. It smells like chocolate and can be really tempting to
dogs. Not all dogs will eat it and for those that do, not all
will die.
More gardening tips Newsletter created by:
Earwigs eat flowers Marlene Simon -- UCD graduate in Horticulture
Patricia Carpenter -- Gardening Coach (Design and Education),
Many flowers are munched by earwigs which hide in petals.
with 35 years of Davis gardening experience.
Dahlia, marigolds, zinnia, etc. benefit from an application of
Sluggo Plus® or try some rolled up wet newspaper around The bi-monthly newsletter is free if received by email. If mailed,
your plants. In the morning, discard the roll with the the cost is $15 per year. To be added to the subscription list or to
earwigs. A shallow container filled with water and unsubscribe, contact us at:
vegetable oil (fish oil is even better) will also attract them.