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The Bay Gardener by Dr. Francis Gouin

The way to kill a thirsty weed during drought is to pull it

A Bay Weekly reader called complaining that the weed killer Roundup was not killing the weeds he was spraying. Matter of fact, he said, “ I might just as well have been spraying the weeds with water.” If you read the Roundup label carefully, you’ll see that it “should be applied only on actively growing weeds.”

Here’s a repellent that passes the Bay Gardener’s tests

Deer, racoons, groundhogs, rabbits and squirrels are a major problem in vegetable gardens and in landscapes. Many home gardeners have stopped growing hosta because the deer ravage their ornamental plantings. Groundhogs and racoons as well as deer invade the vegetable garden to feast on corn, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and beans. Rabbits love to feast on lettuce, cabbage and snap beans.

That’s a choice you have to make in buying cherries, peaches, plums and nectarines

Every year, I am asked if the peaches and nectarines that I sell are grown organically. The answer is no. We cannot grow stone fruit crops such as peaches, plums, nectarines and cherries without having to use both insecticides and fungicides. All of these crops are extremely susceptible to brown rot, rusts and insect damage from beetles, curculio, aphids, mites, stink bugs, borers, etc.

Depends on how you define it

I am frequently asked if I am an organic gardener, based on my reputation for having been heavily involved in composting and compost utilization research since 1972. My answer is yes and no. The importance of organic matter in soils and the use of compost to improve and maintain soil productivity is not thoroughly appreciated. In my gardening practices, I use a combination of compost and chemical fertilizers and minimize restricted-use pesticides as much as I can.

The spate of Code Orange days have our plants gasping for breath

A Bay Weekly reader asked me why his Heritage birch was dropping its leaves despite the fact that it was under irrigation. The answer was simple: air pollution.