Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

April, 2006
Regional Report

Transplant Summer-Lovers

Transplant early-maturing varieties of beans, cucumbers, eggplants, melons, peppers, squash, and tomatoes that will tolerate cooler soil temperatures. For protection from pests and some nightime chill, cover them with hotcaps or clear plastic water jugs with their bottoms and caps off.

Start Herbs

Herbs to sow or transplant include anise, basil, borage, burnet, catnip, chervil, chives, cilantro (when it's seed, it's called coriander), comfrey, dill, fennel, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, and thyme. Many perennial herbs make attractive, drought-tolerant, trouble-free landscaping plants. Herbs that also produce well indoors are dwarf green or dark opal basil, chervil, chives, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, savory, and thyme.

Grow Edible Flowers

Add to your garden some edible flowers for their foliage and their blooms. You may already grow some; -the edible portion of artichokes, broccoli, and cauliflower are all immature flowers. Nasturtium leaves and flowers taste peppery. Squash blossoms have a cucumbery flavor. Some marigolds taste unpleasantly strong, but others are mild. Be sure, however, to harvest only flowers and foliage that hasn't been sprayed with a pesticide not registered for food.

Fertilize 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.

Keep Seed Bed From Crusting

Soil that forms a crust kills germinating seeds before they can break through the soil surface. To lessen this problem, cover the seeds with a thin layer of compost, potting mix or other light-textured substance, rather than the heavier soil.

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