Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

April, 2004
Regional Report

Harvest Thicker Asparagus Spears

Harvest asparagus spears when they're 3/8 of an inch wide or larger. Cut them no lower than soil level to avoid damaging the crown. Harvesting smaller spears, or harvesting for too long a period, especially from young plants, weakens the plant and lessens later harvests. Besides, the thicker stalks are ever so much more buttery on the tongue!

Plant Summer Bulbs

Plant summer-blooming bulbs, corms, and tubers, including acidanthera, agapanthus, tuberous begonias, caladiums, calla lilies, canna lilies, dahlias, daylilies, gladiolus, iris, ixia, lilies, montbretias, tigridias, tuberoses, and watsonias. Place a tablespoon of a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, a full inch beneath each bulb to keep the bulb developing. They should bloom next year.

Caring for Spring Bulbs

Continue watering and feeding a balanced fertilizer to spring-flowering bulbs until their foliage starts to yellow. This will strengthen the bulbs for further growth and next year's blooms. Then let the bulbs thoroughly dry out. Dig and gently clean soil clods from them (but don't wash them), and store. Bulbs may be left in the soil only where it will thoroughly dry out over the summer and be chilled for a long period in winter.

Plant Drought-Tolerant Blooming Shrubs

Plant water-conserving blooming shrubs in dry spots. Some choices include crape myrtle, oleander, rosemary, and wild or California lilac.

Pinching for Bushiness

For bushier plants with more blooms, pinch new growth of begonias, chrysanthemums, marguerite daisies, dianthus, fuchsias, geraniums, Swedish ivy, wandering jews, iceplant, lavender, pepperomias, philodendrons, pilea, and sedums. If they are long enough, root these cuttings for new plants. Pinch bloomed-out branches throughout the summer to keep plants looking neat and to encourage new buds.

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