Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

May, 2005
Regional Report

Choosing Varieties

If you plan to preserve some of your garden's bounty, you may prefer to grow vegetable varieties that will be ready for harvest all at one time. On the other hand, you may prefer processing several small batches rather than making a marathon effort. In this case, reseed or transplant seedlings every two or three weeks for continuous harvests.

Plant Corn in Blocks

Plant corn in blocks of at least four rows in each direction to assure good pollination. Make succession plantings through the end of June only, as later plantings generally suffer from severe smut problems when they mature in September.

Leave Pea Vines to Provide Soil Nutrients

When removing spent pea vines, cut them off at the soil level rather than pulling them out. The roots should have nodules that contain excess nitrogen from their fixation process, and this nitrogen is released into the soil as the roots decompose, where it will be available for the next crop.

Removing Suckers and Watersprouts

Fruit tree suckers (growing from the base of the plant or tree) or watersprouts (growing straight up from a branch) compete for water and nutrients but bear no flowers or fruit. On citrus, these wayward shoots have long thorns and leaves that look different from those on regular branches. Yank them out or roughly cut or smash them to discourage regrowth. It's nice to know that the rootstock is so healthy, but you want the energy to go into the flowers and fruit.

Caring for Roses

Every week or so until falll, prune the spent blooms on roses down to the first five-part leaf or a bit further to gently shape the plant; then feed it lightly and water. Also, prune out shoots from the rootstocks below the grafts, and twiggy growth -- especially in the center of the plant -- for better air circulation. Water only in the mornings so water on the foliage will dry before sunset, lessening mildew and other disease problems.

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