Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

March, 2009
Regional Report

Sowing Veggies

Outdoors, sow or transplant beets, carrots, celery, chard, herbs, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuces, green onions, bulb onion seed and sets (be sure to get summer- maturing varieties), parsley, peas, peanuts, potatoes, radishes, shallots, spinaches, strawberries, and turnips. Transplant broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi seedlings.

New Herbs to Start

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.

Plant Summer Bloomers

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 left-over 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.

Root Cuttings

Root cuttings of dianthus, dusty miller, euryops, felicia, fuchsias, geraniums, iceplant, lavenders, marguerites, mums, saxifrages, sedums, and succulents. Bury three or four nodes in soil amended with humus. Keep the replanted holes moist until you see new growth; then lessen the frequency -- but not length of time -- of watering. Planting several cuttings in each hole will assure that at least some take -- so you don't have to replant the spots that died -- and the area will fill in more quickly.

Lawns Need Feeding

Lawns have begun growing vigorously again, so they need their spring feeding and more frequent attention to mowing. Keep the mower engine tuned and the blade sharpened for quick, clean cutting of the grass blades. Ragged edges die back and invite diseases. The less you feed your lawn, the less you'll have to mow it.

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