Herb garden in southern California
I'd like to grow a culinary/medicinal herb garden this year, but I'm not quite sure on a few things.
When does the last frost date usually occur here in the Antelope Valley (I live in Littlerock)? I was thinking about starting many of my herbs indoors in a week or so (in those bio-degradable peat containers shaped rather like an egg carton, if I can find them), then transplanting outdoors into my raised garden bed when there is no more risk of frost. Is that too early to start them indoors?
Which herbs do particularly well here in the AV? I'm growing the "standard" herbs, like basil, sage, rosemary, and so on, and I'd also like to grow some other ones like arnica, marshmallow, and comfrey, but it would be nice to have an idea of which herbs really thrive out here, too.
Any tips on keeping seedlings alive? In my past attempts, I've had no problems with getting them to germinate, but keeping them alive is another matter entirely. What kind of light do seedlings require once they germinate; do they go immediately into full-on sunlight, do they stay in the shade for a day or so, or something else? I've read to keep them moist and in the sunlight, but with the wind and the heat of the direct sunlight combined, it's practically impossible! Keeping them in a sunny window is a bit tricky too, the sun shifts and during most of the day it shines on the windowless side of the house. Is there some way they can be in the sun outdoors without drying out in a matter of minutes?
Last but not least, which pests are a problem here and how best to control them (preferably organically)?
I'm almost completely new to this, as I'm sure you can tell. ;) Thanks in advance for any pearls of wisdom!