Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Fertilize tasseling corn and other vegetables that are setting -- beans, cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes, etc. -- for increased yields. Plants appreciate this extra boost in food to use immediately in maturing their fruits. But during our extra-hot weather, be sure to water the plants well first so the fertilizer won't "burn" the roots.
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.
Continue to keep vine vegetables (especially beans, cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes) picked, whether or not you will use the harvest that day. If many fruits are allowed to overmature on the plant, production will slow and then cease.
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 lower temperature when the fruit is picked will extend shelf-life for another three days. Tomatoes, in particular, develop more chilling injury -- that telltale graininess and mushiness--when they are cooled after being harvested when thoroughly warm.
Red Spider Mites Love the Heat
Red spider mites thrive in hot, dry weather. Hose them off from roses, evergreens, shrubs, and ivy. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the undersides of leaves.