Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2011
Regional Report

Keep Veggies Harvested

Keep vegetables picked often, even if you don't plan to use that day's harvest immediately. Vegetables that aren't harvested soon enough will produce a chemical that inhibits further blossoming on the plant. Check plants at least every other day for ripe vegetables during the summer. This is especially important for beans, cucumbers, eggplants, squashes, and tomatoes.

Shake Tomato Cages

Hand-pollinate tomatoes by flicking each bloom during the driest part of the day. Big plants can be taken care of with one or two shakes while holding onto their cages or stakes. The pollen is naturally sticky, and this helps spread it.

Harvesting Herbs

Pinch back herbs -- especially fast-growing basil -- to encourage bushy, more delicately-flavored young growth through the summer.

Rose Care

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. Cut roses last longer when cut late in the day, unlike other blooms, which last longer when cut early in the morning. Those cut after 4:30 p.m. will last up to ten hours longer than those cut at approximately 8:00 a.m. The sugar that the leaves manufacture and store during the day remains in the leaves, nourishing the blooms. In flowers cut early in the morning, those sugars have traveled to the stem and roots during the night, so there's little left in the leaves to feed the blooms.

Paint Fruit Tree Trunks To Prevent Sunburn

If tree trunks are exposed to direct sun during winter or summer, paint them with a light-colored indoor latex paint to prevent sunburn damage, which then invites borers and fungus infections. Use an inexpensive brand, or thin down a more expensive one to a solution of half water and half paint.

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