Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

April, 2002
Regional Report

Seeds and Transplants

Sow or transplant asparagus, beets, carrots, celery, chard, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuces, okra, summer-maturing onions, parsley, peanuts, the last peas (choose a heat-tolerant variety such as \'Wando\'), white potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, and spinach. Transplant early-maturing varieties of beans, cucumbers, eggplants, melons, peppers, squash, and tomatoes that will tolerate cooler soil temperatures. For protection from pests and some nighttime chill, cover them with hot caps or clear plastic water jugs with their bottoms and caps off.

Sow Herbs

Herbs to sow or transplant include anise, basil, borage, burnet, catnip, chervil, chives, cilantro (when it's grown for its seed, it's called coriander), comfrey, dill, fennel, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, and thyme. Many perennial herbs make attractive, drought-tolerant, trouble-free landscaping plants. Herbs that also produce well indoors are dwarf green or dark opal basil, chervil, chives, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, savory, and thyme.

Feed Fruit Trees

Feed all trees for strong growth and good fruit production. Topdress them with compost plus a fertilizer high in nitrogen (fish emulsion, chicken manure, cottonseed meal, blood meal) and phosphorus (bone meal and rock phosphate). Keep composts, manures, fertilizers -- and irrigation -- away from tree trunks.

Attract Beneficial Insects

Encourage beneficial insects to populate your garden by providing them with their chosen foods and habitats. Many weeds, including lamb\'s-quarters, nettle, knotweed, pigweed, and cocklebur, as well as many cultivated annuals, perennials, and herbs are food sources for two of the most important orders of beneficials, wasps and flies. Most of these plants are members of two families, the umbelliferae and the compositae. Umbelliferae -- such as anise, carrot, caraway, coriander, dill, fennel and parsley -- have many tiny flowers arranged in tight, flat-topped umbels. Compositae -- such as black-eyed Susan, goldenrod, and strawflower -- have central disc flowers surrounded by many ray petals. Mustard flowers attract lacewings (for controlling aphids) and tiny parasitic wasps (for cabbage caterpillars and coddling moths; they don\'t bother people or pets). Rows of these plants, or interplantings between crop plants, can support a large beneficial insect population.

Pinch Bush Bloomers

For bushier plants with more blooms, pinch new growth of begonias, chrysanthemums, marguerite daisy, dianthus, fuchsias, geraniums, Swedish ivy, wandering Jews, iceplants, lavender, pepperomias, philodendrons, pilea, and sedums. Root these cuttings for new plants. Pinch bloomed-out branches throughout the summer to keep plants looking neat, and to encourage them to put out new buds.


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