Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

April, 2009
Regional Report

Remove Tomato Flowers

Be sure to remove any tomato flowers that develop so all the plant's energy goes into getting strongly established. If you just must have that first tomato, let only one develop. When the plant has reached about two feet in height and many branches with lots of foliage, it'll be strong enough to divert its energy into fruit production.

Herbs for Eating and Viewing

Herbs to sow or transplant include anise, basil, borage, burnet, catnip, chervil, chives, cilantro (when it's 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.

Edible Flowers

Add to your garden some edible flowers for their foliage and their bloom. You may already grow some -- the edible portion of artichoke, broccoli, and cauliflower are all immature flowers. Nasturtium leaves and flowers taste peppery. Squash blossoms have a cucumbery flavor. Some marigolds taste unpleasantly strong, but others are mild. Be sure, however, to harvest only flowers and foliage that hasn't been sprayed with a pesticide not registered for food.

Let Spring Bulbs Finish On Their Own

Continue watering and feeding a balanced fertilizer to spring-flowering bulbs until their foliage starts to yellow. This will strengthen the bulbs for further growth and next year's bloom. Then, let the bulbs thoroughly dry out, including letting them reabsorb all the energy from the foliage. Remove dry foliage only when it's completely crispy.

Pinch for More Blooms

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 their putting out new buds.


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