Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

May, 2003
Regional Report

THREE SISTERS

Corn and beans and squash are the “3 Sisters” of American Indian gardens. Corn stalks make convenient pole bean supports. Plant the beans after the corn is six inches tall, or the beans will outgrow the corn. Squash leaves cover the soil surface to shade it, preventing water evaporation.

SQUIGGLING TOMATO HORNWORMS

When hand-picking those hard-to-see tomato hornworms, sprinkle the plants lightly with water first. Then, as the hornworms wiggle to shake off the water, you can easily see them and remove them.

DRYING FOLIAGE

When foliage on garlic, bulb onions, and shallots begins to dry naturally, stop irrigating. This will encourage the dry outer layers to form on the bulbs--necessary for long storage. When about half of the foliage slumps to the ground naturally, bend the rest to initiate this maturing. The bulbs will be ready for harvest when the foliage is thoroughly dry and crisp.

FRUIT SUCKERS AND WATERSPROUTS

Fruit tree \"suckers\" (growing from the base of the plant or tree) or \"watersprouts\" (growing straight up from a branch) compete for water and nutrients but bear no flowers or fruit. On citrus, these wayward shoots have long thorns and leaves that look different from those on \"regular\" branches. Yank them out or roughly cut or smash them to discourage regrowth. It\'s nice to know that the rootstock is so healthy, but you want the energy to go into the flowers and fruit.

PLANT FRAGRANCE

For fragrance, plant citrus, gardenia, jasmine, mock orange, and roses.

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