Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

April, 2007
Regional Report

Sow Successive Crops of Summer Lettuce

Continue reseeding a flat of heat-tolerant leaf lettuce throughout the summer to have seedlings to plant into spots vacated by earlier crops.

Keep Onions From Splitting

Onion bulbs tend to split if the soil is alternately wet and dry early in the season during bulb formation, or if excessive nitrogen is applied during the two months before harvest. Try to keep soil evenly moist and avoid overfertilizing.

Plant and Prune Ground Covers

Plant or prune ground covers to clear dead portions and stimulate new growth, including iceplant, ivy, potentilla, and wild strawberry. Drought-tolerant choices include coyote bush, creeping coprosma, gazania, Mexican evening primrose, rosemary, and verbena.

Keep On Top of Weeds

Continue pulling weeds before they form seed heads or scatter their seeds and you'll have fewer weed problems later. Weeding the day after watering will ease the chore, and weeds' entire root systems will come out more readily. If you leave pulled weeds in garden pathways for dry mulch, be sure to leave them with their roots up so they don't reroot themselves. But don't leave weeds that have already developed their seed heads because some seeds may mature and germinate next year. This kind of recycling we don't want!

Build a Compost Pile

If you are considering constructing a compost pile but are leery of a potentially disagreeable smell and hovering insects, be aware that these result from the pile not being aerated enough. The foul odor and large numbers of insects are due to anaerobic decomposition. To properly construct a "breathing" compost pile, collect some moist greenery, such as grass clippings, green foliage, and kitchen scraps with no grease or fat; some dried leaves or woody material in small pieces; and some soil, manure, or compost. Begin the pile on top of some rougher, dry brush or small twigs. Mix the ingredients well or thinly layer them until the pile is about 3 feet tall and wide. Water the pile until it's moist but not soggy. Mix the pile every several weeks to let in more air if it seems to be compacting without breaking down the ingredients.

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