Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

February, 2002
Regional Report

Plant Potatoes

Place potatoes in a four-inch-deep trench amended with compost, and cover the cut-and-calloused pieces or small whole tubers with more compost to the original soil level. Water lightly, just to settle the soil close to the seed pieces. Too much water will cause potatoes to rot.

Spring- and Summer-blooming Bulbs

Choose a variety of bulbs to ensure a long season of bloom, including achimenes, agapanthus, amaryllis, tuberous begonias, caladiums, calla lilies, canna lilies, colchicums, dahlias, daffodils, daylilies, gladiolus, bearded and Dutch iris, sternbergias, tigridias, and tuberoses. For continuous spring bloom later this spring, plant a selection of anemones, gladiolus, ranunculus, and tigridias every two weeks through March.

Slow-release Food

Feed groundcovers, shrubs, roses, perennials, and trees with slow-release food (compost, bonemeal, cottonseed meal, or well-rotted manure) to provide plants with consistent and gradual nutrition throughout the season.

Lightly Shape, but Don\'t Prune, Fuchsias

Gently prune fuchsias to shape them before they leaf out. However, hold off on heavy pruning until after they\'ve completely leafed out later this spring, to be certain you\'re not clipping off more than was damaged by frost.

Pull Weeds Now, Not Later

Pull weeds now, when they\'re small and before they form flowers or seeds, and you\'ll have fewer weed problems later. Watering the area to be weeded the day before the job will soften the soil and ease the removal of the weeds\' entire root systems, preventing resprouting. A handy tool is the pronged \"asparagus fork\" that looks like a bent stick. If you pull out a weed that has already formed its seedhead, do not leave it in a walkway as mulch or compost it, unless you know your compost pile gets hot enough to destroy the seeds.

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