AUGUST is WATER SPECIFIC month!
The Southern California coastal ‘June Glooms’ may continue, or alternate with hot days in August. That calls for your attention; there just isn’t a routine, so water with passion! Feel how your veggie must be feeling! Thirsty plants need their water to continue to grow and produce. Most plants need consistent water. If they don’t get it they make misshapen fruits, or stop producing at all, thinking summer or production time is over. Oops. If you need to be gone, ask someone reliable and experienced, who knows what your plants need, to water for you. General courtesy and gratitude is you offer to let them pick what ripens while they are tending your veggies.
Think like a plant! Pretend you are a short rooted plant, like a strawberry, lettuce, onion, bean, cucumber. You can’t go get the hose yourself, but you need to stay moist or your toes dry up. You are hoping your gardener will check, stick their finger in the ground, to see just how moist your soil is and how deep the moisture goes. Think like a tall big corn making fat cobs – needs water from bottom to top! Giant leafy plants like chard, kales with tons of curls, zucchinis, need a lot of water to fill up those leaves! Plants that are in full production, especially of watery fruits like zucchinis, cucumbers, and tomatoes need steady water to make those fruits. You need more water because you are working hard, and there is a lot of you! If you are a little seed or seedling, you need tender gentle watering so you won’t be swept away or broken! Remember, fuzzy plants, like tomatoes and eggplant prefer dry leaves, so water them underneath. Although with tomatoes, better to water their neighbors or nearby rather than right at or under them. That’s to let the soil near the roots be dry, to not harbor the Verticillium and Fusarium Wilts. The water your tomatoes can then get is from their lower roots below the topsoil fungus area.
Rebuild water basins that have degraded to be sure to capture the water your plant needs. Use some pretty shells or rocks to hold the soil in place.
A sure sign there isn’t enough moisture is if the water just runs off the top of the soil to low spots. That soil needs a deep thorough soaking to wash away accumulated surface salts. Water deeper and less frequently. Mulch can help, keep it a couple inches away from the veggie stem. One of the simplest things is to take healthy trim, chop and drop.
On these overcast days, water at ground level and in the AM so leaves aren’t wet, mildewing. Cut off bottom leaves so they don’t transmit funguses from the soil up into your plants, and keep fruit up off the soil to prevent bug nibbles.
Winter Weather Predictions are mild to cooler and dry. Cooler means slower growth, so this fall, perhaps a bit more manures – as they rot they create heat and nutrients for your plants. Plant a tad more densely in a row for more crop, and to keep the plants warmer together. But, do leave plenty of space between the rows for air flow to keep down diseases. Do you follow the Farmers’ Almanac planting dates?
Tomato Questions & Cures – Holes, spots, brown areas? Here is an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) image page from UC Davis that is likely to answer your question! It includes diseases and pests.
How to Get RID of those cute pesky digging Skunks! http://www.howtogetridofstuff.com/pest-control/how-to-get-rid-of-skunks/