Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

April, 2008
Regional Report

Plant Veggies

This is the month to transplant both the last cool-season lovers and more hot-weather lovers, since we never know which way the weather will go for the next month. Try asparagus, beets, carrots, celery, chard, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, okra, onions, parsley, peanuts, and peas (choose a heat-tolerant variety such as 'Wando'), white potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, and spinach. Definitely go for summer producers like beans, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, peppers, squash, and tomatoes.

Include Herbs

Herbs to sow or transplant include anise, basil, borage, burnet, catnip, chervil, chives, cilantro (the seed is 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 blooms. You may already grow some -- the edible portion of artichoke, broccoli, and cauliflower are all immature flowers. Nasturtium leaves and flowers taste peppery. Squash blossoms have a cucumber-like 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.

Plant Tender Fruit Trees

The weather from now through June is ideal for planting citrus, avocados, and other tender trees such as kiwis, kumquats, and pomegranates. In frost-free areas, also try cherimoya, guava, mango, and passion fruit. For containers, be sure to choose dwarf types. For the best choice in citrus, look for trees with many strong branches, a smooth graft union, and deep green leaves.

Mow Lawns Often

Mow twice a week if necessary to keep the height at about 2 inches. Don't remove more than one third of the green leaf blades at a time or the individual grass plants won't have enough left to continue growing, and they can get sunburned. Lawns are the greatest users of outdoor irrigation. It's important to make sure that the roots are growing deeply they are getting the amount of moisture. The 2-inch mowing height will allow the lawn to retain some surface moisture, so you don't have to water as often.

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