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Garden checklist: Last best weekend to plant summer veggies

French marigolds are easy summer color additions.
French marigolds are easy summer color additions. TNS

For Sacramento-area gardeners, Memorial Day weekend represents an ultimatum: Plant now or forget it.

If you’ve been thinking about planting a summer vegetable garden, the window for success closes after this weekend. If starting a garden now, choose varieties that need the least time to mature, preferably under 75 days. Consider water use, too. A mature tomato plant needs at least 5 gallons a week.

▪ From seed, there’s still time to plant beans, radishes, corn, pumpkins and squash. Also plant basil and other annual herbs.

▪ To speed up your garden’s production, transplant seedlings for cucumber, pepper, eggplant and tomatoes.

▪ For summer color and flowers, transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, coneflowers, coreopsis, rudbeckia and verbena. Plant seeds for sunflowers, asters, cosmos, salvia and zinnias.

▪ If you plant seeds or transplant young plants, don’t forget to water! It’s important to keep those transplants hydrated. Seeds need consistently moist (not soggy) soil to sprout; don’t let them dry out. Water by hand to target where you need the moisture most.

▪ As spring-flowering shrubs finish blooming, give them a little pruning to shape, removing dead wood. Lightly trim azaleas, fuchsias and marguerites for bushier plants.

Debbie Arrington