Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2008
Regional Report

Protect Melons

Place ripening melons onto upside down aluminum pie pans or cans to keep them off the damp soil. The reflected heat and light will help them ripen evenly and sooner than when they are shaded by foliage.

Harvesting Onions and Garlic

If onion and garlic foliage has not yet slumped and dried, stop irrigating and bend the stalks to the ground. Allow a month or so for them to dry prior to harvest. Avoid bruising the bulbs during harvest and let them cure in a single layer on slats or screens in a dry, well-ventilated place. They're ready to store when the foliage and outer layers are dry and papery. Store the bulbs in a cool, dry place where air can circulate. Any with soft, thick necks or bulbs that are not thoroughly dried should be used first, as they will spoil in storage. Check the stored batch once a week and toss or use immediately any that begin to spoil.

Keeping Roses Blooming

Continue pruning spent blooms on roses every week or so until fall down to the first five-part leaf or a bit further to gently shape the plant. Then fertilize lightly and water. Maintaining this schedule will encourage continuous bloom throughout the season. Water only in the mornings to lessen mildew and other disease problems. Tear --don't just trim -- rose suckers off at the base with a harsh downward and outward pull. Don't be gentle because if you don't damage the sucker bud at the base, the suckers will return.

Proper Mowing For Healthy Grass

Continue to mow lawns at 2 or 3 inches high to keep grass roots shaded. Grass that is mown too short is susceptible to shock and sunburn. Also keep your lawn mower blades sharp. Dull blades may require as much as three times the power as sharp blades to do the job, and they tear the grass blade edges, making the lawn more susceptible to stress and diseases.

Painting Tree Trunks

Paint tree trunks with another coat of light-colored interior latex paint to prevent sunscald, especially on young trees. Prune tree branches with no new growth, and prune espaliered fruit trees only to shape them gently.

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