Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2004
Regional Report

Fertilize Mid-Season Veggies

Fertilize tasseling corn and other vegetables that are setting fruit -- beans, cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes, etc. -- for increased yields. Plants appreciate this extra boost in food to use immediately in maturing their fruits. But during our extra-hot weather, be sure to water the plants well first so the fertilizer won't "burn" the roots.

Lift Melons

Lift melons off the soil surface get them away from moist soil and crawling pests. Boards, cans, or plastic baskets from strawberries or cherry tomatoes serve well. Stop watering plants the week before they're ripe to allow the sweetness to concentrate and to minimize fruit-cracking problems.

Chill Delphinium Seeds

Refrigerate delphinium seeds for planting later this fall. They germinate best in cooler temperatures, as do pansies, primroses, and violas. One technique is to start them on moist paper towels rolled loosely in plastic bags in the refrigerator. After they germinate, gently move the tiny plants to potting soil in a pan. When they're large enough, transplant them into their permanent garden spot for winter color.

Keep Trimming, Pinching, and Deadheading

Increase bloom size of chrysanthemums and dahlias by removing half of the new buds. Prolong fuchsia blooms by picking off the faded flowers, yellowed leaves, and fruits. Trim back stems to force side branching and flowering, fertilize, and water them well. Prune summer-blooming shrubs when they've finished flowering. Shape hedges for the last time this season. Continue gently shaping roses after pruning suckers, unwanted branches, and spent blooms. Remove faded blooms of perennials like coreopsis, Shasta daisies, delphiniums, penstemons, and yarrow. Cut them back to within 6 inches of the soil and they may bloom again in the fall. Divide clumps that are too large or ones that haven't bloomed much.

Rinse Veggies in the Garden

Replace the bottom of a wooden box with half-inch hardware cloth or chicken wire for use as a colander. Collect fresh-picked vegetables in the box and rinse them off to remove excess soil. The soil will remain in the garden, and only final cleaning will be necessary indoors.

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