May may still be spring, but it’s prime time for planting summer vegetables. Among the veggies you can plant now from seed: lima and snap beans, carrots, chard, corn, cucumbers, melons, okra, pumpkins, soybeans, squash and watermelon.
• If you haven’t already, set out tomato transplants as well as seedling eggplants and peppers. The warmer the nights, the faster they’ll grow.
• In the flower garden, plant alyssum, aster, celosia, cleome, cosmos, four o’clocks, marigold, morning glory, periwinkle, rudbeckia, salvia, sunflower, verbena and zinnia.
• Don’t forget to water your seedlings and transplants. Irrigation is critical during these early stages. You can cut back on water after the plants get established.
• Time to harvest, too. Bring in lettuce, cabbage, fava beans, peas, green onions and radishes. Warmer weather causes lettuce and cabbage relatives to “bolt” and go to seed. That also can make the leaves bitter.
• 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.
• Watch out for snails and slugs. They’ll gobble everything in sight. Go snail hunting with a flashlight an hour after dark. Hand-pick the critters and destroy.
• For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.
• Check for powdery mildew on grapes. If needed, spray with sulfur or potassium bicarbonate, available at nurseries.
– Debbie Arrington