Start seeds for warm-season vegetables indoors under fluorescent lights about 8 to 10 weeks prior to the date you expect the last frost.
Build raised beds for intensive and succession planting. Cover the beds with black plastic sheeting to warm up the soil.
Set up a soaker-hose or drip-irrigation system for beds to supply low-maintenance watering.
Plant seedlings outdoors for cool-weather crops such as broccoli, cabbage, lettuce spinach, radish, and peas.
Perform needed maintenance on permanent trellises used for growing crops vertically.
Harden off warm-season seedlings raised indoors to prepare them for transplanting into the garden.
Harvest cool-weather crops such as peas. When the harvest slows markedly, pull out the vines and plant a summer crop.
Cover berries and peas with netting to protect the crops from birds or animal pests.
Plan to extend the gardening season into fall. Start seeds for cool-weather crops indoors or in a nursery bed outside about three months prior to the expected first frost.
Water when rainfall is sparse. Most plants need about 1 inch of water per week.
Remove black plastic mulch or cover it with organic mulch. Cover soil with organic material such as compost to moderate temperature and retain moisture.
Monitor plants for insect problems and begin controls immediately.
Stimulate production of squash, beans, cucumbers, eggplants, and other by picking them when they are young.
Keep polyspun garden fabric (row covers) handy to cover summer crops such as beans and peppers if an early light frost threatens.
Harvest crops such as pumpkins, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onions. Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, and other root crops can stay in the ground through light frosts.
Clean up plant debris in harvested beds. Mulch empty beds to protect the soil over winter.
Tend fall crops such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and onions until they're mature and ready for harvest.
Harvest green tomatoes and store them indoors if a frost is predicted.
Build more boxed raised beds. Repair trellises. Clean out cold frames.
Continued on page 2: Advice for Warm Climates