Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

March, 2004
Regional Report

Consider Each Vegetable\'s Sun Requirements

An average of six hours of direct sun daily is the minimum amount necessary for leaf and rooting crops like lettuce and carrots. At least 8 is necessary for blossoming and fruiting crops like tomatoes and squash.

Feed Onions

Feed bulb onions with a 10-10-10 fertilizer to encourage bulbing. Sets that send up flower seed stalks instead of forming large bulbs were perhaps not sufficiently dormant when they were planted, or they were larger than dime-size and going to bolt soon anyway. To delay bolting, snap off the stalk at the base.

Pluck Strawberry Blooms

Pluck off strawberry blossoms through May -- or whenever the warm weather has settled in for good -- to concentrate the plant\'s first real burst of fruiting energy into large sweet berries rather than small tart ones. Unless, of course, you\'re desperately waiting for that very first berry, even if it is tart.

Tend Roses

Rub off new, unwanted foliage on roses, especially when it points in toward the center of the bush. When the growth is young, this pruning is easy -- just the flick of a fingernail will do the job. Also squish those first aphids right on the stems and buds -- using gloves if you're squeamish -- so the bug juice wards off future generations.

Fertilize Lawns and Sharpen Blades

Lawns have begun growing vigorously again, so they need their spring feeding and more frequent attention to mowing. Keep the mower engine tuned and the blade sharpened for quick, clean cutting of the grass blades. Ragged edges die back and invite diseases. The less you feed your lawn, the less you'll have to mow it.

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