Time to get busy in summer garden

05/31/2014 12:00 AM

05/27/2014 5:51 PM

Stop procrastinating and start gardening! Make the most of usually mild June weather. There’s still time to plant a summer vegetable garden – even if it’s just a few tomato plants in pots. Try some herbs, too; basil loves Sacramento summers.

• Transplant seedlings for tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and squash. Look for varieties that mature in 75 days or less.

•  From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, squash and sunflowers.

• Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

• Plant seeds for sunflowers, asters, cosmos, salvia and zinnias.

• Don’t forget to water! Yes, we’re still having a drought, but it’s important to keep those seedlings and transplants hydrated. Seeds need consistently moist (not soggy) soil to sprout; don’t let them dry out or your work (and seeds) will go to waste.

• Feed the roses. After their initial big burst of spring bloom, they’ve worked up an appetite while depleting a lot of energy.

Trim off the spent flowers (this is called “deadheading”), then fertilize with a balanced mix such as 12-12-12. Make sure to water the bushes well before adding any fertilizer (that prevents chemical burns to the foliage). The application rate for most granular fertilizers is 1/2 cup per bush, worked into the soil lightly in a circle within 18 inches of the trunk.

– Debbie Arrington

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