Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2009
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--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.

Transplanting Veggies

Transplant basil, celery, chard, cucumbers, dill, kale, leeks, summer-maturing lettuce, okra, green onions, melons, white potatoes, pumpkins, summer savory, New Zealand spinach, and summer and winter squash.

Hot-Weather Transplanting Tips

Do your transplanting in the late afternoon or evening so plants have the whole night to begin to recover before they're hit with a full day of sun and heat. Water the transplants in well and provide shade from the intense mid-day sun. Water enough to keep soil around transplants moist for at least a month until they're well-established. Mulch transplants to lessen evaporation so your irrigation water lasts longer.

Adding Manure Between Crops

Manure can be applied as a mulch directly onto globe artichokes, asparagus, cabbages and other cole crops, cucumbers, melons, sweet corn, and squash--but don't let it touch the stems or foliage, as it will burn them. Keep high-nitrogen ferti%lizers away from beans, beets, carrots, parsnips, sweet and white pota%toes, and tomatoes, or there'll be more foliage than fruit.

Mowing: High and Sharp

Continue to mow lawns at two or three inches height to keep grass roots shaded. Grass that is shorn too much when mown is susceptible to shock and sunburn. Also, keep your lawn mower blades sharp. Dull blades may require as much as three times the power as sharp blades to do the job, and they tear the grass blade edges, making the lawn more susceptible to stress and diseases.

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