Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

March, 2004
Regional Report

Last Chance to Plant Peas

Peas and other legumes will germinate better when an innoculant of nitrogen-fixing bacteria is used. One way to dust the seeds is to pour them into the package of innoculant, fish them out, and plant them. Wetting the innoculant gets more of it to stick to the seeds. I find it quicker and less messy to pour a line of innoculant directly into the furrow, place the seeds on top of it, then gently draw the soil over the seeds and water it all in.

Transplant Cool-Weather Crops and Berries

Transplant artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and rhubarb. Also transplant strawberry, blackberry, and raspberry roots so they'll bear a good crop of fruit this year.

Harvesting Broccoli

When harvesting broccoli, cut the head at an angle with a sharp knife. Snapping or cutting flat across the stem leaves an uneven surface where water can collect; since a callous can't form, decay can set in. Also, cutting too far down the stem, where it is hollow, provides a cavity that can collect water and promote decay. Excessive nitrogen, which makes the plant grow too fast, causes a hollow stem.

Plant Bulbs

Plant summer-blooming bulbs, corms, and tubers, including acidanthera, agapanthus, tuberous begonias, caladiums, calla lilies, canna lilies, dahlias, daylilies, gladiolus, tuberous iris, ixias, tigridias, tuberoses, and watsonias. Repeat plantings through May for continuous bloom throughout the summer. If you still have some unplanted spring-blooming bulbs that are firm and solid, plant them immediately in rich soil. They probably won't bloom this year, but they'll develop further and bloom next year. If not planted, they'll shrivel away to nothing. These left-over bulbs can also be potted up for forcing. Place them in the refrigerator for eight to ten weeks, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. They should bloom after another three weeks in a brightly lit area.

Root Cuttings

Root cuttings of dianthus, dusty miller, euryops, felicia, fuchsias, geraniums, ice plant, lavenders, marguerites, mums, saxifrages, sedums, and succulents. Bury three or four nodes in soil amended with humus. Keep the soil moist until you see new growth; then lessen the frequency -- but not length of time -- of watering. Planting several cuttings in each hole will assure that at least some take, and the area will fill in more quickly.

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