Does summer have you feeling fried? Start thinking fall – vegetables, that is.
Because of the warm spring, many Sacramento gardeners started their summer vegetables early. That means they’re more likely to stop producing earlier, too. As squash, beans and tomatoes play themselves out, switch gears and focus on fall vegetables.
Transplant seedlings for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and celery. Indoors, plant seeds for leaf lettuce, chard, kohlrabi and other fall crops, to be transplanted later. Sow seeds for head lettuce, parsnips, rutabaga, beets and turnips directly in the ground. Remember: Seeds need steady moisture to sprout.
▪ Harvest tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant, cucumbers and beans before they grow too big. (That prompts the plants to produce more!)
▪ As melons start to fully ripen, cut back on irrigation. Too much water in the later stages of development can cause them to split.
▪ Clean up the summer flower garden..
▪ After deadheading (removing spent flowers), fertilize roses to kick-start another bloom cycle; remember to give them a deep watering before feeding.
▪ Dig and divide overcrowded irises and bulbs after the foliage dies back.
▪ Pick caterpillars off tomatoes and other vegetables before they have time to do significant damage. Watch out for stink bugs!
▪ Blast aphids off plants with a jet of water or squirt them with insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” add 1 tablespoon of liquid soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap or Ivory dishwashing liquid) to 1 quart water. Put in a spray bottle and shake before using.