Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
July, 2008
Regional Report

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Shade cloth slows bolting of maturing lettuce, and it helps keep seedbeds moist for germinating new seed.

Planting Succession Crops

Even with our true summer heat upon us, we can still be planting some seeds and tiny plants. We just have to be selective and take some extra precautions to assure success, then escape back indoors or at least into the shade with a cool drink!

Transplant basil, celery, chard, cucumbers, dill, kale, leeks, summer-maturing lettuce, okra, green onions, melons, pumpkins, summer savory, New Zealand spinach, and summer and winter squash. Do your transplanting in the late afternoon or evening so plants have the whole night to begin to recover before they must endure a full day of sun and heat. Water the transplants well and provide shade from the intense midday sun. Water enough to keep soil around transplants moist for at least a month until they're well established. Mulch transplants to lessen evaporation so your irrigation water lasts longer.

At the end of the month, sow seeds of carrots, celery, and cole crops such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage (especially red and savoy types, which resist frost better), cauliflower, and kohlrabi. Keep the soil moist and shaded until they're up, and then gradually allow them more sun over a week's time.

Beans and carrots dislike transplanting and grow more successfully when they are sown where they will be harvested.

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. This will 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 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.

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