Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2005
Regional Report

Keep Veggies Well Watered

Now that it's decided to be summer after our very long and pleasant spring, we need to pay closer attention to our watering, especially of vegetables. Tomatoes drink at least an inch a day, so you need to make sure it's in the soil before they need it. Sprinkle foliage while you're at it, to cool plants down and enable quick absorption through the foliage.

Pinch Herbs

Pinch back herbs to encourage branching, and use the clippings either fresh or dry. Their flavor is at its peak just before they flower. Harvest them early in the morning after the dew has dried but before the day becomes warm and the fragrant oils dissipate. If you can smell them, it's too late; wait till the next day.

Keep Fruit Off the Ground

Melons and cucumbers and squash and other fruit draping on the soil will ripen more safely when propped on an overturned pie tin or can or plastic basket -- anything to keep them away from soilborne pests and diseases. Make sure the prop won't collect water and rot the fruit!

Cut Back Flowers to Make More

With the first flush of blooms long gone, pinch or cut back foliage to encourage bushy growth and new blooms on alyssum, coreopsis, crape myrtle, dahlias, delphiniums, dianthus, gaillardia, lobelia, marigolds, penstemons, petunias, and salvia. Now's the time for the last pinching of mums and poinsettias so they'll bush out prior to setting flower buds.

Plant Mid-Season Additions

Fill garden gaps with summer-into-fall bloomers, especially alyssum, celosia, cosmos, portulaca, red sage, vinca, and zinnias.

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