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.
Harvesting Vegetables -- Keep up with the harvest from your vegetable garden. Be sure to pick small and often. Tiny filet green beans, for example, need picking daily. And be sure to remove rotting or diseased produce from the garden. They act as disease magnets.
- 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.