Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2012
Regional Report

Feed Bearing Veggies

For increased yields, fertilize tasseling corn and other vegetables that are setting fruit, such as beans, cucumbers, eggplants, and tomatoes. Plants use this extra boost in nutrition immediately to mature their fruits. But during our extra-hot weather, be sure to water the plants well first, so the fertilizer won't "burn" the roots.

Care for Ripening Melons

Lift melons off the soil surface get them away from moist soil and crawling pests. Boards, cans, or plastic baskets from strawberries or cherry tomatoes serve well. Stop watering plants the week before they're ripe to allow the sweetness to concentrate and to minimize fruit-cracking problems.

Harvest Early In The Day

Harvest fruits and vegetables as early in the day as possible, especially if they are not to be eaten that day or will be refrigerated. Research at the University of California, Davis, has found that the six hours before sunrise is the best time to harvest. As soon as the sun hits the fruits or vegetables, the pulp temperature begins to rise, and even shading them will not delay the temperature rise for long. Each five degrees drop in temperature when the fruit is picked will extend its shelf life for an additional three days. Tomatoes, in particular, develop more chilling injury -- that telltale graininess and mushiness -- when they are cooled after being harvested when thoroughly warm.

Make a Last Mum Pinching

This is the last chance to increase bloom size of chrysanthemums and dahlias by removing half of the new buds. If you wait until later, the blooms won't have sufficient time to fully develop before they color up and open.

Water and Feed Lawns In The Early Morning

Fungal diseases thrive in wet, warm conditions, so water lawns early in the morning so they dry quickly. Feed Bermuda, dichondra, St. Augustine, and other subtropical grasses, but wait till the weather cools before feeding cool-season grasses.

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