Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2007
Regional Report

Alternate Heavy and Light Feeders

When you plan the layout of your fall and winter gardens, consider which new crops should follow those just removed. Follow heavy feeders with light feeders, and vice versa. Heavy feeders include beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, escarole, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, okra, parsley, pumpkins, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, squash, and tomatoes. Light feeders include carrots, chard, garlic, leeks, mustard, onions, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, rutabaga, shallots, sweet potatoes, and turnips.

Fertilize Fruiting Veggies

Fertilize tasseling corn and other vegetables that are setting fruit --beans, cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes -- for increased yields. Plants appreciate this extra boost when maturing their fruits. But during our extra-hot weather, be sure to water the plants well first so the fertilizer won't burn the roots.

Check Soil Salts Levels

Some vegetables are more tolerant of salty areas in the garden. If an area has received repeated applications of manure or concentrated fertilizers, the salt content may be high. Asparagus, beets, kale, and spinach do well under these conditions, but celery, green beans, radishes, strawberries, and most fruits cannot tolerate it. Other vegetables and cantaloupes, figs, and grapes are generally of medium tolerance. A soil test will tell you the salts level, and if it's high, heavy watering can wash the exess away.

Chill Delphinium Seeds

Refrigerate delphinium seeds for planting later this fall. They germinate best in cool temperatures, as do pansies, primroses, and violas. One technique is to start them on moist paper towels rolled loosely in plastic bags in the refrigerator. After they germinate, gently move the tiny plants to potting soil in a pan. When they're large enough, transplant them into their permanent garden spot for winter color.

Cut Back Reblooming Perennials

Remove faded blooms of perennials like coreopsis, Shasta daisies, delphiniums, penstemons, and yarrow. Cut them back to within 6 inches of the soil, and they may bloom again in the fall.

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