Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
May, 2007
Regional Report

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Blanching homegrown celery will tame the strong flavor.

Problems with Radishes or Celery?

Wondering why your baby radishes aren't producing, or the celery just doesn't look right? Here are some common problems, the causes, and what to do about them.

Problem: Small roots that grow slowly and have a strong flavor have matured in hot weather or have not been watered sufficiently.
Solution: Water more deeply and frequently. Plant for cool-season maturing.

Problem:: Red varieties that grow slowly, are pale, and have yellowish leaves are suffering from general nutrient deficiency.
Solution: Apply a balanced fertilizer.

Problem: Plants with healthy foliage that develop only tiny bulbs were sown too closely.
Solution: Allow more space when sowing, or thin seedlings to 2 inches apart.

Problem: Roots that split or are hollow or pithy are overmature.
Solution:Harvest as soon as roots are large enough.

Problem: Plants bolt when the days are too long and the nights are too short.
Solution: Grow in spring or fall.

Problem: Stunted plants with greenish or water-soaked spots on the leaves and sunken lesions on the stalks are infected by blight, which is favored by cool, moist weather and easily spread by splashing water droplets.
Solution: Use clean seed of resistant varieties. Oversow seed that is more than two years old to compensate for lessened viability. Avoid handling wet foliage.

Problem: Pinkish, water-soaked areas on stalks that rot and taste bitter have pink rot.
Solution: Plant resistant varieties. Destroy infected plants. Rotate crops. Avoid planting where cabbage, celery, or lettuce has been planted.

Problem: Cracked stems indicate a boron deficiency, especially in dry soils with a pH above 6.8.
Solution: Incorporate lime and manure. Irrigate deeply and more frequently.

Problem: A blackened central portion identifies blackheart and results from calcium deficiency in the young, rapidly growing leaves. This occurs more frequently on dry, acidic soils under stressful growing conditions, such as hot weather, alternately wet and dry soil, and high potassium levels.
Solution: Incorporate bone meal, gypsum, and organic compost. Mulch plants and water deeply and more frequently to maintain high moisture levels. If the soil is high in potassium, avoid using wood ashes and manure. Dolomitic limestone is a good source of lime and magnesium. The finer the grade of the limestone, the faster it can break down in the soil, raise the pH, and enable the calcium to be utilized. Rotate crops.

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