Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

May, 2013
Regional Report

Fertilize Transplants

When you transplant seedlings, or even larger plants, apply a mild solution of a balanced fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus and potassium, such as 5-10-10. This gives the plant a complete supply of the nutrients it needs for sturdy growth. A heavy application of nitrogen will encourage too much green growth too soon and result in lower yields later.

Prune Fruit Tree Suckers

Fruit tree suckers (shoots that grow from the base of the trunk) and water sprouts (shoots that grow straight up from a branch) compete for water and nutrients with other branches but bear no flowers or fruit. Prune these out to keep the energy going to flowers and fruit.

Handpick Hornworms

Check tomatoes for pests regularly. Before handpicking hard-to-see tomato hornworms, lightly sprinkle plants with water. The water makes the hornworms wiggle, and you can find them more easily. And, although it looks threatening, their "horns" are harmless.

Harvest Garlic and Onions

When foliage on garlic, bulb onions, and shallots begins to dry naturally later this month, stop watering. This will encourage the dry outer layers to form on the bulbs, which is necessary for their long storage. When about half of the foliage slumps to the ground naturally, bend the rest to initiate this drying.

Snip Spent Rose Blooms

Snip spent rose blooms down to the first five-part leaf to gently shape the plant. Feed plants lightly and water them. Prune out shoots arising from the rootstock below the graft union and any twiggy growth from the center of the plant for better air circulation.

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