By the end of June, gardeners in Southern California’s warmer inland valleys are generally maintaining and harvesting rather than planting. Few if any cool season vegetables are still thriving, and warm summer vegetables are generally ready for harvest. However, to get the most out of existing plantings, gardeners need to to do more than occasionally go into the yard to pick that fabulous heirloom tomato! Here are eight late June gardening tasks:
Monitor plants regularly, at least every other day during warm weather and every day during hot weather to catch wilting, irrigation, pest, disease, weed, and other problems early.
Maintain or add mulch; consider adding extra mulch to a total depth of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches to keep soil cool during summer heat. Harvest summer crops.
Harvest aggressively before heat waves, including whole plants or all vegetables for any remaining cool-season crops and sensitive warm-season crops such as zucchini.
Add nitrogen with caution in active beds and near plants as it may activate heat-generating processes in soils.
Harvest and save seeds from spring-and-summer bolted vegetables and herbs such as arugula, basil, beets, chard, lettuce, and spinach after seed stalks are brown and dry; and from warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes.
Cut off expired plant stems at ground level after harvest or as plants die, leaving roots in place to feed soil.
Plan and complete irrigation, seed-starting, transplanting, soil testing, soil amending, and garden projects for summer and fall.
And enjoy the harvest of your fabulous warm season veggies! To view customized gardening information for your area, go to GardenZeus and enter your zip code.