Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

March, 2001
Regional Report

Shows & Events

Wildflower Walks
Wildflower Walks will be held on Saturdays and Sundays, March 17 to May 13, at 2 p.m., at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont. Call (909) 625-8767 for more information.

Favorite or New Plant

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes grow well in Southern California. I prefer the 'Garnet' variety, with its purplish skin and sweet, moist, orange flesh.

An easy way to start sweet potato plants at home, and provide yourself with an attractive houseplant at the same time, is to sprout a tuber in a glass or jar filled halfway with water. Shoots will sprout from the top half and roots from the bottom half. The kitchen in our first home gradually got darker and darker as the sweet potato foliage strung around the window got more and more lush.

The best time to transplant rooted shoots outdoors is May, when weather is consistently warm. When the shoots are 9-12 inches long, cut them from the "mother" tuber, retaining the attached roots. Plant these 12 inches apart in sandy, well-drained soil. Water well with a half-strength solution of a balanced fertilizer and shade them from the hot midday sun for a week. Harvest time will be midsummer.


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