Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

September, 2003
Regional Report

Replant if Germination is Poor

Problems with seed germination may be due to old seed, soil that is too warm or has been allowed to dry out, or seeds that were sown either too deeply or not deeply enough. Try again.

Tend to Seedlings

Keep seed beds moist and shaded from hot afternoon sun until the seedlings develop two to four true leaves. After transplanting them, mulch the soil lightly, and add more in October and November for additional frost protection. Keep the mulch an inch away from the plant stems, however, for good air circulation and less potential for disease problems.

Plant Winter Veggies

Vegetables that tolerate light frosts and temperatures in the upper twenties will extend the growing season and provide fresh produce all winter long. These include beets; Chinese and savoy-leafed cabbages; collards; kale; butterhead, heading, and romaine lettuces; flat-leaf parsley; radishes; turnips; savoy-leafed spinaches; and Swiss chard. Sow or transplant two or three times the amount you would for spring harvest, as these overwintering crops will grow very slowly, and you'll harvest only a leaf or two at a time from each plant when the weather's cold.

Trim for More Blooms

Cut back alyssum, coreopsis, marguerite and Shasta daisies, delphiniums, dianthus, felicias, gaillardias, geraniums, ivies, lantanas, lobelias, petunias, and santolinas to one-third or one-half of their present size. However, don't cut them back beyond the green foliage to the older woody growth, as this may kill the plant.

Turn Stalks into Trellises

Save the stalks of tall sunflowers, stripped of their branches and leaves, to use next year as trellises for peas and beans.

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