Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

October, 2011
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Lawn Still a Favorite?
The evolving thought in our dry climate is that lawns use too much water and are to be avoided in favor of drought-tolerant and California native landscaping. But it's possible to still have a modicum of lawn space for visual and tactile aesthetic reasons (its beautiful green color and soft texture) or as a bit of playspace for kids or dogs without being environmentally irresponsible. Now's the time to get a lawn started or reseed thin spots in established ones. For good germination, water newly-seeded lawns two or three times a day for the first two weeks. For another two weeks, water once a day. Then, change to watering only three times a week but for longer periods. You want the moisture to reach two to three inches down so the roots grow deeply into the well-prepared seedbed. When the grass gets bushy and about three inches tall--about a month after sowing--the lawn is ready for its first mowing. Allow the soil to become firm and fairly dry before mowing, however, to avoid compressing the new lawn with mower wheels and your footsteps.

Clever Gardening Technique

Garbage Can Tops as Weed Collectors or Harvesters
Tops of garbage cans, especially plastic ones with no handles, make easy-to-scoot-around receptacles for weeds or harvested fruits and vegetables. Unlike larger and heavier bucket-shaped containers, these won't mar delicate plants as you work along ground covers. Their broad, shallow surface makes them perfect for harvesting delicate vegetables and fruits that are best kept in a single layer.

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