Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
May, 2004
Regional Report

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Yummy boysenberries have been producing since Mother's Day!

The Garden Really Takes Off

May is the ideal month to plant the heat-lovers -- vegetables and flowers that seem to thrive and bloom more lustily when the weather's hot and sunny. Earlier in spring and later in fall, we coddle them to stretch the seasons, but now is when they grow really fast. Other plants may tolerate our summers, flourishing in spring and fall; but these plants relish the heat and bright light. Just keep them well- mulched and watered, and they'll produce exuberantly.

Sow Veggies
Sow seeds of lima and snap beans, beets, carrots, celery, chard, chicory, chives, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, leeks, warm-season lettuce, melons, okra, green onions, peanuts, peppers, pumpkins, soybeans, warm-season spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

If you plan to preserve some of your garden's bounty, you may prefer to grow vegetable varieties that will be ready for harvest all at one time. On the other hand, you may prefer processing several small batches rather than making a marathon effort. In this case, reseed or transplant seedlings every two or three weeks for continuous harvests.

Plant corn in blocks of at least four rows in each direction to assure good pollination. Make succession plantings through the end of June only, as later plantings generally suffer from severe smut problems when they mature in September.

Trellis Fruits
Trellises provide support for greater fruit production per square foot of soil and for longer periods because more leaf area is exposed to sunlight for more photosynthesis, and more air circulation means less fruit rot and ground-insect attack. Vines spreading on a trellis provide shade for a porch, patio, or wall. Crops grown on a trellis are easier to pick and cleaner, not available to snails and slugs, and not prone to ground rot.

Fertilize fruit trees now that they're actively growing. They'll provide a good leaf canopy with these additional nutrients.

Flowers, Flowers, and More Flowers
Sow or transplant ageratum, alyssum, globe amaranth, asters, baby's breath, bachelor's buttons, balsam, fibrous begonias, bougainvilleas, calendula, campanulas, candytuft, carnations, celosias chrysanthemum, clarkia, cleome, coleus, columbines, coral bells, coreopsis, cosmos, English daisies, gloriosa daisies, marguerite and Shasta daisies, dahlias, delphiniums, dianthus, forget-me-nots, four-o'clocks, foxgloves, gaillardias, gazanias, gerberas, geums, geraniums, hollyhocks, hosta (plantain lily), impatiens, lantanas, larkspur, linaria, lobelia, lunaria, marigolds, morning glories, nasturtiums, nicotianas, pansies, penstemons, periwinkle, petunias, phlox, California and Oriental and Shirley poppies, portulaca, potentilla, primroses, pyrethrums (painted daisy, painted lady), rosemary, salpiglossis, salvias, scabiosa, snapdragons, statice, stocks, strawflowers, sunflowers, sweet peas, tithonias (Mexican sunflower), verbena, vinca, violas, and zinnias.

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