Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
May, 2008
Regional Report

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Borage blossoms taste sweet and cucumber-y, and they attract pollinators and other beneficial insects.

Now's The Time For Heat-Lovers!

May is the ideal month to plant the heat-lovers -- the 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 -- seeds almost popping out of the soil, and seedlings appearing to grow a foot a day. Just keep them well mulched and watered, and they'll produce exuberantly.

Prime choices include all beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, melongs, okra, peanuts, peppers, pumpkins, squashes, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Others that generally prefer cooler temperatures include beets, carrots, celery, chard, chives, leeks, warm-season lettuces, green onions, and warm-season spinach (although some new varieties will produce right through the heat).

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.

Plants That Repel or Attract
Interplant cucumbers and beans to repel cucumber beetles and prevent the wilt diseases they carry. Also plant Cucurbita lagenaria gourds as trap plants for cucumber beetles. Plant potatoes to repel squash bugs.

Encourage bees to visit your garden for better pollination. They'll come more readily if you provide them with their favorite plants, including basil, borage, calendulas, catnip, hyssop, lemon balm, mint, summer savory, thyme, and other plants with blue flowers.

To attract butterflies to your garden, plant asters, butterfly bush (buddleia) lantanas, marigolds, sweet Williams, Mexican sunflowers (tithonia), zinnias, and other daisy-like flowers.

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