Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2001
Regional Report

Reviving Vegetables

Prune off ragged or disease and insect infested leaves of vegetable plants such as beans, cucumbers, and summer squash. Water plants well. Within a few weeks, healthy new leaves and blossoms will appear and fruit set will begin again.

Stop Feeding Trees

Stop feeding trees later this month. Feeding after September 1st will result in tender new growth that can be damaged by winter frosts. The cooling weather and lack of additional nitrogen fertilizer during September, October, and early November will help harden off summer growth getting it ready to withstand winter's cold.

Hose Spider Mites

Red spider mites thrive in summer's hot, dry weather. They especially love roses, evergreens, shrubs, and ivy. Check for the telltale webbing of these tiny creatures. When found, hose them off every few days thoroughly rinsing the underside of leaves.

Control Mildew with Baking Soda

Plain household baking soda can help control powdery mildew in your garden. Dissolve 1/4 ounce of baking soda in 1 gallon of water. Spray it onto plant leaves weekly or after a rain. The baking soda serves as a preventative spray. Mildew spores cannot spread or reproduce so their development is stopped.

Grow Cover Crops

If you\'re not going to plant a winter garden, grow cover crops instead. Cover crops hold the soil through winter and when tilled in spring, add organic matter and nutrients to the garden. Some good cover crops choices include alfalfa, soybeans, fava beans, winter rye, and winter wheat. Till them in 2 to 3 weeks before spring planting to give it time to decompose.


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