Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
July, 2010
Regional Report

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Mulch new transplants well after watering deeply.

Summer Seeding and Transplanting

Our still-cool spring is extending into summer, usually too hot to get much success from continuing to seed and transplant new additions to the garden. Take advantage of the mildness, and keep 'em coming!

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 flats are used, 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 get excellent germination of carrots, parsley and other slow-comers, sow seed on the north side of a furrow. 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 shading. An easy way to handle the screening is to keep it in a roll--just roll it out over the bed for shade, and then roll it back up for storage when the seedlings are up.

Transplant basil, celery, chard, cucumbers, dill, kale, leeks, summer-maturing lettuce, okra, green onions, melons, white potatoes, peppers, pumpkins, summer savory, New Zealand spinach, summer and winter squash, and even some more tomatoes to guarantee exuberant early-fall harvests.

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 in well and provide shade from the intense mid-day sun. Sprinkle the foliage a couple of times a day for the first week after they're transplanted so they don't dry out before getting established. Water enough to keep soil around transplants moist for at least a month, especially if the heat finally arrives.

Mulch transplants to help moderate soil temperatures, insulate the moist soil, lessen evaporation so your irrigation water lasts longer and keep weeds from germinating.

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