Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Cover Soaker Hoses
Place a thick layer of mulch over any soaker hoses. In hot weather, water evaporates quickly. So quickly in fact that it may not even reach the ground if you use overhead sprinklers. Soaker hoses are the perfect way to water trees and shrubs. Another reason to cover the hoses is that they may deteriorate rapidly in the sun unless they are protected by a layer of mulch.
Cut back now on water for tomatoes to develop good flavor. Tomatoes have very deep roots and can thrive on their own for a week or more. The less you water, the better your tomatoes will taste. Fertilize each time you water with half-strength liquid fish fertilizer or 15-30-15 to keep plants going strong and encourage more blooms.
Vacation Garden Care
If you are planning to leave on a vacation trip, here are a few tips for keeping your garden going while you are away. Place hanging plants on the ground to reduce evaporation. Cluster container pots in a shady area. Grouping the pots will create humidity and help preserve moisture. Do not fertilize prior to leaving. Plants that are actively growing will use more water than those which are resting. The same goes for pruning. Water everything before you leave. Check automatic irrigation clocks and sprinklers.
Keep fuchsias pinched back to prolong bloom. Fuchsias bloom on new wood only. The formation of seed will signal the plant to stop blooming. Keeping the branches tipped will promote bushy growth and multiple blooms. Fertilize with 0-10-10 and keep the soil moist.
Create a Bird Bath
Provide a source of water for birds in your garden. You will be amazed at how many insects a hungry sparrow can devour. Think of it as your reward for setting out a bird bath. I love to watch agile phoebes swoop and dive for white cabbage moths!Keep the water clean and fresh, and place a rock in the center so that smaller birds can enjoy a bath too.