July Tips: Southern California
The heat gives both plants and people a bit of a break, but there are still plenty of basic maintenance tasks to do.
- As the weather gets warmer, schedule your gardening for early morning and late afternoon when the air is cooler and the sun not so intense.
Deadheading 101 -- Keep deadheading. For the most flowers and tidiest garden, deadhead daily. Some gardeners take a few minutes each morning, making it part of their daily routine.
- Keep up with watering chores. While you're at it, give your trees, shrubs, and perennials an occasional hosing down from top to bottom to wash off dust and pests.
- Keep new plantings well-watered.
- When annuals or perennials get leggy or scraggly, consider cutting them back by one-third or more. With some plants, this not only makes them look neater, but it also often encourages a fresh flush of growth and/or bloom.
- Fertilize any acid-loving plants and any that may be showing an iron deficiency; for example, young leaves may appear yellow-green with dark green leaves. Acid-loving plants include azaleas, gardenias blueberries, and camellias.
Fertilizing Plants -- Fertilize containers. Constant watering flushes out nutrients.
- Fertilize tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants for best growth, especially in upcoming cooler months.
- Mow regularly, your best defense against weeds!
- If you have a garden journal, keep up with it. Most garden journals drop off as the season progresses, but it's a useful tool 12 months of the year.
- Plant late-summer flowering annuals and perennials, as well as heat-loving tropical and sub-tropical plants.
Vegetable Production -- Harvest veggies to keep them producing.