Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
May, 2005
Regional Report

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Trellised cucumbers produce lots of flowers and fruits without being prey to soilborne diseases and pests.

Time to Plant Heat-Lovers

May is the ideal month to plant the heat-lovers -- those 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 seeds of lima and snap beans, beets, carrots, celery, chard, chicory, chives, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, leeks, warm-season lettuces, melons, okra, green onions, peanuts, peppers, pumpkins, soybeans, warm-season spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

Trellis Vines
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. 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.

Some vines need more guidance and anchoring onto the trellis than others, but all will grow well with proper fertilization and irrigation. Clamp clothespins attached to twine on each side of a vine for easy adjustment as the vine grows.

Support heavy fruits on shelving, in netting, or with rags or old nylons. If left unsupported, their weight will drag the vines down from the trellis. When weeds are pulled up from beneath trellised vines, there is less injury to the cultivated plants because the vines and fruits are out of the way.

Annual Flowers
Sow or transplant ageratum, alyssum, globe amaranth, asters, baby's breath, bachelor's buttons, balsam, fibrous begonias, bougainvilleas, calendulas, campanula (bellflower, canterbury bells), candytufts, carnations, celosia, 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, 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, pyrethrum, rosemary, salpiglossis, salvias, scabiosa, snapdragons, statice, stock, strawflowers, sunflowers, sweet peas, tithonias, verbenas, vinca, violas, and zinnias.

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