Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

February, 2006
Regional Report

HANDLING SEEDLINGS

Be gentle with all seedlings: handle the little plants by their root clumps or leaves rather than stems, and never squeeze them tightly. They will grow new leaves and roots, but can't develop new stems.

PLUCK STRAWBERRY BLOSSOMS

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.

HARVESTING ASPARAGUS

Harvest asparagus spears when they're three-eighths of an inch wide or larger. Cut them no lower than soil level to avoid damaging the crown. Harvesting smaller spears, or harvest%ing for too long a period, especially from young plants, weakens the plant and lessens later harvests. Be overgenerous towards the young plant by not harvesting too much, and your plant will increase future harvests because it has gained strength.

PRUNING FUCHSIAS

Fuchsias flower on new wood, so prune either severely for compact growth or lightly for a more draping appearance. Continue to pinch and groom fuchsias regularly throughout the season to direct new growth and encourage more blooming.

FEED EVERYTHING

Feed the whole garden with a balanced fertilizer (one that has almost the same N-P-K numbers, such as 10-10-10 or 10-8-12). Most plants are beginning to grow actively now, whether they're established or have just been transplanted; and they all need this ready supply of food. Foliar applications always benefit plants--especially those in containers--with more immediate absorption of micronutrients, but they must be repeated more frequently for continuing benefit.

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