Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

May, 2001
Regional Report

Leave the Peas

When removing spent pea vines, cut them off at the soil level rather than pulling them out. The roots will have nodules that contain excess nitrogen from their fixation process, which they release into the soil as the roots decompose, making it available for the next crop.

Encourage Bees

Encourage bees to visit your garden for better pollination and hence more veggies and flowers. Bees will come more readily if you provide their favorite plants, such as basil, borage, calendula, catnip, hyssop, lemon balm, mint, summer savory, thyme, and other blue-flowered plants.

Attract Butterflies

To attract butterflies to your garden, plant aster, lantana, buddleia (butterfly bush), marigold, sweet William, tithonia (Mexican sunflower), zinnia, and other daisy-like flowers. Remember that the larval form of butterflies is a caterpillar that eats plant foliage, so reduce the spraying of insecticides in your garden.

Plant Corn and Beans

Cornstalks make convenient supports for pole beans. Plant the beans around the corn plants after the corn gets at least 6 inches tall. If you plant too early, the beans will outgrow the corn. If you plant too late, the beans won't get enough sun to grow.

Baskets for Bird Protection

Use plastic baskets from store-bought cherry tomatoes or strawberries to protect newly sprouted seedlings of corn, cucumber, melon, and squash from birds. By the time the seedlings have grown tall enough to reach through the tops of the baskets, they\'re no longer as tender and delectable to birds.


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