Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

March, 2006
Regional Report

Grow Peanuts

If you have sandy, well-drained soil, why not plant peanuts! Buy raw whole peanuts and plant them whole 2 inches deep. The attractive three-leaf-clover legume foliage and yellow blossoms are cute, but the pegs growing down into the soil are the real marvel as they form peanuts on their ends under the soil. Great for gardening with kids!

Start Herbs

Herbs to start from seed include anise, basil, chervil, chives, cilantro (coriander), dill, fennel, lavender, marjoram, oregano, parsley, and savory. Transplant mint, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme (these don't come "true" from seed). Herbs make great landscaping plants, as well. Chives add attractive, spear-like foliage among blooming plants. Rosemary and wooly thyme make attractive, drought-tolerant, trouble-free ground covers.

Harvesting Broccoli

When harvesting broccoli, cut the head at an angle with a sharp knife. Snapping or cutting flat across the stem creates an uneven surface where water can collect and decay can set in. Excessive nitrogen makes the plant grow too fast and can cause a hollow stem.

Planting Leftover Bulbs

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 grow and bloom next year. If they aren't planted, they'll shrivel away to nothing. These leftover bulbs can also be potted up for forcing.

Separate Daffodils from Other Cut Flowers

Cut daffodils and iris exude a substance that shortens the life of other cut flowers, so place them in their own container of water for about six hours after the stems are cut. Then use another container with new water to make an arrangement with other types of flowers. Add a floral preservative or use 1 part lemon-lime soda (not diet) to 2 parts water. Keep the vase away from heaters or sunny windows to lengthen the bloom time.

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