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Your checklist.

PLANT

Instead of thirsty annuals, use colorful low-water plants along a border. One of our favorite combos; powder blue Euphorbia 'Blue Haze', lime green Carex os/iimensis 'Everillo', and compact succulents.

It's not too late to sow seeds of beans, corn, and squash for harvesting late summer into fall. In the Test Garden, we like heirloom 'Hopi Blue' corn, which can be eaten as sweet corn when young or left on the stalk (its deep cobalt kernels are highly ornamental). Available through territorialseed.com.

Plant low-water bloomers such as gaillardia, lavender, penstemon, salvia, and yarrow for color from now through fall.

HARVEST

Pick cucumbers while they're small. Slicing varieties are best at 6 to 8 inches long.

MAINTAIN

Prioritize water use in your garden even if it means making tough decisions. The water saved by letting a lawn go brown can be enough to grow summer edibles and save costly specimen trees.

Conserve water by hooking up smart controllers to your drip-irrigation system that adjust the frequency of watering based on soil moisture and weather. For resources, visit a local irrigation supply store or East Bay Municipal Utility District (ebmud.com).

Check June-bearing strawberries for sunken dark spots that are indications of anthracnose, a fungal disease. Remove affected berries and any surrounding leaves that appear brown; avoid overhead watering.

If you did not set up trellising at planting time, stake your tomatoes as they grow. Drive a few stakes into the ground about a foot from each plant and use soft ties to loosely fasten branches.

Keep leaves of cucumbers, melon, and squash dry to avoid powdery mildew.

GO

At Green Gulch Farm's lavender workshop, learn how to plant, prune, and care for the Mediterranean, low-water favorite. Come early to take a self-guided tour of the large organic garden. $50, including lunch and materials; 1:30-4 Jun 29; sfzc.org/ggf.

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Title Annotation:NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Author:Dunec, Lauren
Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2014
Words:311
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