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It's not too late to plant a garden

Pumpkin patch
Plant seeds now and grow your own pumpkin patch. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

Midsummer possibilities: Corn, pumpkins, winter squash

Happy July! Usually this month ushers in a whirlwind of summer activities including the State Fair. Due to COVID concerns, it looks like we'll be staying close to home, just as we have for the past three months.

Is it too late to plant a vegetable garden?

It's never too late -- or too early -- to plant a garden in Sacramento. It just depends on what you plan to plant.

July represents a month of possibilities, especially when the weather has cooled just a bit. While tomatoes and peppers are producing their first harvests, several other warm weather crops are just now going into the ground.

What to plant now?

Corn: Planted now, it will produce ears around Labor Day. Corn needs other stalks nearby for pollination. For best results, plant in blocks (such as 12 by 12 plants) instead of single or double rows. Corn needs a lot of water, so make sure sprouts stay well watered.

This is prime pumpkin planting weather. Seeded now, they'll be ready for Halloween -- or a little earlier. They like a mound layered with aged compost or manure and room to roam; their vines can cover easily cover a 10-foot-square space. To thrive, those fast-growing vines need deep watering twice a week.

Winter squash:
Butternut, acorn and other favorites can go in the ground now for fall harvest. Treat them like pumpkins, their close cousins.

Sunflowers with bee
Sunflowers work as both summer and early fall
flowers. Bees like them anytime.
They're fast and fun. Planted now, they'll produce big fall bouquets. And the bees will thank you.

Radishes: The fastest-growing vegetable in the garden is fun for kids. They'll be ready to pick in August.

Want more flowers? It's not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

Just remember to keep everything consistently watered and mulched. Then, plan on enjoying a fall harvest from your summer shut-in garden.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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