Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2008
Regional Report

Pinching Herbs

Pinch back herbs to encourage branching, and use the clippings either fresh or dry. Their flavor is at its peak just before they flower, so harvest them early in the morning after the dew has dried but before the day becomes warm and the fragrant oils dissipate. If you can smell them, it's too late; wait till the next day.

Brown Rot Fungus on Peaches

If your peaches and apricots have brown spots and either rot or shrivel up, they may have brown rot fungus, especially if twigs also develop depressed, reddish brown, shield-shaped cankers. Remove and destroy -- don't compost -- all infected fruit and twigs. Lessen the severity of the problem on next year's fruit by cleaning up fallen and rotting fruit, as well as any "mummies" that shrivel but remain on the trees. When the trees bloom next spring, dust or spray the blossoms with sulfur two to four times, from the time the buds show pink until the petals fall.

Clean Up Fallen Fruit

Destroy fallen fruit so it won't spoil and attract insects and diseases.

Move Bulbs From Wet Areas

If your spring-blooming bulbs and tubers grow where the soil will continue to be irrigated all summer long, you'll need to dig them up and store them in a cool, dry, dark place. However, they can remain in the ground if the area will be dry for the rest of the summer and fall.

Leave Sunflowers for Birds

Encourage birds into your garden to eat the harmful insects by providing whole sunflower seed heads. Hang the entire head in a clothes hanger on a tree limb, fence, or post, letting the birds pick their own. Save the sunflower stalks, stripped of their branches and leaves, to use next year as trellis stakes.

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