Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2001
Regional Report

Pinch Herbs

Pinch back herbs such as basil and oregano to encourage branching. Use the clippings either fresh or dry them for later use. Harvest them early in the morning after the dew has dried but before the day becomes warm and the fragrant oils dissipate. If you can smell the herbs, it's too late and best to wait until the next day.

Use Manure

Manure can be applied as a mulch directly onto globe artichokes, asparagus, cabbages and cole crops, cucumbers, melons, sweet corn, and squash. However, don't let the manure touch the stems or foliage because it may burn them. Don't use high-nitrogen fertilizers on beans, beets, carrots, parsnips, sweet and white potatoes, and tomatoes, or there'll produce more foliage than fruit.

Protect Melons

Protect vine crop fruits such as melons and squash from snails and slugs by lifting the fruits off the ground and place them on cans, berry baskets, or boards. Spread dried, crushed eggshells under each plant. The snails and slugs will avoid these sharp particles. Also, placing melons on metal cans will speed ripening and sweetening of melons by concentrating the sun's warmth onto the fruits.

Divide Bearded Iris

Dig and divide bearded iris clumps now if they\'re crowded or didn\'t bloom well this spring. Dug up clumps and break off and discard older central rhizomes that have no foliage. Let the young, healthy rhizomes dry out of the direct sun for several hours so a callous layer forms over the break before replanting it. On rhizomes with foliage, clip roots to 2 inches long, remove individual dry leaves, and clip the green leaves into an 8-inch tall fan. Dig compost and bonemeal into the top 6 inches of soil and replant 1 foot apart, but deep enough only to barely cover the rhizome with soil.

Keep Grass Mowed

Continue mowing lawns at 2 to 3 inches tall to keep grass roots shaded. Grass that is shorn too closely when mown is susceptible to shock and sunburn. Also, keep your lawn mower blades sharp. Dull blades may require as much as three times the power as sharp blades to do the job and they tear the grass blade edges, making the lawn more susceptible to stress and diseases.


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