There's always room to try something fun in the vegetable garden, and I have a few suggestions.
Walking stick kale: This tops my list. It grows 8 to 10 feet tall, all the while producing kale leaves you can harvest. In mild climates it grows for several years. Here in Northern California, you'll harvest the plant in late fall. True to its name, you can dry the stalk and use it for a walking stick.
Broomcorn: It is a type of sorghum (Sorghum vulgare) and not closely related to corn. It was used to make brooms. The seedpods, which come in red, black and brown, are held at the end of long broomlike stems. Use them in wreaths, flower arrangements and autumn displays.
Purple potatoes: The skin is purple, as is the flesh inside. But don't stop there. You can also get potatoes with red, white or yellow flesh. Be warned if you plant purple fingerling potatoes, you will always have them; even the tiniest bit left in the ground will sprout and make a new plant.
Watermelon radishes: Wait until fall to plant this one since it prefers cooler weather. Cut it open and it looks like a hot pink watermelon inside. Thinly slice the radishes, sprinkle with sea salt, and you've got an appetizer everyone will love.
Cauliflower: It has gone psychedelic. Hybridizers have tinkered with cauliflower and come up with yellow, green and purple varieties. Why grow just the white types?
Quinoa: It's a grainlike crop, though it really isn't a grain. Quinoa is closely related to beets and spinach. Again, like cauliflower and potatoes, quinoa comes in a variety of colors.
Check online for seed companies that carry these off-beat vegetable garden selections. My favorites are Nichols Garden Nursery, Seed Savers Exchange, Seeds of Change, Renee's Garden and Johnny's Selected Seeds.
There's still time to plant pumpkins, winter squash, radishes and beans.
Set lawnmower blades to high to reduce turf stress and conserve water during the summer.
Water the lawn in the morning.
Cut Shasta daisies to the ground after bloom to promote a second bloom in the fall.
Mulch strawberries with grass clippings, straw or leaves to conserve moisture and keep the soil from drying out. Strawberries need at least an inch of water each week during the growing season.
Thin fruit trees. Be ruthless. If you can't thin fruit to 6 inches apart, try thinning just a few, then come back the next day and thin a few more. Always thin away the smallest ones. You'll end up with a smaller crop of larger fruit. And it will be easier on the tree.
Prune hedges now after spring growth has slowed.
Watch for powdery mildew. Our dry conditions are perfect for powdery mildew to grow. You'll see it on crepe myrtles, grapevines and more. Overhead watering helps wash it away. Or treat plants with neem oil or jojoba oil. There is also a biological fungicide, Serenade, that controls it.
Shop for daylilies while they are in bloom.
Mow the lawn in the morning to reduce chance of brown spot.
Prune oleanders after they have finished blooming. You can cut them almost to the ground. In fact, you'll be doing the plant a favor if you do. They can get quite messy and overgrown if not kept trimmed.
Keep tomato plants caged or staked. The vines can get quite large and top heavy. Make sure they are staked before they fall over.
Be vigilant: Walk through all of the garden every few days and look for weeds, pest damage, plants that aren't getting enough water, anything out of the ordinary. It's easier to correct problems before they get too big.