In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
May, 2007
Regional Report

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Great salads are one of the joys of spring.

Kick-Start Your Summer Garden

No more waiting and wondering if we'll have more cold, rainy weather. No more debating whether to put in those seeds and transplants of heat-loving veggies and posies. Go for it! Remove those cold-weather cloches, and let the plants unfurl their crumpled leaves, sucking in all the warmth, air, and moisture. We may be harvesting our last peas, but with continued watering and another handful of organic fertilizer, we may be able to push a couple more weeks of munching.

The lettuce and spinach I started on February 1 and transplanted April 1, along with beet greens sown earlier, is keeping us in heaped-dinner-plate nightly salads. We're becoming more and more a family that adds bits of protein-rich meat, chicken, and fish as condiments to our salads, instead of the other way around. With all this crunchy bounty, it's deliciously inevitable! And, this won't change as the garden shifts into the summer bounty of long-awaited tomatoes and cucumbers and squash and beans!

Plucking Tomato Blossoms
It takes great determination for me to pluck the blossoms off my tomato plants, but I'm more concerned now with directing the plants to continue their root development instead of expending energy in fruit production. When the plants get fully 2 feet tall, I'll let the blossoms set. By then, the plants will be growing vigorously and will have enough foliage to carry out their photosynthetic duties, and I can let them divert some of this energy into those tasty treats I'm awaiting. With the start of blossoming, I give each of my tomatoes another handful of fertilizer, and water it in.

This years batch of tomatoes includes my standbys -- 'Celebrity', 'Ace 55', 'Dona', 'Odoriko', 'Stupice', 'Green Zebra', 'Black Krim', 'Early Girl', 'Pineapple', and 'Sungold'. Newbies this year include 'Black Prince', 'Paul Robeson', 'Sunsugar', and 'Black From Tula'.


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