Califonia Bountiful

Gardening Q&A

March/April 2022 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.

I have slugs in the garden and my neighbor has snails. What do we do?

The most benign ways to control snails and slugs is to go out at night and pick them up. You can also put a small circle of ash or diatomaceous earth around the plant. Snails—and slugs—don't like to touch either. The ash is very dry for them and the diatomaceous earth has sharp edges.

You can leave out small cans (like tuna cans) filled with beer and they will crawl into the cans. Of course, there are commercial products available, but read the labels first to make sure they are safe if you have pets or small children.

I planted basil and tomato seedlings, and suddenly they bent over and were dead. Why?

It sounds like "damping off." It's caused by a fungus that thrives in cool, wet conditions and usually affects young seedlings. There is no cure; the seedlings cannot be saved. I find seedlings like tomato and basil are more susceptible to this when planted too early. Unfortunately, you're going to have to start over.

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