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Spruce up your garden to stretch summer veggies, flowers

Oranges that fell from trees litter the curbside along P Street.
Oranges that fell from trees litter the curbside along P Street. Sacramento Bee file

Late summer gardening focuses on maintenance, stretching summer vegetables and flowers into fall. A few minutes spent each day on cleanup and TLC can go a long way in helping you get the most out of your garden – even during drought in the dog days of August.

Pick up after your fruit trees. Clean up debris and dropped fruit; this cuts down on insects and prevents the spread of brown rot. It also discourages pests that feed on that fruit.

After cleanup, feed fruit trees, including citrus trees, with slow-release fertilizer for better production next year. Make sure to deep water your trees before feeding or the fertilizer may cause more harm than good.

Continue mulching to conserve soil moisture and cut down on weeds.

To prolong bloom into fall, feed begonias, fuchsias, annuals and container plants. Remember: Always water before fertilizing.

Fertilize fall-blooming perennials, too. Chrysanthemums can be fed until the buds start to open.

Indoors, start seedlings for fall vegetable planting including cabbage, broccoli, kale and lettuce.

Sow seeds of perennials in pots for fall planting including yarrow, coneflower and salvia.

In the garden, direct seed beets, carrots, leaf lettuce and turnips. Plant potatoes.