Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2008
Regional Report

Water Redwoods

Set up soaker hoses under redwood trees. These shallow-rooted natives require more water as they grow larger with age. In nature, redwoods gather morning fog in their needles, which then drip water down onto the roots, providing the giants with the moisture they require. In hot inland valleys, redwoods need supplemental water through the summer months. Use a soaker hose for several hours once every other week.

Water Tomatoes Deeply

Tomatoes have very deep roots and benefit from infrequent, deep watering, especially in hot weather. Set a hose near the base of the plant and allow it to trickle slowly for several hours. Use this method of watering every 10 to 12 days for the tastiest tomatoes ever!
Too much water causes tomatoes to split and have a mealy texture.

Pinch Chrysanthemums

July is the time to take cuttings from chrysanthemums for the fall garden. This will not only cause the mother plant to get bushy with many more blooms, but it also provides you with many new plants for free! Remove the lower leaves of the tip cuttings, dip in rooting hormone, then place the prepared cuttings into a damp potting medium. Cover with a clear plastic bag to retain moisture, and set in a bright spot away from direct sunlight (you don't want to cook them). Keep the cuttings moist by misting daily. In a few weeks, roots should form and new foliage will soon appear. Once the plants are able to stand on their own, set out in pots or in garden beds. Fertilize with half-strength 15-30-15 every other week.

Pull Ratty Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums get ratty looking in midsummer. Pull out overgrown vines and shake well over the planting bed to release seed for next year's crop. Cut back the existing vine near the soil, just in case the plant decides to have another burst of color.

Provide Extra Water for Hanging Plants

Add hydropolymers to your potting soil mix if you grow hanging plants. I was a slave to my hanging fuchsia until I repotted it and added Soil Moist to the soil. The hydropolymer holds moisture in suspension in the form of gel cells that hydrate the soil and make water available for the roots. If your plant is already potted, you can also use a pencil or chopstick to create several holes in the existing potting soil, then add 1/2 teaspoon of hydropolymer to each hole.

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