Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

November, 2005
Regional Report

Cutting Asparagus Ferns

Wait to cut asparagus ferns until they've turned completely brown, generally after the first hard frost. By then they've reabsorbed all their energy back into the crowns for next year's edible shoots. Cutting them sooner means throwing away this recycled nutrition. To avoid injuring the crowns, trim the fronds at soil level.

Planting Onion Seeds and Sets

You'll get larger onion bulbs that won't bolt in early spring if you sow seed or transplant seedlings now. If you do purchase onion sets, plant the ones that are smaller than a dime for next year's bulbs, and plant the larger ones to use for green onions through the winter, since these will bolt and set seed instead of bulbing in spring.

Trimming Mums and Fuchsias

After chrysanthemums finish blooming, cut their stems to about 3 inches from the soil. Trim fuchsias only to shape them, but wait to thoroughly prune them until late spring, after the danger of frost has passed and plants have leafed out.

Plotting Bulb Bloom

Plant the spring-blooming bulbs you've been chilling in the refrigerator for six to eight weeks -- primarily crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips. Anemones, freesias, narcissus, ranunculus, and sparaxis don't need this prechilling. For a single spectacular bloom period, plant the same type bulbs at the same depth so they'll bloom all together. For longer-lasting color, plant them at several depths over several weeks' time so the shallower ones will bloom first, and the deeper ones later.

Planting Annuals With Bulbs

Plant winter annuals above your spring- and summer-blooming bulbs for long-lasting color. Some good bets include calendulas, pansies, Iceland poppies, primroses, and violas. Knee-high sweet peas are wonderful, especially the fragrant ones, but keep flowers picked to encourage continuous blooming.

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