Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

April, 2001
Regional Report

Deadhead Bulbs

Deadhead spent daffodil and tulip flowers. Forming seeds takes valuable energy from the bulb. By removing the spent flowers, all the energy that would have gone into forming a seed will be used instead to make the bulb strong for next year's bloom. Once the foliage begins to yellow, withhold water until the tops are completely dry. Then dig and store the bulbs until fall or leave them in the ground.

Check Irrigation Systems

Turn on and inspect all irrigation systems. Tiny nozzles are perfect hiding places for earwigs, slugs, and pill bugs. Blocked nozzles will not deliver water to thirsty plants. Remove heads from sprinklers if necessary to flush the system. Clean spider webs from control panels with a small brush. If valves are gritty, dismantle and clean them, being careful to make note of the order in which they came apart.

Wait to Plant Tomatoes

The urge is strong, but wait until the soil has warmed to the touch before you put your tomatoes, peppers, and sweet corn in the ground. These are warm-season plants that need heat to grow properly. You can jump- start the planting season by covering young plants with a miniature greenhouse made of clear plastic to provide additional warmth.

Compost Pea Plants

Cut vines of pea family plants into small pieces after the plants are through bearing. Toss them into the compost pile or leave them on the surface of the soil to act as mulch. Leave the roots in the ground, where the nodules on the roots will release nitrogen for the next crop to use.

Final Planting of Lettuce

This is your last chance to plant cool-season crops such as lettuce, cilantro, and peas before hot weather sets in. Plant seeds or transplants and protect young plants from voracious slugs and snails by surrounding beds with copper tape or fireplace ash, which slugs don\'t like to cross.


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