Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2000
Regional Report

Harvesting Vegetables

Continue to keep vining vegetables (especially beans, cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes) picked, whether or not you will use the harvest that day. If fruits are allowed to mature on the plant, production will slow and eventually cease, since the plant will "think" it has accomplished its reproductive duties.

Refrigerating Vegetables

For vegetables that will be refrigerated immediately after harvest, pick early in the morning so there\'ll be as little change as possible from the temperature at harvest to the temperature in storage. Besides saving cooling time and energy, the texture of the fruit is less affected. Chilling damage can cause tomatoes and melons to get grainy and mushy.

Fertilizing Brambles

Feed and water bramble plants such as raspberries and blackberries. The size of next summer\'s fruit is determined by the care they receive this month and next. The more fertilizer and water now, the bigger the berries will be next spring. Propagate bramble fruits by bending the cane tips to the soil surface and burying one or two nodes about 6 to 10 inches from the cane tip an inch or so deep in the soil. They\'ll naturally root, forming a new plant.

Harvesting Flowers for Drying

Choose a dry, sunny day to harvest globe amaranth, baby\'s breath, cockscomb, lunaria, strawflower, and statice for drying. Cut them before they\'re fully open, or their flowers will shatter as they dry. To cure them slowly, hang stems upside down in a warm, airy, preferably dark room.

Controlling Spider Mites

Red spider mites thrive in hot, dry weather. The telltale sign of mite activity is a very fine, silvery webbing, especially on the undersides of leaves. The mites are almost too tiny to see with the naked eye, but they can be detected by tapping a leaf over a sheet of white paper and looking for tiny red dots to fall onto it. Hose the mites off roses, evergreens, shrubs, and ivy, thoroughly rinsing the undersides of leaves.


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