Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

February, 2006
Regional Report

DON%T SOAK SEEDS

Soaking seeds prior to planting--or planting seeds in soil that is too wet--may do more harm than good. When seeds take up water too quickly, their outer coverings cracks. This allows nutrients to leak out, and disease organisms to enter. Beans are especially prone to this problem.

PLANNING YOUR GARDEN

When you%re plotting what to plant where in your garden, the amount of direct sun will be the determining factor. 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 hours of direct sun is necessary for blossoming and fruiting crops like tomatoes and squash.

FINGER-FLICKING ROSE SHOOTS

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. And squish those first aphids right on the stems and buds%use gloves if you%re squeamish%so the %bug juice% wards off future generations.

FERTILIZE LESS, MOW LESS

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.

SCENTED GERANIUMS

Scented geraniums offer a variety of garden fragrances and delicately-shaped foliage. Scents include almond, apple, apricot, coconut, lemon, lime, nutmeg, peppermint, and rose. Shapes and textured foliage vary from plain green round leaves to those lacy, rippled, variegated ones.

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