Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
March, 2010
Regional Report

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Lettuce bolts after winter-long harvests.

Winter Boltings and Spring Beginnings

Some of the veggies that we've been eating from all winter are beginning to bolt (send up their seed stalks) with the warmth of the last several weeks, so I've been on the lookout at nurseries for more seedlings. But, several of the 6-packs I purchased a couple of weeks ago have already bolted before I could get them planted, so I'll have to rely on only seed-sown veggies for April-through-June eating. I'll also transplant the lettuces that have come up in the pathways from the seed that dispersed from last fall's batch that I allowed to go to seed.
I've planted my first tomatoes - standby favorites Brandywine, Carmelo, Early Girl, Sungold - and new one Momotaro. I've also prepared the growing beds for the varieties I expect to find at upcoming tomato plant sales - standby favorites Ace 55, Black Krim, Celebrity, Cherokee Purple, Green Grape, Green Zebra, Pineapple, Stupice - and who knows what new ones to try!
I've also planted sweet peppers (Big Bertha, Fat 'n' Sassy, Red Pimento, Super Red Pimento) that I started from seed a month ago. Even though peppers are supposed to be a warm-season plant, I find that mine grow nicely all summer but don't really start producing fruits till August and then keep going gangbusters all winter - wonderful to have several peppers each week all through the cold season, especially when my garden hasn't had any real frost in more than 5 years.
However, don't even think of planting seedlings of other more tender, summer-heat lovers like cucumbers, eggplant, and squash. Seeds, maybe, if your soil is well-drained, but not seedlings. Even with min-greenhouses or Wall-o-Water holding in a bit of warmth, the little plants will just sit there, pouting at you! Even when the air and soil temperatures rise over the next month, the little plants will be so set-back that they won't catch up to seedlings planted in another month. Tomatoes and peppers seem to be the only summer-heat-lovers that can slowly grow in this season's cold.

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