Garden checklist: Warm weather perfect for planting summer veggies

05/17/2014 12:00 AM

05/16/2014 10:51 AM

Is it hot enough yet? Your summer vegetables appreciate the heat – especially when putting down roots in May.

Warm weather helps young plants get off to a fast start. Transplant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and squash seedlings. Make sure they get enough water, especially if temperatures continue to heat up or if the soil is dried out by wind.

• Plant seeds for melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes and annual herbs such as basil. Keep soil moist (not wet) and they’ll sprout quickly.

•  Put your veggie garden on a regular diet. Set up a monthly feeding program, starting this weekend, and keep track on your calendar. Make sure to water your garden before applying any fertilizer to prevent “burning” your plants. Plant roots need moisture in the soil to access those nutrients.

• In the flower garden, plant seeds for salvia, sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, marigolds, celosia and asters. You also can transplant seedlings for many of those same flowers.

• Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions. Lettuce in particular will “bolt” – producing a flower stalk and seed – as the weather warms.

• Mulch around plants to control weeds and conserve moisture. Be sure to leave a small circle around the base of each plant to prevent rotting stems or trunks.

• For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

• Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

– Debbie Arrington

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