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2024 Talking Points - MG Clinic

April 2024

Weather / Climate

Cool > Warm; Dry - ~11.5 in. accumulation 2024, normal ~13.8 in.

SeattleTempRain.png

Poor Snowpack (63% normal; 46% in Yakima) - Rapid melt, Drying Soils
Fish - reduced stream flow, warmer stream temperatures
Forests - increased tree mortality
Farms - blueberries, apples, hops
Hydropower
Drinking Water - Olympic Peninsula water restrictions, okay Seattle & Tacoma


SeasonalTempRain.png


General Gardening

Plan garden / yard -

Prepare soil (soil test?) - compost, aged manure, organic fertilizer, pH (lime/sulfur), liquid fertilizer (compost tea)

Check watering systems - rain gauge, rain barrels / cisterns, ollas,

Weed -

Control slugs


Fruits & Berries

Plant Strawberries, Bare-Root Plants
Compost, Manure to Berries

Veggies

Outdoors: Lettuce, Kale, Peas, Radish, Beets, Carrots, Potatoes
Indoors: Tomatoes, Squash, Pumpkin, Cucumbers

Ornamentals

Plant hardy annuals - attract pollinators include alyssum, bachelor's buttons, California poppies, calendula, and fragrant sweet peas.

Lawns

Kill Moss (high N, high Fe)
Add composted organic matter
Sow lawn seed April-May or Sept.



May 2024

Weather / Climate

Cool > Warm; Dry - ~11.5 in. accumulation 2024, normal ~13.8 in.

SeattleTempRain.png

Poor Snowpack (63% normal; 46% in Yakima) - Rapid melt, Drying Soils
Fish - reduced stream flow, warmer stream temperatures
Forests - increased tree mortality
Farms - blueberries, apples, hops
Hydropower
Drinking Water - Olympic Peninsula water restrictions, okay Seattle & Tacoma


SeasonalTempRain.png


General Gardening

Plan garden / yard -

Prepare soil (soil test?) - compost, aged manure, organic fertilizer, pH (lime/sulfur), liquid fertilizer (compost tea)

Check watering systems - rain gauge, rain barrels / cisterns, ollas,

Weed -

Control slugs

Preventive pest management is emphasized over reactive pest control. Identify and monitor problems before acting and opt for the least toxic approach that will remedy the problem. The conservation of biological control agents (predators, parasitoids) should be favored over chemical controls.
Use chemical controls only when necessary and only after thoroughly reading the pesticide label. First consider cultural, then physical and biological controls. Choose the least-toxic options (insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, botanical insecticides, and organic and synthetic pesticides — when used judiciously).
as new mounds appear.

Fruits & Berries

Plant Strawberries, Bare-Root Plants
Compost, Manure to Berries
Monitor blueberry, raspberry, strawberry and other plants that produce soft fruits and berries for spotted wing drosophila (SWD). Learn how to monitor for SWD flies and larval infestations in fruit.
Leafrolling worms may affect apples and blueberries. Prune off and destroy affected leaves.
Monitor aphids on strawberries and ornamentals. If present, control options include washing off with water, hand removal, or using registered insecticides labeled for the problem plant. Read and follow all label directions prior to using insecticides. Promoting natural enemies (predators and parasitoids that eat or kill insects) is a longer-term solution for insect control in gardens.
Thin apples and pears when the fruit is under a nickel size to improve cropping consistency.
Monitor fruit trees and berries for insect and disease problems; consult a Sky Nursery associate for recommendations if you spot an issue.
Do not spray fruit trees or berries in bloom.
Apply apple maggot barriers or Surround clay once you’ve thinned your apples or pears. Surround may need to be re-applied depending on rainfall.
Fertilize with organic fertilizer.
Remember to water regularly once the rains stop. Even a weeklong drought can cause fruit drop.

Veggies

Outdoor Planting: Snap and lima beans, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupes, slicing and pickling cucumbers, dill, eggplant, kale, peppers, pumpkins, summer and winter squash, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and watermelon.
It's time to plant spring veggies! This includes all greens, all cabbage family crops, beets, carrots, and other root vegetables, green onions, leeks, and sweet onion transplants, peas and potatoes. Note: this is your last chance until August to plant the cool-season veggies!
This is a great time to plant herbs too. As long as we keep getting occasional cool nights, use season extenders (see below) to protect sensitive herbs like basil and lemon verbena.
Tomatoes… usually Seattle gardeners can plant tomatoes out around Mother’s Day without protection, but go by the weather, not the calendar! Protect them until night-time temperatures stay consistently above 50°F (10°C). Tomatoes benefit from protection from cool May nights, and most varieties will ripen best in our climate with extra help in cooler years. Check the last page of our for a list of especially cold-tolerant varieties!
Season extenders and ripening aids carried by Sky include actual greenhouses, hoop houses, plant protection blankets, Hot Kaps, Garden Cloches, Season Starter Plant Protectors (Wall o Waters), red plastic mulch, red tomato greenhouse film, and Kozy Coats (red Wall o Waters). (Studies show that red reflects the correct wavelengths to stimulate tomato and strawberry ripening.)
For those restricted in space, we have Tomato Barrels, easy-to-store Tomato Planter Bags, and more.
May is also normally the beginning of the time to plant beans, squash, corn, , and other warm-season crops. But wait until night-time temperatures stay consistently above 50°F (10°C). We would also recommend covering your corn and squash beds with clear or black plastic sheets for about two weeks before you want to plant, to help the soil warm and dry.
Control cabbage worms in cabbage and cauliflower, 12-spotted cucumber beetles in beans and lettuce, and maggots in radishes. Control can involve hand removal, placing barrier screen over newly planted rows, or spraying or dusting with registered pesticides, labeled for use on the problem plant. Read and follow label directions when using insecticides.
Tiny holes in foliage and shiny, black beetles on tomato, beets, radishes and potato indicate flea beetle attack. Treat with Neem, Bt or use nematodes for larvae. Read and follow label directions when using insecticides.
Prevent root maggots when planting cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, collards and kale) by covering with row covers or screens, or by applying appropriate insecticides.
Monitor aphids on strawberries, veggies and ornamentals. If present, control options include washing off with water, hand removal, or using registered insecticides labeled for the problem plant. Read and follow all label directions prior to using insecticides. Promoting natural enemies (predators and parasitoids that eat or kill insects) is a longer-term solution for insect control in gardens.

Ornamentals

Plant for pollinators & wildlife ( )
Fertilize rhododendrons & azaleas with acid-loving organic fertilizer; remove spent blossoms. Prune spring-flower shrubs after they flower ( and ).
Fertilize roses & control diseases (plant resistant varieties, use fungicide)
Plant dahlias, gladioli and tuberous begonias mid-May
Plant chrysanthemums for Fall color
Plant hardy annuals - attract pollinators include alyssum, bachelor's buttons, California poppies, calendula, and fragrant sweet peas.
Monitor aphids on strawberries and ornamentals. If present, control options include washing off with water, hand removal, or using registered insecticides labeled for the problem plant. Read and follow all label directions prior to using insecticides. Promoting natural enemies (predators and parasitoids that eat or kill insects) is a longer-term solution for insect control in gardens.
Spittle bugs may appear on ornamental plants as foam on stems. In most cases, they don't require management. If desired, wash off with water or use insecticidal soap as a contact spray. Read and follow label directions when using insecticides, including insecticidal soap.
Monitor rhododendrons, azaleas, primroses and other broadleaf ornamentals for . Look for fresh evidence of feeding (notching at leaf edges). Try sticky trap products on plant trunks to trap adult weevils. Protect against damaging the bark by applying the sticky material on a 4-inch wide band of poly sheeting or burlap wrapped around the trunk. Mark plants now and manage with beneficial nematodes when soil temperatures are above 55 degrees. If root weevils are a consistent problem, consider removing plants and choosing resistant varieties.

Lawns

Kill Moss (high N, high Fe)
Add composted organic matter
Sow lawn seed April-May or Sept.
Mow! If possible, leave your clippings on (grass-cycling).
Grasses that do the best in the Puget Sound area are what are known as cool season turf grass. This means that as the summer heats up lawns will go dormant unless watered regularly. Your lawn needs 1 to 2 inches of water per week; if rains do not provide that, you need to water, or let the grass go dormant.
Setting your mowing height higher can reduce water needs by shading the ground and promoting deeper root growth. Improving your soil with extra compost can also promote deeper root growth and increased drought resistance. Healthy turf will weather drought stress better, so make sure your grass starts the summer in good shape by following a good fertilizing and liming schedule.
If you haven’t fertilized yet this spring, do so ASAP with a good organic fertilizer. If you followed our lawn recommendations and fertilized back in February, your next feeding will be at the end of the month (Memorial Day).
If weeds are a problem, try pulling or spot-treating rather than using a weed & feed product. Remember that a well-fed lawn can outgrow most weed problems.

Indoor Plants

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