Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Keep Sowing to Extend Harvest
Sow carrots, lettuce, and spinach a dozen or so seeds at a time every two or three weeks from now through October. This will provide a succession of harvests through the winter. Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach that are 3 or 4 inches tall and wide -- or carrots that are at least 1/2 inch in diameter -- before the first hard frost will be mature enough to provide harvests through early spring. If they're smaller, they won't provide much to eat until spring, when they may bolt first.
Be Patient With Slow Fruiting
If you have kept plants well picked but fruit set has stopped, suspect hot weather. Fruit set will begin again about 10 to 14 days after the temperature stays below 85 to 90 degrees.
Rejuvenate Plants for Another Harvest
Prune vegetable plants of their leaves that have become ragged from age, disease, or insect attacks. Then water plants well. Healthy new leaves and blossoms will appear, and fruit set will begin again. This is especially effective with beans, cucumbers, and squash.
Drying Flower Heads
Choose a dry, sunny day to harvest globe amaranth, baby's breath, cockscomb, lunaria, strawflowers, and statice for drying. Cut them before they're fully open or they'll shatter as they dry. Hang stems upside down in an airy room to cure.
Saving Your Own Seeds
Collect seeds from nonhybrid flowers, and sow those that are cold-hardy, such as bachelor's buttons, dianthus, Oriental poppies, and stocks.