Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

October, 2005
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Go for Garlic
Garlic planted now will develop a strong root system over the winter, and leaf production can begin early in the spring, resulting in a large head next summer. The sooner you plant them now in rich, well-drained soil, the larger they'll be at harvest. Planting in the spring, even with rich soil, will produce only medium- or small-sized cloves, or a single bulb without cloves. (These small bulbs can be used in place of a single large clove in recipes. They also can be left in the soil or stored and replanted the following fall, when they'll mature into separate cloves.) For the largest-sized garlic, plant cloves 4 to 6 inches apart now in a raised planting bed that's well drained and compost enriched, and keep the soil moist through next June.

Clever Gardening Technique

Turn Tires into Raised Beds
Old tires can be put to a variety of uses besides as tree swings. Single ones filled with soil form small-scale raised beds. Use a porous potting mix for extra good drainage. Several tires stacked on top of one another form deep barrels for potatoes and tomatoes. Overlap tires up a slope, filling each with soil and ground cover plants for excellent reinforcement of unstable embankments or where there's little soil. The tires retain heat, promoting late-fall and early-spring growth.

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