Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2010
Regional Report

Slumping Onion & Garlic Foliage

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.

Too Late for More Corn?

Corn planted this late in the season for September harvest may develop problems with smut, a fungus that causes enlarged, gray-black growths on corn ears and other parts of the plant. Destroy- don't compost- these infected ears carefully to prevent spreading the spores. On the other hand, Hispanic cuisine treasures this fungus, calling it huitlacoche and using it in egg and other dishes in place of earthy-flavored mushrooms.

Paint Bare Fruit 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.

Garden Gaps

Fill in garden gaps with summer-into-fall bloomers, especially alyssum, celosia, cosmos, petunia, portulaca, red sage, vinca, and zinnia.

Mowing Lawns

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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