Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

March, 2002
Regional Report

Shows & Events

Organic Gardening
Ron Vanderhoff and Erick Lux, Certified California Nurserymen, discuss tips and tricks in building healthy, living, sustainable soil, managing pest and disease problems, and lots more, at Roger's Gardens "Planning and Planting an Organic Vegetable Garden" workshop on March 17 at 9:00am. Allow extra time to wander through the nursery, with its many specialties, including hanging baskets and great gift shop. Roger's Gardens, 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road, Corona del Mar 92625. For more information, call (949) 640-5800, or go to their Web site.

Favorite or New Plant

Homegrown Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potato sets can be started indoors now for planting outside in May. Place small- to medium-sized tubers in a container that drains well, and cover them with light, sandy soil or planting mix. Keep soil damp but not soggy, and place in a spot in bright light where temperatures stay between 70 and 75F. Sprouts will be ready for transplanting in four to six weeks.

An easy way to start sweet potato sprouts -- and give yourself an ornamental plant at the same time -- is to place a tuber in a glass or jar filled half-way with water. Shoots will sprout from the top half, and roots from the bottom half. You may even decide you like the foliage so much, you'll keep it growing as a houseplant, perhaps stringing the vines around a window.

To plant the sweet potato shoots into the garden, carefully pull or cut the nine- to 12-inch shoots from the starter root, retaining attached roots. Plant these 12 inches apart in sandy, well-drained soil. Water them in well with a half-strength solution of a balanced fertilizer, and shade them from the hot mid-day sun for a week.

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