Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2006
Regional Report

Still No New Blossoms and Fruit?

Our torrid heat in July --anything over 95 degrees -- shuts down the blossoming of vegetables. New blooms will begin appearing once the weather settles down for 2 weeks to temperatures below 90, and certainly below 85.

Harvest Early in the Day

Harvest fruits and vegetables as early in the day as possible, especially if they are not to be eaten that day or will be refrigerated. Research at the University of California, Davis, has found that the six hours before sunrise is the best time to harvest. As soon as the sun hits the fruits or vegetables, the pulp temperature begins to rise, and even shading them will not delay the temperature rise for long. Each five degrees lower temperature when the fruit is picked will extend shelf-life for another three days. Tomatoes, in particular, develop more chilling injury -- that telltale graininess and mushiness--when they are cooled after being harvested warm.

Revitalize Veggies

Prune vegetable plants of their leaves that have become ragged from age, disease, or insect attacks. Then water plants well. Healthy new leaves and blossoms will appear, and fruit set will begin again. This is especially effective with beans, cucumbers, and squash.

Remove Tree Suckers

Remove tree suckers and watersprouts -- the long shoots that grow straight up from the trunk base (sucker) or a branch (watersprout). Keep tree trunks -- especially of young trees -- painted with light-color, matte-finish, indoor latex paint to protect them from sunscald.

Hose Off Red Spider Mites

Red spider mites thrive in hot, dry weather. Hose them off roses, evergreens, shrubs, and ivy. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the undersides of leaves, where they spread their webbing.

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