Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2009
Regional Report

Efficient Vegetables

Some vegetables are more efficient than others, producing more food for the amount of garden space they use and the time they require from you. Carrots, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, summer squash, and tomatoes produce the most. Yields of cucumbers, squashes, and tomatoes can be even greater when they are grown on trellises, saving soil space for growing more crops.

Feed When Blooming

For greater yields, feed eggplants, peppers, squashes, and tomatoes when they blossom. Assure a plentiful set of peppers and tomatoes by increasing the magnesium available to the plants: dissolve one tablespoon of Epsom salts in one quart of warm water, and spray or sprinkle the solution on the leaves and blossoms. Pour the remainder in a ring around the plant at the dripline. Repeat this several times during the blossoming period.

No First Squash?

If your first squash blossoms don't set fruit, don't worry. They're probably just male blossoms. Once the female blossoms (the ones with the miniature squash at the base of the flower) start appearing along with the male flowers--and bees are present to pollinate them -- fruit set should take place.

Thin Fruits

Thin fruits on trees and vines to what you realistically expect to consume. Thin grape clusters to produce bunches of fewer but larger individual fruits, rather than many tiny ones. Thin tree fruits to opposite sides of branches for balanced and more complete development with less strain on trees, especially on those bearing fruit for the first or second time. Leave at least three inches between apricots and plums; and five inches between peaches, nectarines, pears, and apples.

Pinch Bloomers

Pinch back tips and faded blooms from alyssum, tuberous begonias, carnations, chrysanthemums, dianthus, delphiniums, fuchsias, ger%aniums, hydrangeas, lobelias, marguerites, and penstemons to encourage bushier growth and more flowering.

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