Gardening in Northern California

Veggie Garden in JuneVeggie Garden in JulyVeggie Garden in August

Left to Right: Similar views of the garden in June, July, and August.

Since transplanting the first little seedlings in May, my northern California vegetable garden has undergone quite a transformation. The growing season started late because of plentiful spring rain, and was followed by a series of heatwaves through July. Most of August has been socked in practically every morning and evening with coastal fog, which has significantly slowed the growth rate of all of the veggies. These past few days have really heated up, though, so I predict that in September, we will be up to our knees in ripe tomatoes and peppers. I have the canning jars ready and waiting for multiple batches of salsa. While summer vegetables and flowers are at their peak and starting to wane, the time has come for starting to prepare for fall and winter, which, among other things, means sowing some more seeds. The cycle continues!

Sunflowers have been blooming since early July, and just keep getting better.

sunflower Autumn BeautySunflower Autumn Beauty and TithoniaSunflower Golden CheerSunflower Cherry Rose

Left to right: Autumn Beauty, Torch tithonias with Autumn Beauty, Golden Cheer, and Cherry Rose.

Currently, sunflowers may be the stars of the show, but many other colorful annuals are playing strong supporting roles. A sample of what else is blooming now:

Zinnia Art DecoCoreopsis RouletteCoreopsis Golden RouletteTithonia TorchPsyche Cosmos

Getting ready for fall/winter:

Late summer is a good time to start seeds for perennial flowers as well as cool season vegetables. The seeds I sowed in an open flat a few weeks ago are now ready for transplant: the hardy perennial herb catnip into 2" pots, late-flowering commelina in cell packs, romanesco broccoli and chard into a half wine barrel.

Catnip SeedlingsCommelina SeedlingsChard Seedling

Left to right: Catnip, Commelina, and Chard seedlings.

Evergreen White Bunching onion seedlings will stay in their 2" cells for another couple of weeks before I transplant them directly into the garden, where they will overwinter and be ready for harvest in late winter and early spring. I’ll plant more seeds in early spring to continue the harvest through early summer.

Evergreen Bunching Onion Seedlings

What is keeping you busy in the garden as we head from summer into fall?