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The Big Red Ones

GARDEN JOBS

October 26, 1986|GEORGE HARMON SCOTT and BILL SIDNAM

Plant strawberry plants; commercial growers plant them in late October and November. Until recently, it was difficult to find them in the nurseries until December or January. However, this year the plants are to be available about now, according to a large Southland wholesale producer of bedding plants. The varieties 'Sequoia' and 'Douglas' do well in our area, producing large fruit. 'Sequoia' has a very sweet flavor; 'Douglas' has a sweet-tart taste and is the most popular variety among commercial growers.

Use fast-growing radishes to mark the rows of slower-growing vegetables; that way, when weeding, you can avoid disturbing the areas around slower-germinating plants. Seedlings for such vegetables as onions and parsnips are tiny and difficult to see when they first break ground. Plant radish seeds a quarter-inch deep and about two inches from the other seeds. The young radish plants will emerge in a few days, no matter what the weather is like.

Cymbidium buds will start appearing after the first cold weather, which they require to set. (That is one reason cymbidiums are more common here than in Hawaii.) Check and bait for snails; they don't care much about cymbidium leaves but love the bud stems and will eat through one in a night. Make sure cymbidiums have the light necessary for blooming; in dark shade they seldom bloom. Until January, use a low-nitrogen fertilizer.

More fuchsias are lost from excessive watering than from insufficient watering. A fuchsia that looks wilted doesn't necessarily lack water. Often, the roots just can't get the water up fast enough. That is especially true of fuchsias planted in hanging baskets, with their limited root area. Misting will help by cooling off the foliage and slowing evaporation.

Check chrysanthemums to see whether they need staking. A heavy wind or rain can ruin months of work. For larger flowers, remove side buds. Stop fertilizing the plants, but keep them thoroughly watered. For new varieties, visit Sunnyslope Gardens on Huntington Drive in San Gabriel.

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