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Garden Checklist: Heat a challenge during drought

Late summer and fall is the right time to plant California poppies.
Late summer and fall is the right time to plant California poppies.

August heat often represents the turning point for the summer garden. Some plants will look fried to a crisp; others survive the triple-digit temperatures and may even flourish.

Keep an eye on your garden – and your water use. When it’s extra hot, make sure your garden is hydrated in advance. Water in the early morning or evening. Make sure mulch has stayed in place. Pay extra attention to plants in containers.

While we still have them, harvest tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant.

To prevent the spread of brown rot and other problems (such as nasty gnats), clean up debris around fruit trees. In particular, pick up dropped fruit.

After cleaning up, feed fruit trees. Make sure to water trees deeply before adding fertilizers.

For more blooms, feed begonias, fuchsias, annuals and container plants with fertilizer high in phosphate. Even in drought, always water plants before feeding.

Start the fall vegetable garden. Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots and potatoes directly into vegetable beds.

Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.