As we enter summer, drought awareness will get ramped up as we try to squeeze the most out of every drop. Keep your vegetable garden consistently watered (twice a week irrigation for most veggies is sufficient), mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to reduce chances of fungal infection and to conserve moisture. Monitor soil moisture before turning on the hose; you may be able to skip a day here or there. Those water savings all add up. But if your tomatoes are wilting, give them a drink.
• It’s not too late to get a few more veggies in the ground. Plant seeds for corn, lima beans, green beans, okra, parsnips, pumpkin, summer and winter squash and watermelon.
• Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more. Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather; keep an eye on the zucchini.
• In the flower garden, plant seeds for alyssum, celosia, marigolds, periwinkles, sunflowers and zinnias.
• Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.
• Cut back Shasta daisies after flowering to promote a second bloom in fall.
• Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants. Make sure to water well (and deeply) before fertilizing. Otherwise, you may harm instead of help your shrubs.
– Debbie Arrington