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Garden Checklist: Spring garden swings quickly into summer

Transplant your young tomato plants now as days and nights warm up.
Transplant your young tomato plants now as days and nights warm up. Bigstock

Did those April showers prompt more May flowers? You’ll know soon as warmer temperatures prompt rapid growth.

This is one of the busiest times for Sacramento gardeners as they get to work on summer gardens. In particular, now is the best 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.

▪  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 from seed or transplant 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.

▪  It’s harvest time, 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. So enjoy them now.

▪  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’re hungry pests that do a lot of damage in a hurry. Go snail hunting with a flashlight an hour after dark. Hand-pick them off plants and destroy.

▪  For summer bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants. They’ll soon produce more flowers.

▪ Check for powdery mildew on grapes. If needed, spray with sulfur or potassium bicarbonate, available at nurseries.