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Water-Wise Gardening Information
Learn to be water-wise in your yard and garden! Fall is a good time to introduce new plants in your yard allowing them to become established by winter rain. Even California native plants aren't drought-resistant until they become well established. Take advantage of these water-wise tips for plant and lawn care.
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PESTS & DISEASES IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN: Potato tuberworm (Phthorimaea operculella).
This pest primarily affects potatoes, but may also infest tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, especially when these latter vegetable varieties are planted near an infested potato crop or in an area previously planted with potatoes. This potential consequence should be kept in mind when rotating plants within your vegetable garden. The adult potato tuberworm is a small gray moth with darker markings with a wing span of about a half inch. The larvae are caterpillars that vary in color from whitish to gray, pink, or green. These larvae are slightly less than half an inch and have a black head. Although they may damage stems and leaves, the typical damage results from larvae tunneling within the fruit, leaving behind a trail of excrement rendering the tubers unfit to consume. Prevention includes using an irrigation method that discourages cracks in the soil because the moths will crawl through soil cracks and lay eggs directly on tubers. Planting disease resistant varieties and deeper set tuber varieties also helps prevent potato tuber worm infestations, as does prompt harvesting and keeping the planting area free of debris. Since a potato tuberworm infestation can continue during the storage of your potatoes, storing them in a clean environment below 52 degrees will help discourage further damage. For more information on the potato tuberworm, see the UC IPM website: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/VEGES/PESTS/pottuberwrm.html.