Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2004
Regional Report

Prepare Your Landscape for Fire Season

The fire season has begun in earnest. Winter rains produced an abundance of grasses that are all tinder dry now. Clear grass and brush from around buildings in areas prone to fire danger. Prune branches that overhang roofs. Move firewood away from walls.

Prune Jasmine

After the first bloom, jasmine starts to grow like crazy. Use hedge shears or clippers to cut off the long stringers to keep plants compact and promote another bloom. When I was gardening at Sunset, we cut the runners one by one. It was backbreaking work, but the plants never looked like they had been touched when we were through.

Harvest Citrus

Don\'t leave fruit hanging on citrus trees. Harvest any leftover lemons, limes, oranges, and tangerines when the fruit pulls easily away from the stem. Rake up any fallen fruit and dispose of it in the compost pile.

Remove Spent Flowers

Remove the spent flowers from canna, coreopsis, cosmos, roses, zinnias, and anything else that you grow for flowers to increase bloom time and promote abundant blossoming. Deadheading prevents annual plants from going to seed, resulting in more flower production. This is a good thing, though time-consuming. You can cut back petunias with hedge shears to get another crop of flowers in a few weeks. After deadheading, fertilize with 0-10-10 or 15-30-15 to ensure an abundance of flowers.

Harvest Vegetables

Lettuce will bolt soon unless you have planted one of the heat-resistant varieties. Harvest and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Beans, squash, tomatoes, and root crops should be harvested late in the day to take advantage of a full day of sun for maximum sugar content and sweetness. As a matter of fact, just before dinner is the perfect time to pick!

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