In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
July, 2004
Regional Report

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In this one patch of 'Eternal' beets I have new seeds germinating, seedlings growing, and some beets ready for harvest.

The Last Planting of Summer, Already?

It's time for the last sowing and planting of many veggies and flowers. Transplant basil, celery, chard, cucumbers, dill, kale, leeks, summer-maturing lettuce, okra, green onions, melons, white potatoes, pumpkins, summer savory, New Zealand spinach, and summer and winter squash. Beans and carrots dislike transplanting and grow more successfully when they are sown where they will be harvested.

Sow or transplant alyssum, celosia, cosmos, forget-me-nots, gazanias, marigolds, nasturtiums, portulaca, salvias, statice, verbena, and zinnias. Keep garden soil moist and mulched until they're established.

Also transplant fibrous begonias, calendulas, chrysanthemums, crape myrtles, dahlias, daylilies, delphiniums, dianthus (pinks, sweet William), foxgloves, hibiscus, hydrangeas, impatiens, penstemons, petunias, rudbeckias (coneflowers, black-eyed susans), and salvias.

Midsummer Transplanting Tips
Keep young plants shaded during the hottest portion of the day, and sprinkle the foliage several times a day for the first week after they're transplanted. Then, gradually increase their time in the direct sun over a week's time, when they should be able to withstand a full day's sun without drooping.

Do your transplanting in the late afternoon or evening so plants have the whole night to begin to recover before they're hit with a full day of sun and heat. Water the transplants well and provide shade from the intense midday sun. For the first month, water enough to keep the soil moist around transplants. Mulch to lessen evaporation so your irrigation water lasts longer.

Corn planted this late in the season may develop problems with smut (the enlarged grey-black pods) when it's harvested in September. Destroy -- don't compost -- these infected ears carefully to prevent spreading the spores.

Improving Germination
Get better germination during summer's heat by employing several techniques. Sow seeds thickly in flats or beds. Mulch the seeds thinly with sifted compost instead of heavy soil, which easily crusts over. Frequently sprinkle the flat or bed to keep it moist, or leave a mister on for several hours each day. Shield the bed with a piece of burlap or plywood to keep the seeds cooler than the air temperature, give them the moisture they need, and keep the soil surface from crusting. Remove the shade board or burlap after one-fourth of the seeds have germinated. Continue keeping the bed moist until most of the seedlings are up.

If you use flats, place them in an area with less than full-day sun, and pay close attention to keeping them moist. Transplant the seedlings when the second set of true leaves develops. These are the ones that look like miniature versions of the mature plant.

To improve germination of carrots, parsley, and other seeds that are slow, sow seed on the north side of a furrow. Sprinkle, cover the seeds lightly with potting soil or fine compost, and shade with cheesecloth, window screening, or slats of wood. The slope away from direct sun and the shading will lessen the heat and baking effect of the sun and result in better germination.

Sprinkle every second or third day to keep the soil surface moist. After most of the seeds are up, remove the screening. An easy way to handle the screening is to keep it in a roll and just roll it out over the bed for shade, and then roll it back up for storage when the seedlings are up.


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