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GARDEN JOBS

Coaxing Blooms

October 12, 1986|GEORGE HARMON SCOTT and BILL SIDNAM

Cyclamen do best outdoors in semi-shade, but they'll do well indoors, too, blooming until Easter if you can keep them cool and give them plenty of light. To get beautiful, large cyclamen for the holidays, take a plant growing in a four-inch pot and move it to a six- or eight-inch pot; the soil must have good drainage. Don't worry if the plant stops flowering while the roots are filling the new pot; it will soon bloom again. Fertilize lightly every second watering, and remove faded stems of flowers and leaves with a twist.

Nitrogen is often scarce in Southern California soils, especially during the winter, when the soil is cold and bacteria are not producing it. A nitrogen fertilizer, especially the quick-acting liquid type, can greatly improve pansies, violas and primroses as well as many other plants. However, don't fertilize anything that is easily damaged by frost; the new growth would be particularly vulnerable.

Transplants of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards and lettuce should be set out now. All are in abundant supply at nurseries and garden centers this month.

Daikon, a Japanese radish, technically belongs to the same family as the common radish. The texture is similar and the flavor mild, but it produces roots up to two feet long and four inches in diameter. Daikon seeds are available at nurseries that carry Oriental-vegetable seeds. 'Summer Cross Hybrid' is a superior variety.

Beets should be planted from seed this month. The old-fashioned variety 'Lutz Green Leaf' has had excellent results in our area. This beet grows to huge proportions and remains sweet and tender, and the pale green tops make for superb beet greens. If you can't find 'Lutz Green Leaf' seeds at your nursery, order them by mail from the W. Atlee Burpee Co., 300 Park Ave., Warminster, Pa. 18991.

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