Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2009
Regional Report

Help Melons Ripen

Place ripening melons onto upside down aluminum pie pans or cans to keep them off the damp soil. The reflected heat and light will help them ripen evenly and sooner than when they are shaded by foliage.

Thirsty Tomatoes

Tomatoes and other large plants in loamy clay soil use about one inch of water in three days of hot dry weather. Rinse the undersides of leaves with water to discourage spider mites. Tomatoes and eggplants especially like this refreshment.

Onion and Garlic Slumping

If onion and garlic foliage has not yet slumped and dried, stop irrigating, and bend the stalks to the ground. Allow a month or so for them to dry prior to harvest. Avoid bruising the bulbs during harvest, and let them cure in a single layer on slats or screens in a dry, well-ventilated place. They're ready to store when the foliage and outer layers are dry and papery. Store the bulbs in a cool, dry place where air can circulate. Any with soft, thick necks or bulbs that are not thoroughly dried should be used first, as they will spoil in storage. Check the stored batch once a week, and toss or use immediately any that begin to spoil.

Painting Tree Trunks

Paint tree trunks with another coat of light-colored interior latex paint to prevent sunscald, especially on young trees. Prune tree branches with no new growth, and prune espaliered fruit trees only to shape them gently.

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch!

Heavily mulch cultivated areas and pathways with organic matter to cut down on weeds and watering, and to help keep plant roots cool. Replenish it as it deteriorates into the soil. Keep it from touching stems of plants and trunks of trees to allow good air circulation and avoid possible crown rot.

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