• May Sunshine Brings Out Flowers--and Gardeners in Southern California
    Friday, April 29, 2011 at
  • May sunshine in Southern California begins to bring out the best of summer flowers and vegetables. The generally warm weather will also keep gardeners busy as planting season is well underway, say experts at Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly soil products made from organic material collected from more than 50 Southern California communities.
    Plant Tomatoes: Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable to plant. They bear fruit quickly and continuously well into fall. Plant a variety of tomatoes. Most common are heirlooms, cherry, beefsteak and plum. Tomatoes come in two categories: "determinate" and "indeterminate." Determinate varieties grow in clusters on a vine and produce the most fruit for the longest period. Indeterminate plants grow tomatoes only at the end of a vine and will stop producing tomatoes once the weather cools. Be sure to support plants with wooden or metal cages so they can withstand the weight of growing tomatoes.
    Trim Rose Bushes: Keep rose bushes looking full and healthy all through the growing season by cutting dead flowers as soon as you spot them. Cutting dead flowers quickly before the flower petals have a chance to fall speeds up the next growing cycle of blooms. Some roses, including floribundas and shrub roses, bloom in clusters so gently reshape the rose bushes after blooms fade. This will keep the bushes full and stimulate new flower growth.

    An Herb Garden Is a Money Saver: Fresh herbs are some of the most expensive foods per ounce you will find at a grocery store. Plant your own herb garden and save money. For the cost of one bunch of basil or cilantro, you can purchase a plant that will produce useable leaves for months. Now is the time to plant basil, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme. Italian basil is a perennial that, if properly trimmed, will last years.

    Plant Summer Annuals: Some of the most beautiful flowers only bloom in spring and summer. Plant your warm season annuals in May including begonia, chrysanthemum, geranium, marigold, petunia and verbena.

    Thin Fruit Trees: Fruit trees typically produce more fruit than can grow to full maturity. Some of the smaller fruit will fall naturally in May. Thin residual smaller fruit from branches. The remaining fruit will grow stronger, larger and tastier and the smaller fruit won't weigh down tree branches.

    Aerate and Dethatch Warm Season Lawns: Warm-season lawns including Bermuda grass and St. Augustine need attention in May. Rent an aerator from your local hardware store or rental equipment outlet. Manual aerator devices are also available for purchase. Aerate (making holes in the surface of your lawn) and dethatch (raking) lawns so water can easily penetrate to the roots. Aerating and dethatching a lawn enables deeper root growth and reduces soil compaction. Apply a light layer of lawn topping or mulch to keep in moisture and reduce water usage.

    For more gardening tips, go to www.agromin.com.

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