Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

March, 2008
Regional Report

Plant Veggies Indoors and Out

Sow or transplant beets, carrots, celery, chard, herbs, jerusalem artichokes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, green onions, bulb onion seed and sets (be sure to get summer-maturing varieties), parsley, peas, peanuts, potatoes, radishes, shallots, spinach, strawberries, and turnips. Transplant broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi seedlings. Indoors, sow eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes for transplanting into the garden in late April or early May.

Starting Herbs

Herbs to start from seed include anise, basil, chervil, chives, cilantro (coriander), dill, fennel, lavender, marjoram, oregano, parsley, and savory. Transplant mint, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme (these don't come "true" from seed). Herbs make great landscaping plants, as well. Chives add attractive, spear-like foliage among blooming plants. Rosemary and wooly thyme make attractive, drought-tolerant, trouble-free ground covers.

Don't Soak Seeds Prior to Sowing

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 covering cracks. This allows nutrients to leak out, and disease organisms to enter. Beans are especially prone to this problem.

Planting the First Summer Bulbs

Plant summer-blooming bulbs, corms, and tubers, including acidanthera, agapanthus, tuberous begonias, caladiums, calla lilies, canna lilies, dahlias, gladiolus, hemerocallis, tuberous iris, ixias, tigridias, tuberoses, and watsonias. Repeat plantings through May for continuous bloom through the summer. If you still have some unplanted spring-blooming bulbs that are firm and solid, plant them immediately in rich soil. They'll probably not bloom this year, but they'll develop further and bloom next year. If not planted, they'll shrivel away to nothing. These leftover bulbs can also be potted up for forcing. Place them in the refrigerator for eight to ten weeks, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. They should bloom after another three weeks in a brightly lit area.

Prune and De-Bug Roses

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.

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