8 Late June Garden Tasks for Gardeners in Southern California’s Areas of Coastal Influence

For those gardeners living in areas of Southern California with coastal influence, June can be a busy month in the garden. Here are some tasks that should be on your list:

  1. Monitor plants regularly, at least every other day during warm weather and every day during hot weather to catch wilting, irrigation, pest, disease, weed, and other problems early.
  2. Maintain or add mulch.
  3. Harvest thinnings, spring crops, and summer crops. Harvest more aggressively before heat waves, including whole plants or all vegetables for cool-season crops such as basil and red-or-multi-colored chard and sensitive warm-season crops such as zucchini.
  4. Use caution when adding nitrogen.
  5. Provide consistent soil moisture and partial shade during heat waves to extend harvests; see GardenZeus Tips for Shading Vegetables During Hot Weather for creative ideas for providing shade.
  6. Harvest and save seeds from spring-bolted vegetables and herbs such as arugula, basil, beets, chard, and lettuce after seed stalks are brown and dry; and from warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes.
  7. Cut off expired plant stems at ground level after harvest or as plants die, leaving roots in place to feed soil.
  8. Plan and complete irrigation, seed-starting, transplanting, soil testing, soil amending, and garden projects for summer.

Don’t know your GardenZeus Climate Zone? Find out here.

Other articles of interest:

Tips for Summer Tomato Planting in Southern California Coastal-Influence Areas

Summer Tomato Planting in Southern California Coastal Areas

3 Tips for Growing Cucumber in Coastal California

8 Late June Garden Tasks for Gardeners in Southern California’s Warm Inland Valleys

By the end of June, gardeners in Southern California’s warmer inland valleys are generally maintaining and harvesting rather than planting. Few if any cool season vegetables are still thriving, and warm summer vegetables are generally ready for harvest. However, to get the most out of existing plantings, gardeners need to to do more than occasionally go into the yard to pick that fabulous heirloom tomato!  Here are eight late June gardening tasks:

  1. Monitor plants regularly, at least every other day during warm weather and every day during hot weather to catch wilting, irrigation, pest, disease, weed, and other problems early.
  2. Maintain or add mulch; consider adding extra mulch to a total depth of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches to keep soil cool during summer heat. Harvest summer crops.
  3. Harvest aggressively before heat waves, including whole plants or all vegetables for any remaining cool-season crops and sensitive warm-season crops such as zucchini.
  4. Provide consistent soil moisture and shade during heat waves to extend harvests; see GardenZeus Tips for Shading Vegetables During Hot Weather for creative ideas for providing shade.
  5. Add nitrogen with caution in active beds and near plants as it may activate heat-generating processes in soils.
  6. Harvest and save seeds from spring-and-summer bolted vegetables and herbs such as arugula, basil, beets, chard, lettuce, and spinach after seed stalks are brown and dry; and from warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes.
  7. Cut off expired plant stems at ground level after harvest or as plants die, leaving roots in place to feed soil.
  8. Plan and complete irrigation, seed-starting, transplanting, soil testing, soil amending, and garden projects for summer and fall.

And enjoy the harvest of your fabulous warm season veggies! To view customized gardening information for your area, go to GardenZeus and enter your zip code.

Other articles of interest:

Tips for Late Tomato Planting in Hot Summer Areas

The GardenZeus Guide to Watering Cucumbers, Melons and Squash (Cucurbits)

The GardenZeus Guide to Watering Tomatoes

 

5 Tips for Using and Storing Green Beans

Storing. As with most vegetables, snap or green beans are at their best just after picking; if not cooked or eaten after harvest, cool snap or green beans immediately for optimum storage life. Under ideal storage conditions of 32° F and 95% relative humidity, green beans will store well for 7 to 10 days. If stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, they are best eaten within a few days. Snap or green beans can also be lightly blanched and frozen for future use.

Ethylene Gas Sensitivity. Green beans are moderately sensitive to ethylene gas, so when placing your green beans in your refrigerator, take care to place them far away from your ethylene-producing fruit.

Using Bean Leaves. Bean leaves are edible and can be surprisingly palatable, especially when young and tender, for eating fresh, in salads, steaming, sautéing, or stir-frying.

Using Shell Beans. Shell beans can be a wonderful culinary companion because they are close to “al dente” out of the shell and also often have a delicate sweetness missing from stored dry beans. For fine or gourmet cooking, fresh shell beans easily trump dry beans. Shell beans also cook easily, without soaking and without long periods for prep or cooking as is often needed for dry beans, and can be used for baked beans, chili, in any dish for dry or canned beans, or as a green vegetable sautéed or braised. GardenZeus recommends blanching and freezing for storage of shell beans.

Preventing Bean Weevil Damage. Stored dry beans may be prone to damage by bean weevils. After harvesting and cleaning dry beans, GardenZeus recommends freezing the beans for 1 week in air-tight plastic bags to kill any bean-weevil larvae or eggs, after which beans can be confidently stored for later eating or replanting.

To view customized information for growing pole beans in your area, go to GardenZeus and enter your zip code, then go to pole bean.

Other articles on pole bean:

Six Common Problems and Non-Problems With Pole Bean

Pole Beans: How Important is Companion Planting?

5 Tips for Harvesting Pole Beans

 

Make a Sprinkler, Spray Gun or Garden Watering Wand From a Plastic Bottle

Fun with GardenZeus: Make a Sprinkler, Spray Gun, Outdoor Shower, or Garden Watering Wand From a Plastic Bottle

Enter your Southern California zip code for customized gardening advice by plant

Got bored kids or grandkids and no squirt guns on a hot day? If you’ve planned ahead well enough to have a hose connector, teflon plumber’s tape, and a few empty plastic water bottles on hand, there may be no need for other water toys.

This is an easy project that requires adult supervision and can be surprisingly fun for both water play and gardening for kids and adults. Recommended for kids of all ages, especially 5-to-10-year-olds, and adults who need to have more fun.

Tools and materials needed:

– At least 1 plastic bottle such as a 2-liter soda bottle or a smaller water bottle with a longer threaded neck for the bottle lid. It may be difficult or impossible to produce a watertight seal under reasonable water pressure using bottles with a very short threaded neck. Having extra bottles on hand is recommended in case something doesn’t work for you on the first attempt or two. Neck size on plastic bottles may not always match the hose connector, so try them to be sure of a good fit before the kids are ready to play.

– A brass female-to-female hose connector. Plastic threads on the water bottle won’t match the connector exactly, but the metal connector will overpower them.

Teflon plumber’s tape.

– A standard garden hose.

– A 1/8, 3/32, or 1/16 drill bit for wood or plastic, or a similar tool for puncturing the plastic bottle. A drill bit makes neater holes than most other puncturing tools, for a more-uniform spray.

Make the sprinkler, gardening tool, or water toy:

1. Press and twist the drill bit or similar tool to puncture the plastic bottle. This can be done by hand without a drill. To make a sprinkler, put holes in a row or pattern on one side of the bottle. For a spray gun, put one hole at the end of the bottle. For a watering wand or outdoor shower, put a pattern of holes at the bottom and/or bottom sides of the bottle.

2. Wrap Teflon plumber’s tape around the threaded neck of the bottle until thick enough to provide resistance when screwing the bottle onto the connector. The hose connector will not fit the threads perfectly, so this step is needed for a watertight seal. If the bottle leaks at the connector when under pressure, remove the connector and add a thicker layer of Teflon tape.

3. Attach the hose connector as tightly as possible to the threaded neck of the bottle. This step is the weak link when it comes to leaking, so pay attention to creating the best seal possible.

4. Attach the other end of the connector to the end of a standard garden hose.

5. Turn on hose water slowly to fill the bottle, then adjust pressure to turn spray level up or down.

6. Experiment with water volume and pressure from the hose. With a single smaller hole or a few holes, spray will extend further at a lower rate of waterflow from the hose. At moderate-to-high-level hose volume and water pressure, the bottle may separate from the connector.

7. After seeing spray size and pattern, refine your technique with the next bottle for hole position, hole size, and hole quantity to create the perfect water-games toy or watering tool.

8. Recycle bottles when they wear out or you’re done with them.

For extra enjoyment:

– Have a contest to see who can produce a bottle with a water spray that will hit a sibling, family member, or friend at 10 to 20 feet away.

– Try different combinations and patterns of holes at different places on bottles to explore unusual and interesting fountain or spray patterns.

– Puncture 2 sides of a bottle with holes in a row to use for surface-level watering as a compliment to a drip system in your garden.

– Make an outdoor fountain or other homemade water feature using the same methods.

 

Enter your Southern California zip code for customized gardening advice by plant

To read about watering plants in your home garden:

The GardenZeus Guide to Watering Cucumbers, Melons and Squash (Cucurbits)

The GardenZeus Guide to Watering Tomatoes

Down and Dirty 9: Insect Pests and Diseases Usually Aren’t the Problem

Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening
A weekly GardenZeus article series to help gardeners succeed in Southern California’s unique climates and growing conditions.
Post 9: Insect Pests and Diseases Usually Aren’t the Problem

When your garden or landscape plants are diseased or infested with insect pests, obviously you need to deal with the diseases or pests, right? Maybe, says I. Treating an infestation of pests or diseases might help the plants that are currently affected, but this usually doesn’t address the real underlying problems.

Gardeners and homeowners naturally tend to focus on the visually obvious signs of plant problems, such as the bugs and the spots or discoloration on leaves, and also assume that if there aren’t obvious visual symptoms then the plants are fine. Many landscaping and horticultural professionals are more than happy to provide products and services to treat these symptoms without recognizing much less resolving the underlying issues.

Primary plant problems are the underlying stressors for plants, and usually relate to soil, watering, environment, weather or seasonal issues, and human choices or management. They are often invisible or at least less obvious than secondary problems. It’s easy to focus on secondary agents or causes and miss the primary cause(s) completely, which may be subtle or complex, and may require testing, analysis, or expertise to identify. Some primary problems can be resolved with right plant, right place, or by making better management and maintenance choices.

Examples of primary plant problems:
– Drought or insufficient water.
– Constantly wet soil, waterlogging belowground, anaerobic soil conditions, or overwatering.
– Alkaline, compacted, infertile, or dead soil.
– Nutrient deficiencies, toxicities, or high salinity in soil, such as from excessive water-soluble fertilizers.
– Environmental conditions that plants are not biologically or genetically equipped to tolerate such as hot weather, frost, too little or too much sun, and too little or too much shade.

Pests and diseases are usually secondary plant problems. They are Mother Nature’s cleanup crew. Usually they show up to shut things down when when something else has already gone wrong. They tend to occur repeatedly and in cycles, in some cases over years or decades when the primary problems aren’t resolved. While it is possible for insect pests or diseases to descend upon a healthy, unstressed plant or plant population, it’s far more common for infestations to occur when plants are stressed or weakened by primary problems.

“Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening” is a weekly GardenZeus article series in which expert Darren Butler shares more than 20 years of experience about what works and what doesn’t with gardening in Southern California:
Post 8: Tips for Testing Soil pH at Home with a Soil pH Meter
(Coming Soon!) Post 10
All articles in this series: Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening

GardenZeus Calfornia climate zones
Enter your California zip code for customized advice by plant

June 19 – 25 is National Pollinator Week

It’s Pollinator Week!

June 19-25, 2017 has been designated National Pollinator Week by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior designated June 19 – 25 as National Pollinator Week.  The purpose of Pollinator Week is to create awareness of the important role bees, butterflies and others play in the ecosystem and to highlight their declining populations.

GardenZeus articles regarding the effective use of pollinators in the home garden:

Encouraging Cucumber Pollination Through Companion Planting 

Pumpkins and Companion Planting

For customized growing information by plant and area, go to GardenZeus and enter your zip code.

 

Why Are Leaves on My Tomato Plants Turning Yellow?: Part 1 of 2

Why Are Leaves on My Tomato Plants Turning Yellow?: A GardenZeus Guide
Part 1 of 2

See customized advice and information for growing tomatoes in your Southern California zipcode

Don’t know your GardenZeus California Climate Zone? Enter your zipcode at GardenZeus.com.

In horticultural lingo, yellowing of leaves on vegetable plants such as tomatoes is a “general symptom”  or “generalized symptom,” meaning one that can result from many different causes.

The challenge with diagnosing plant problems from a general symptom, or even a few combined general symptoms, can be compared to trying to diagnose what’s wrong with a human who has a headache. Is the headache caused by muscle tension, a cold or infection, alcohol hangover or addiction withdrawal, eye strain, or something more serious like a fractured skull bone? The symptom of having a headache alone is not enough to diagnose, understand, and take steps to address the problem.

In the category of unprovable gardening theories and hot-summer-day surmises, I would guess that almost every gardener who has ever grown more than about 10 tomato plants has had at least a few yellowing leaves.

Even though a general and common symptom, yellowing leaves are an important indicator that something has gone wrong. It may be mild, temporary, or unlikely to affect fruiting and harvest; or it may be a serious or even terminal problem. Below are common causes of yellowing tomato leaves with advice for diagnosing and resolving each problem. These are written for California gardeners but also apply to tomato-leaf-yellowing in other areas.

Overwatering:  Plants that are regularly overwatered commonly develop yellowing leaves. If you never saw wilting leaves and are watering regularly, you may be overwatering. Too much water in soil reduces oxygen availability to plant roots, stresses plants, may prevent uptake of nutrients, and encourages soil-borne diseases.
     Advice: If your soils are constantly wet (as opposed to moist, which usually allows sufficient air to remain in soil), reduce watering.

Underwatering: Tomato plants that are temporarily water-stressed will have wilted leaves that are still green. Tomato plants that are regularly or chronically water-stressed conserve water in roots and stems while allowing lower leaves to yellow and die, usually starting with lower and older leaves. The symptoms on tomatoes of overwatering and underwatering are similar. For plants stressed by underwatering, usually plants will wilt at least once before leaves begin to yellow. If water remains insufficient or with repeated wilting, yellow leaves will brown and die. If you have paid attention to your plants but have not seen them wilt and are worried that you aren’t watering enough, you may be overwatering. Wilting can also be caused by root damage or root disease even if watering is sufficient or appropriate. In some conditions, such as in loose, sandy, or other rapidly draining soil during hot weather, tomato plants may become water-stressed even when watered regularly.
     Advice: If you watered irregularly, saw wilting, or have reason to believe that watering may have been insufficient before leaves yellowed, increase watering. Tomato plants prefer evenly moist soil with slight dry-down between waterings.

Poor Drainage and Standing Water: This has the same effect as overwatering. It is possible for compacted soil or underground obstructions such as large stones to prevent drainage and for there to be standing water below the surface of soil while the soil surface can be dry. Soil and roots in containers can block drainage holes and allow standing water to collect.
     Advice: Grow tomatoes in well-drained soils or containers. It’s often difficult to improve poor drainage for established plants. In some cases reducing watering or breaking up compacted soils outside of tomato root systems may help.  Conduct an infiltration/drainage test before planting tomatoes, or nearby established plants but outside the root zones to look for wet or muddy soil. If belowground soil is wet and smells swampy or otherwise unpleasant, it may have become anaerobic and temporarily toxic to plant roots. Investigate to be sure that water runs through containers and comes out drain holes.

Sunburn: Dark-green leaves on tomato plants usually indicate either insufficient sunlight, too much nitrogen fertilizer, or another source of excessive nitrogen; while pale or light-green leaves on a plant in full sun often indicate too much sunlight. Sunburn often occurs on tomatoes in full sun during hot weather, or when sun/shade conditions change, such as after seedlings are transplanted or when a container plant is moved into full sun from partial shade. Plants can also be sunburned due to normal seasonal changes in sunlight (the sun moving higher or lower in the sky seasonally may drastically change sunlight conditions). Sunburn often starts with yellowing on leaves and if extreme proceeds to white or brown dead areas. It usually occurs in a relatively irregular, grouped or semi-spotting pattern on each individual leaf, and will occur only on leaves that are overexposed to sunlight. Leaves lower down or partially shaded on a plant won’t show sunburn.
     Advice: Plan carefully for sun conditions before planting tomatoes. Grow tomatoes in containers on wheeled carts or wheeled plant stands and move plants to shade during hot weather. Provide sufficient water and shade during hot afternoons. See GardenZeus Tips for Shading Vegetables During Hot Weather

Shock or Transplant Shock: Tomatoes are relatively tolerant of transplanting as compared to other vegetables, but they can be shocked by rough handling of roots, loss of roots, or major changes in environmental conditions, especially when transplanted. The lush, healthy nursery seedlings you purchased were likely grown under ideal conditions in greenhouses with temperature, humidity, fertilizers, and other conditions carefully managed by professionals. Moving plants from these conditions to the potentially harsh realities of your garden or yard, including full sun, hot weather, unamended soils, and a different watering schedule can easily cause shock to tomato plants. Loss of roots and root disturbance, which can be caused by everything from nearby cultivation or rototilling to harvesting companion root crops and removing weeds, can also shock tomato plants.
     Advice: Handle tomato transplants with care. Harden off plants by putting them out in the area where they will be planted for progressively longer periods each day before transplanting. Avoid root disturbance as much as possible when transplanting and for established plants. Pay attention to changes in environmental conditions, especially extreme changes in temperature, watering, or sunlight, and take steps to protect plants.

Herbicides, Pesticides, or Chemicals: Many herbicides, especially broad-spectrum herbicides, cause leaf yellowing, either from direct contact or through absorption via plant roots. It requires only small quantities of some herbicides, chemicals, and substances on plants or in soil to cause yellowing and/or other harm. Herbicides and other chemicals may drift when applied on neighboring or nearby properties.
     Advice: Use herbicides and chemicals with caution and under conditions that will minimize or avoid drift or other exposure to your tomato plants. If you believe herbicides or other harmful chemicals are arriving from a nearby property, it may help to use row covers or other physical barrier placed between plants and the direction of drift, or between plants and prevailing winds or breezes.

See customized advice and information for growing tomatoes in your Southern California zipcode
(Coming Soon!) Why Are Leaves on My Tomato Plants Turning Yellow?: Part 2 of 2

Other articles of interest:

GardenZeus Tips for Fertilizing Tomatoes During the Growing Season

The GardenZeus Guide to Staking, Supporting and Trellising Tomato Plants

GardenZeus Solutions to Common Abiotic Problems With Garden Tomatoes

GardenZeus Calfornia climate zones

 

 

Down and Dirty 8: Tips for Testing Soil pH at Home with a Soil pH Meter

Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening
A weekly GardenZeus article series to help gardeners succeed in Southern California’s unique climates and growing conditions.
Post 8: Tips for Testing Soil pH at Home with a Soil pH Meter

Ignore soil pH in your Southern-California garden soil at your (and your plants’) own risk!

Most soils in Southern California are alkaline, and depending upon severity and plant tolerances, this can wreak varying degrees of havoc in gardens and landscapes. If you have alkaline soil, it’s important to monitor soil pH, choose plants and make other decisions accordingly, improve soil pH, and address the issues that soil alkalinity creates.

Soil pH meters may seem an efficient and economical alternative to lab testing for soil pH, and for the busy Southern-California gardener there is appeal to being able to insert a probe or meter into a soil sample to get a reading at home. However, time and care are still needed to obtain accurate readings.

As a professional I have been satisfied over years with the general accuracy of soil pH meters (often with a margin of error of about 0.1 to 0.3 in the pH scale of 1 – 14) for most general, urban gardening and landscaping purposes when sampling and testing is done carefully and per instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Repeated testing of specific, discrete soil areas over time using a soil pH meter (or using pH strips as described in the prior Down and Dirty article) can be more useful than occasional lab tests with samples combined from multiple garden or yard areas (a composite sample). The greatest benefits from testing soil pH at home are often realized when testing before planning a new landscape or garden, before each season or new planting, before and after treating soils for alkalinity, or at various intervals depending upon plant species and planting purpose. Individual readings from pH meters may be inaccurate. If you test only occasionally, a lab test with a composite sample is usually best.

One drawback of soil pH meters is that they are more limited in their ability to measure alkalinity in soil than acidity, and often top out in measurement range at about 8 pH. Soil alkalinity may exceed 8 pH in Southern California. If your soil pH meter maxes out at 8, investigate further. See the prior article in this series, Down and Dirty 7: Mudpies and Fizz: Easy Home Tests for Soil pH for instructions about testing higher-alkalinity soils at home using pH strips.

A variety of soil pH meters are available. Exact instructions for use, the time needed for the meter to register a reading, and other details. methods, and functions may vary. For an inexpensive-but-effective soil pH meter, GardenZeus recommends this popular model. Professional-quality soil pH meters are also available.

It’s important to use distilled water when preparing soil mixes for pH testing at home because it has a neutral pH and won’t affect test results. Most municipal water is alkaline and will skew your results. Distilled water can be purchased at most grocery stores that sell bottled water.

While specific testing methods may vary by soil pH meter, accurate results generally require taking a large soil sample from 2 to 6 inches below your soil’s surface. Avoid sampling the top inch or two of soil as pH may be more variable within the “O” layer near the soil surface, and may be different than the pH of mineralized topsoil that we want to test a few inches down. Remove and keep out mulch, surface amendments, fertilizers, compost, organic matter such as roots and leaf litter, and anything else other than soil from your sample as much as possible.

Put the soil sample into a bucket or similar container, and mix with distilled water to the consistency of wet mud. Allow the wet soil sample to sit  for at least 30 to 60 minutes before testing. Clean the probe(s) on your soil meter after testing each soil sample.

Extreme results are probably errors or variation within a limited soil area. The average of multiple tests over time tends to be the most accurate.

GardenZeus recommends testing soil pH separately for every planting area and in any new planting beds both before and after amending. Soil pH can vary significantly within a single yard or garden. Many factors or conditions in soil can affect pH and produce a surprising or varied result within a small soil area, from prior anaerobic conditions and chronically wet areas, to a history of pets or wild animals urinating in an area, to detergents or chemicals that may have been dumped or drained into soil.

“Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening” is a weekly GardenZeus article series in which expert Darren Butler shares more than 20 years of experience about what works and what doesn’t with gardening in Southern California:
Post 7: Mudpies and Fizz: Easy Home Tests for Soil pH
(Coming Soon!) Post 9
All articles in this series: Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening

GardenZeus Calfornia climate zones
Enter your California zip code for customized advice by plant

Tips for Summer Tomato Planting in Southern California Coastal-Influence Areas

Want to plant tomatoes in June or July but not sure the seasonal timing is right? This article gives tips and advice for succeeding with summer tomato planting in warm-summer, mild-winter California areas, particularly in GardenZeus California Climate Zone 14: Southern Strong Coastal Influence.

See customized advice and information for growing tomatoes in your Southern California zipcode

The same tips and methods can be applied to late tomato planting in many warm-summer, mild-winter California areas.

Don’t know your GardenZeus California Climate Zone? Enter your zipcode at GardenZeus.com.

It’s full speed ahead with tomato planting throughout the summer in GardenZeus California Climate Zone 14 (Southern areas with strong coastal influence but usually at least a mile from the ocean).

Continue planting seedlings of heat-tolerant varieties (both determinate and indeterminate types) through July, during periods of moderate or cool temperatures. It’s generally best to avoid starting seeds outdoors from about June through August or September in your zone unless you can give close attention to young seedlings, to be sure they receive sufficient water and shade when needed during hot weather. Seedlings may need to be checked and watered at least once or twice per day during warm-to-hot weather for the first 4 or 5 weeks after germination.

In July and August, continue planting seedlings of heat-tolerant determinant varieties, but begin shifting to starting seeds and planting seedlings of cold-tolerant indeterminant or parthenocarpic tomato varieties. Oregan Spring is a great choice for planting all summer and fall in your zone as it will produce tomato fruits during both hot and cold weather.

Consider growing tomatoes in large containers on wheeled carts or wheeled plant stands so you can leave them out into full sun on moderate or warm days and keep them shaded or in cool areas during heatwaves. Container tomatoes will need extra water and attention during hot weather. See Growing Tomatoes in Containers: 5 Steps for Success and GardenZeus Tips for Container Vegetable Gardening.

Plant tomatoes into rich, deep, fertile, and living soil; or use raised beds and large containers filled with fertile topsoil, washed sand, compost, and organic amendments. Chances are low for a good yield when planting tomatoes into previously uncultivated soils especially infertile sandy soils or heavy clay soils.

Mulch well, maintain even soil moisture, and see our customized tomato-growing information, including more seasonal recommendations and customized recommendations for tomato varieties for your zipcode:
See customized advice and information for growing tomatoes in your Southern California zipcode

Other articles of interest:

GardenZeus Tips for Fertilizing Tomatoes During the Growing Season

The GardenZeus Guide to Staking, Supporting and Trellising Tomato Plants 

GardenZeus Solutions to Common Abiotic Problems With Garden Tomatoes 

GardenZeus Calfornia climate zones

Enter your California zip code for customized advice by plant

Summer Tomato Planting in Southern California Coastal Areas

Want to plant tomatoes in June or July along the Southern California Coast but not sure the seasonal timing is right? This article gives tips and advice for succeeding with summer tomato planting in GardenZeus California Climate Zone 15: Southern Coastal.

See customized advice and information for growing tomatoes in your Southern California zipcode

Don’t know your GardenZeus California Climate Zone? Enter your zipcode at GardenZeus.com.

Late spring through midsummer is the prime planting window for growing tomatoes in Southern California coastal areas. For most varieties of tomatoes, the plants will grow well but they may not produce much harvest because of cool summer growing conditions. For the best yields, grow cold-tolerant varieties like Oregon Spring and Siberian in your zone even during summer.

Choose mildew-resistant varieties when possible and space plants widely for air circulation to minimize foliar diseases. Avoid wetting leaves of tomato plants with overhead irrigation such as sprinklers.

Plant tomatoes into rich, deep, fertile, and living soil; or use raised beds and large containers filled with fertile topsoil, washed sand, compost, and organic amendments. Chances are low for a good yield when planting tomatoes into previously uncultivated soils especially infertile sandy soils or heavy clay soils.

Mulch well, maintain even soil moisture, be careful not to overwater, and see GardenZeus customized tomato-growing information, including more seasonal recommendations and customized recommendations for tomato varieties for your zipcode:

See customized advice and information for growing tomatoes in your Southern California zip code

Other articles of interest:

GardenZeus Tips for Fertilizing Tomatoes During the Growing Season

The GardenZeus Guide to Staking, Supporting and Trellising Tomato Plants 

GardenZeus Solutions to Common Abiotic Problems With Garden Tomatoes 

GardenZeus Calfornia climate zones

Enter your California zip code for customized advice by plant

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