Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2008
Regional Report

Harvest Often

Harvest beans, cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes at least every other day to encourage further production. Even if your harvest is more than you can eat, pick the veggies often and give the surplus away.

Spread More Manure

Aged manure can be spread as a mulch around globe artichokes, asparagus, cabbages and other cole crops, cucumbers, melons, sweet corn, and squash to provide some nitrogen. In general, keep high-nitrogen fertilizers away from beans, beets, carrots, parsnips, sweet and white potatoes, and tomatoes, or there'll be more foliage than fruit.

Keep Planting Flowers

Sow or transplant alyssum, celosia, cosmos, forget-me-nots, gazania, marigolds, nasturtiums, portulaca, salvias, statice, verbena, and zinnias. Transplant fibrous begonias, calendulas, chrysanthemums, crape myrtles, dahlias, daylilies, delphiniums, dianthus, foxgloves, hibiscus, hydrangeas, impatiens, penstemons, petunias, rudbeckias, and salvias. Fill in garden gaps with summer-into-fall bloomers, especially alyssum, celosia, cosmos, petunias, portulaca, red sage, vinca, and zinnias.

Separating Iris

Dig and divide bearded iris clumps if they're crowding each other or if they didn't bloom well last spring. Break off and discard the older central rhizomes that have no foliage. Let the young, healthy rhizomes dry out of the direct sun for several hours so a callous forms over the break before replanting. On rhizomes with foliage, clip roots to 2 inches in length, remove individual dry leaves, and clip the rest to about an 8-inch fan. Dig compost and bonemeal into the top 6 inches of soil. Replant the rhizomes 1 foot apart but only deep enough to barely cover the rhizome with soil. Water them in.

Working Compost

Keep the compost pile moist and turned, and if it's in direct sun, keep the moisture from evaporating too quickly by lightly covering the pile with a tarp. Compost decomposes quickly in hot weather.

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