Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2012
Regional Report

Different Herbs for Different Locations

Lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, savory, and thyme do fine in hot sun and poor but well-drained soil with minimal fertilizer. On the other hand, basil, chives, coriander (cilantro), and parsley prefer richer soil with more frequent watering.

Look for Female Squash Blossoms

If your first squash blossoms don't set fruit, don't worry. They're probably just male blossoms. Once the female blossoms (the ones with the miniature squash at the base of the flower) start appearing along with the male flowers, as long as bees are present to pollinate them, fruit set should take place.

Plant Heat-Tolerant Lettuce and Spinach

Fill small planting area gaps with heat-tolerant varieties of lettuce or spinach. Keep seed packets of these in the refrigerator so seeds will germinate quickly in hot weather.

Give Exposed Tree Trunks Sun Protection

Paint tree trunks with a light-colored indoor water-based 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. Be sure to use indoor, water-based paint, since outdoor oil-based paint will clog the tree's pores and kill the tree!

Propagate Woody Cuttings

Root woody cuttings of azalea, chrysanthemum, carnation, fuchsia, and hydrangea. Choose growth that is somewhat woody and not still bright green and pliable. Cut a five- or six- inch piece with six nodes (where the leaves come out of the stem), and strip off all of the leaves but the tiny young top growth and one or two well-developed leaves. Place the cutting in light, sandy soil or planting mix up to the bottom leaf. Sprinkle the foliage and thoroughly wet the soil mixture. Provide filtered light in a sheltered location and keep soil mix moist until the cuttings are well-established, in about a month. Then they can be transplanted.

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