Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

February, 2006
Regional Report

Plant Potatoes

Place small, whole potatoes or cut-and-calloused big pieces with several eyes in a 4-inch-deep trench amended well with compost. Cover them with more compost to the original soil level. Water lightly, just to settle the soil close to the seed pieces. Too much moisture will rot them. Mound more compost as the green shoots emerge.

Choose Carrot Varieties to Match Your Soil Type

When choosing carrot varieties, consider the heaviness of your soil, and sow short, stubby carrots in heavy clay soils, and longer, tapered ones in looser sandy soil. The tips of the tap roots will grow 4 to 6 inches further down than the edible portion.

Plant the Last of Bare-Root Plants

This is the last month to plant bare-root fruit and nut trees, berries, grapes, and vines. Hurry to plant strawberries so they can grow well before the weather warms and they put out blossoms.

Force Blooming Branches

For indoor bouquets, cut a few branches of almond, cherry, crab apple, deutzia, forsythia, honeysuckle, peach, pear, plum, pussywillow, quince, redbud, spiraea, weigela, and other spring- blooming deciduous shrubs and trees. Force blooms on these branches by crushing the ends of the stems and placing them in warm (70- to 80-degree) water in a cool, humid area with moderate light for a week before moving them indoors to bloom. Delay major pruning of these and other spring-blooming shrubs until after they finish blooming, or you'll remove the flower buds that were set last fall.

Practice Good Mowing Techniques

Slow-growing grass still needs to be mowed, and the grass will go into shock if more than 25 percent of its new growth is mowed at one time. Keep mower blades sharp, since raggedly cut grass blades die back and invite diseases.


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