Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2012
Regional Report

Last Corn Planting

Plant a last batch of corn this month, as later plantings will probably have smut problems (those big, grey and black puffs of fungus in place of kernels) when harvested in September. Or you may choose to inoculate your corn with the fungus -- it's considered a delicacy in Southwestern and Mexican cuisine.

Dry Out Garlic and Onions

Stop watering your garlic and bulb onions when the foliage begins to dry naturally. Bend the foliage to the ground to encourage the bulbs to form the dry outer layers that are necessary for long storage. Avoid bruising the bulbs during harvest, and cure them in single layers on slats or screens in a dry, shady, well-ventilated place. Make sure the necks of the bulbs are completely dry (crisp and papery) before clipping the foliage or bunching and tying the bulbs.

Eat Thick-Necked Onions First

Thick-necked onion varieties are more vulnerable to rot because they dry more slowly and less completely than thin-necked ones, so eat these first. Store the thoroughly dried onions in a shaded, cool, dry, well-ventilated area. Check them periodically, and eat any that show signs of spoilage.

Deep-Water Citrus and Avocados

Deeply water citrus and avocados every two or three weeks and keep a 3 inch thick layer of mulch over their root zone to maintain uniformly cool soil temperatures. These trees are more tender than other fruit trees and cannot withstand the stress of alternate periods of moisture and dryness. Citrus roots grow beyond the tree's dripline, so give it an appropriately wider basin area.

Trim Roses

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.

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