Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2005
Regional Report

Feeding Veggie Bloomers

For greater yields, feed eggplants, peppers, squash, and tomatoes when they blossom. Assure a plentiful set of peppers and tomatoes by increasing the magnesium available to the plants: dissolve 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts in one quart of warm water, and spray or sprinkle the solution on the leaves and blossoms. Pour the remainder in a ring around the plant at the dripline. Repeat this several times during the blossoming period.

Harvest Daily

Keep vegetables picked often, even if you don't plan to use that day's harvest immediately. Vegetables that aren't harvested soon enough will produce a chemical that inhibits further blossoming. Check plants at least every other day during the summer. This is especially true for beans, cucumbers, eggplants, squash, and tomatoes.

Feed Fruit Trees

Feed fruit trees approximately once every three weeks during their growing season with a half or quarter dose of fertilizer to encourage them to produce fruit and grow strongly for next year's fruit.

Root Woody Cuttings

Root woody cuttings of azaleas, chrysanthemums, carnations, fuchsias, and hydrangeas. Choose growth that is somewhat woody and not still bright green and pliable. Cut a 5- or 6- inch piece and strip off all of the leaves but the tiny, young top growth and one or two well-developed leaves. Place the cutting in light, sandy soil or planting mix up to the bottom leaf. Sprinkle the foliage and thoroughly wet the soil mixture. Provide filtered light in a sheltered location and keep soil mix moist until the rootings are well-established, in about a month. Then they can be transplanted.

Caring for Roses

Lightly prune, feed, and water roses on a weekly or biweekly basis to encourage them to flower continuously into the late fall. Trim faded blooms down to the first five-part leaf or further to gently shape the plant. New blooms will appear in about three weeks. This gentle pruning to shape the plant also strengthens the lower canes and root system.

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