Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

April, 2011
Regional Report

Plant Cool-Weather Lovers

Sow or transplant more cool-weather lovers like beets, carrots, celery, chard, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuces, okra, summer-maturing onions, parsley, peanuts, the last peas (choose a heat-tolerant variety such as Wando), white potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, and spinach. We never know how long our spring will last, so replant everything!

Wait on Warm-Weather Lovers

Wait until the weather becomes more consistently warm to sow or transplant vegetables and fruits that need very warm weather to mature, including beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, melons, peppers, pumpkins, and squash. Planting them when air temperatures are still cool results in growth stress that is difficult for the plants to overcome. Peppers, especially, will just sulk if their roots are chilled, and they wont recuperate quickly. It's best to just wait till the soil has warmed before planting them. Tomatoes are the only ones that will tolerate cool temperatures and then develop nicely.

Feed Vegetables with Manure Tea

Feed vegetables with manure tea or fish emulsion when they are transplanted and then every six weeks throughout the season for gradual and gentle feeding. Make manure tea by placing a container in the sun and filling it with one part manure and two parts water. Stir the mixture once a week. Within a month, a rich fertilizer tea will be ready to feed plants. Replenishing the container with manure and water after each use will maintain a ready supply throughout the season.

Roses Are Busting Out All Over

Feed roses heavily to ready them for their long blooming season. Incorporate manure, bonemeal, and cottonseed meal within the plant dripline to the depth of three inches. Water deeply. Weekly or every other week until fall, prune the spent blooms down to the first five-part leaf or a bit further to gently shape the plant, feed lightly, and water. Repeating this process through the season will encourage continuous bloom throughout the season. Water only in the mornings or early afternoons to lessen mildew and other disease problems.

Letting Bulbs Finish

Continue watering and feeding a balanced fertilizer to spring-flowering bulbs until their foliage starts to yellow. This will enable the bulbs to take up the nutrition that they'll need for next year's bloom. Then let the bulbs thoroughly dry out. If the area stays dry throughout the summer, you can leave the bulbs in the soil. However, if the area stays wet in the summer, bulbs left in place will rot. You'll need to dig the bulbs, gently clean them (but don't wash), and store.

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