Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

September, 2004
Regional Report

Take Advantage of Self-Sown Seedlings

Some herbs reseed themselves, and you can transplant those seedlings either into the garden or into pots for indoors. Dill, especially, seems to germinate better this way.

Evaluate Germination Problems

Problems with seed germination may be due to old seed, soil that is too warm or has been allowed to dry out, or seeds that were sown either too deeply or not deeply enough.

Pinching Tips

Pinch out new blossoms and growing tips of melons, winter squash, and determinate tomatoes to force growth into the fruits that have already set. Any that set from now on won't ripen sufficiently before cool weather comes, unless you want lots of immature green tomatoes around Thanksgiving. Indeterminate cherry tomatoes, on the other hand, can be allowed to continue setting, as the little fruits ripen more quickly.

Feed for Next Spring Blooms

Switch to a 0-10-10 fertilizer for azaleas, camellias, gardenias, and rhododendrons to encourage formation of next spring's blossom buds. Increase the bloom size of azaleas, camellias, dahlias, and rhododendrons by removing half of the new flower buds. For extra-large camellia blooms, remove all but one bud per branch; leave some further down on the bush for later bloom.

Cutting Back

Cut back alyssum, coreopsis, marguerite and Shasta daisies, delphiniums, dianthus, felicias, gaillardias, geraniums, ivies, lantana, lobelia, petunias, and santolinas to one-third or one-half of their present size. However, don't cut them back beyond the green foliage to the older woody growth as this may kill the plant.

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