Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2011
Regional Report

Get Ready to Harvest Onions and Garlic

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.

Watch for Smut in Last Corn Planting

Corn planted this late in the season may develop problems with smut (the enlarged gray-black pods) when it's harvested in September. Destroy -- don't compost -- these infected ears carefully to prevent spreading the spores.

Ripen Melons On Metal Pie Pans

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.

Fill Garden Gaps withe Blooms

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

Turn Trimmings into Rootings

Root cuttings of azaleas, fibrous begonias, camellias, carnations, marguerite daisies, fuchsias, gardenias, geraniums, hollies, hydrangeas, lilacs, marguerites, mock oranges, mums, and verbena in a mix of milled peat, sand, and garden soil. Provide filtered light, and maintain the moisture of the soil mix until they are well-rooted, in a month or so. Then transplant them.

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