Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2006
Regional Report

Keep Veggies Picked

Continue to keep vine vegetables (especially beans, cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes) picked, whether or not you will use the harvest that day. If many fruits are allowed to overmature on the plant, production will slow and even cease.

Pamper Ripening Melons

Lift melons off the soil surface get them away from moist soil and crawling pests. Boards, cans, or plastic baskets from strawberries or cherry tomatoes serve well. Stop watering plants the week before they're ripe to allow the sweetness to concentrate and to minimize fruit-cracking problems.

Fertilize for Future Fruit

Feed and water bramble fruits and strawberries. The size of next summer's fruit is determined this month and next; the more fertilizer and irrigation, the bigger the berries next spring. Propagate bramble fruits by bending the cane tips to the soil surface and burying one or two nodes an inch or so deep.

Clean Up Around Trees

Water all trees deeply. Pick up and destroy fallen fruit. Prune and destroy dead and diseased limbs but leave major pruning until winter. When harvesting is over, remove bird netting; if you leave it in place, it will become enmeshed in new shoot growth. Rake the area beneath each tree bare, and apply a new mulch. These clean-up efforts will prevent diseases from spreading and harmful insects from hiding for the winter.

Fertilize Acid-Loving Flowers

Feed azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons an acid fertilizer for the last time this year to help them set buds for early spring bloom. Continue feeding begonias, fuchsias, and summer annuals. Container plants and water-lovers, such as baby's tears, coleus, and fuchsias, may need daily irrigation during hot weather. Feed mums until their buds begin to show color and open.

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