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Your checklist.

SAVE WATER

Check drip-irrigation lines for leaks. Because they discharge water slowly, it's easy to miss problems until plants start dying.

PLANT

Sow seeds for cool-season root crops such as beets, radishes, rutabagas, and turnips in an area with full sun and well-amended soil.

HARVEST

Pick green beans every three to five days while pods are still young and tender. If mature pods are left on the vine, the plants will stop bearing.

Allow watermelons to ripen fully and turn sweet on the vine. When ripe, watermelons make a hollow "thunk" sound when tapped, and the undersides turn white or pale yellow.

MAINTAIN

Water potted citrus trees once a week, or more frequently during heat waves.

Check for signs of powdery mildew on the leaves and stems of melons, pumpkins, and summer squash. Remove any vines with the dustlike coating and discard them in the green-waste bin.

Allow Bermuda grass to go dormant. Once it has turned brown, reduce foot traffic and water lightly once every two weeks to keep the grass alive. When rains return in the fall (fingers crossed!), the lawn should send out new green growth.

Deadhead spent blooms of alstroemeria, cosmos, Jerusalem sage, and yarrow. Leave the flowers of rudbeckia and sunflowers on the plants--all produce seeds that are favored by backyard birds.

Bring beneficial insects into your garden to keep pests at bay. Lacewings and ladybugs (available at feed stores) prey on pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and mites. Release them in the evening when they're less active, and lure them to stick around by having favorites like coreopsis, dill, and fennel in the garden.

MAKE

For an easy kid-friendly project, make plant-themed steppingstones. Pour quick-set concrete into leftover pizza boxes. Let the concrete sit in the cardboard mold until it starts to firm (10 to 20 minutes). Then allow children to press leaves into the hardening concrete's surface.

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Title Annotation:NORTHERN CALIFORNIA; gardening tips
Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Aug 1, 2015
Words:314
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