Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2009
Regional Report

Plant the Last of the Corn

Plant the last batch of corn this month, as later plantings will probably have smut problems (those big, grey and black puffs of fungus in place of kernels) when harvested in September. Or, you may choose to inoculate your corn with the fungus -- it's a delicacy called huitlacoche in Southwest and Mexican cuisine.

Put Manure On Some Veggies Only

Aged manure can be applied as mulch directly onto globe artichokes, asparagus, cabbages and other cole crops, corn, cucumbers, melons, and squashes. But keep it away from beans, beets, carrots, peas, sweet and white potatoes, and tomatoes -- or it will encourage too much foliage at the expense of the edible parts we want.

Don't Remove Corn Suckers

Removing suckers that form at the base of cornstalks will not increase (and may even decrease) yields. The extra leaf surface of the suckers increases photosynthesis, which provides more food for the developing ears. However, remove any ears that form on the suckers, as these will take energy away from the main, full-sized ears.

Put Bird Netting On Fruit Trees

Put netting on trees two or three weeks before the fruit begins to ripen to discourage birds from making a habit of visiting the tree. (You know they decide the fruit's ripe the very day before you do, so they get them first!) Tie loose ends of the netting so birds don't get trapped inside.

Give Roses Attention

Lightly prune, feed, and water roses on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to encourage them to flower continuously into the late fall. Trim faded blooms down to the first five-part leaf or further to gently shape the plant. New blooms will appear in about three weeks. This gentle pruning to shape the plant also strengthens the lower canes and root system.

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