NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: Your CHECKLIST.
Order bulbs for fall planting. These unsung heroes are often drought-tolerant and extremely low-maintenance. Native choices include one-leaf onion (Allium unifolium) and pretty face (Triteleia ixioides). We like Western varieties and specialties from around the world at Telos Rare Bulbs (fe/os rarebulbs.com).
Head to your local farmers' market now to sample stone fruit, then decide what to grow from bare root in winter.
Shop for crape myrtles while they're flowering. Characterized by burgundy leaves, the Delta series blooms in four colors: lavender, pink, red, and white. We have three new ones--Delta Flame, Delta Eclipse, and Delta Fusion--in the Sunset Western Garden Collection (sunsetwesterngarden coffection.com).
Keep your vegetable patch cranking with succession sowings of crops that don't mind being established in heat--including beans, corn, and summer squash. Gardeners socked in coastal fog can add carrots, kale, lettuce, and potatoes.
Keep established trees irrigated during any prolonged periods of heat. Use a soil probe to check the moisture level around the drip line. If conditions are dry several inches deep, apply water slowly.
Summer prune young fruit trees (up to 5 years old) to address any aggressive, leggy branches. After harvest, remove about 50 percent of new growth on nectarines and peaches; 20 percent on apples, apricots, figs, pears, and plums.
Stay on top of deadheading this month. Remove spent flowers to coax another flush of blossoms.
Feed azaleas, blueberries, and camellias that are showing an iron deficiency. Telltale signs are light-colored leaves with dark green veins. Correct this with an organic fertilizer specific to these acid-loving plants.
Garlic is ready when the tops yellow and fall over. Use a spade or digging fork to loosen and lift bulbs out of the soil; store them in a well-ventilated, shady location for 2 to 4 weeks, ideally hanging upside down.