Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
July, 2008
Regional Report

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Lift melons onto pots to speed ripening, and stop watering about a week before they will ripen to concentrate their sugars.

Midsummer Watering for Highest Yields

Continue watering and fertilizing the entire garden with a balanced fertilizer and manure tea or fish emulsion every other week or so for steady growth and food production. Foliar sprays of liquid seaweed help trees, vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals withstand heat stress. Pay special attention to shallow-rooted plants, which wilt and dry out quickly in hot, dry weather. Remember to avoid overhead watering late in the day during warm weather, when leaves can't dry off by sunset, as this encourages diseases.

Keep grape root zones evenly moist as the harvest approaches to ensure plump, ripe fruits. Enclose whole grape clusters in paper bags to protect them from birds and wasps. Excluding light will not affect the ripening or sweetening of the grapes.

Water berries deeply once a week until harvest. Then water once a month (twice a month during long periods of hot, dry weather).

Tomatoes and other large plants in loamy clay soil use about 1 inch of water in 3 days of hot, dry weather. Rinse the undersides of leaves with water to discourage spider mites. Tomatoes and eggplants, especially, like this refreshment.

Water and fertilize melons deeply once a week for juicy, fleshy fruits. Stop watering melons about a week before they will ripen so their sugars concentrate.

Soak strawberry beds and fruit and nut trees every other week this month if the weather is especially hot.

Keep citrus and avocado trees well watered throughout the summer. Build a basin for water to soak in deeply, but start it 1 foot away from the trunk to prevent crown rot.

Conserve the water you do provide by mulching heavily with organic matter. Mulch also cuts down on weeds and helps keep plant roots cool. Replenish as it decomposes. Keep mulch from touching stems of plants and trunks of trees to allow good air circulation and avoid crown rot.

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