In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Zucchini has both male and female blossoms. Males (with long, thin stems) may fall off for a couple of weeks before females (with thickened base) appear to be pollinated.
Gardens in our area are in the flush of summer growth. Depending on how thoroughly you prepared your soil before planting, some plants may need a summer fertilizer boost. This especially applies to heavy-feeding vegetables such as eggplants, peppers, squashes, and tomatoes.
Feed all plants with a slow-release fertilizer balanced in nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (NPK) but also containing micronutrients. Plants well-nourished throughout the summer produce flowers and fruits longer, are better-protected against insect and disease attacks, and can better withstand heat and water stress.
An excellent garden tea I use is a mixture of 1 tablespoon fish emulsion, 1/2 teaspoon seaweed or kelp, and 1 gallon of water. Spray this solution on leaves and water the root zones of vegetables, ornamental trees and shrubs, and vines every two weeks throughout the growing season. I've found it increases plant vigor and reduces insect damage. When applied later in the fall, it helps harden plants off for winter.
Water the garden deeply every 1 to 2 weeks, depending on natural rainfall and how consistently hot the weather has been. The hotter the weather, the more water plants need. Tomatoes and other large plants grown in clay loam soil use about 1 foot of water in three days of hot, dry weather. Some wilting of foliage at the end of a hot, dry day is natural, but wilting into the following morning indicates an immediate need for a deep watering.
Manure can be applied as mulch directly to globe artichokes, asparagus, cabbage, corn, cucumber, melon, and squash. Don't apply it around beans, beets, carrots, lettuce, peas, sweet and white potatoes, or tomatoes. It encourages too much foliage at the expense of producing more of the edible fruits and roots.
Feeding Fruit Trees
Feed fruit trees every 3 weeks during the growing season with a 1/4- to 1/2-strength dose of fertilizer to encourage them to grow strongly and produce high quality fruit. Keep citrus and avocados well-watered every two or three weeks and apply a 3-inch-thick layer of mulch to conserve water, reduce weeds, and maintain cool soil temperatures. They're more sensitive to water levels than other fruit trees. Citrus roots grow well beyond the tree's dripline, so create a large water basin to hold water.
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