Califonia Bountiful

Gardening Q&A

July/August 2021 California Bountiful magazine

As a California Bountiful reader, you have the opportunity to get your seasonal gardening questions answered by gardening expert Pat Rubin. Here are a few questions from our readers.

My grapes and crape myrtles have a white, sort of powdery look on the leaves. What is it?

It's a kind of powdery mildew, and most authorities tell you to make sure plants have good air circulation and to avoid getting the leaves wet. But I learned years ago that in California, we have what's called "dry air mildew"—and the best remedy is to wet the leaves. It's true. I noticed where the plant leaves got wet from the sprinklers, there was no mildew. If this was very late in the year, say November, and you were talking about squash or pumpkin foliage, for example, it

Everyone I know is overrun with zucchini, except me. Am I doing something wrong?

I've had those types of years, too, when even the zucchini won't produce. Most of the time, it's a matter of the flowers not getting pollinated. Squash produces male flowers first, and then the females come along a few weeks later. The female flowers have a small, immature squash at the base of the flower. As long as the male flowers get pollinated, and it takes a specialized bee to do it, the plant gets the signal to produce female flowers. If the female flowers don't get pollinated, the flowers fall away. You can take matters into your own hands: Take a cotton swab or small paintbrush and wiggle it around the anthers of the male flowers to collect pollen, and transfer it to the female ones.

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