UC Master Gardeners of Monterey
and Santa Cruz Counties
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Dear Gardening Friends: Welcome to our newsletter, where we feature hands-on classes designed for local home gardeners.
In lieu of in-person classes and events, we're sharing information and resources we hope you find informative and helpful.

In the Garden

raspberries, blueberries, mulberries | photo credit: UC MG Joy Agcongay

What to Do in the Garden

  • Strawberries reproduce by sending modified roots, called stolons, from the mother plant to root nearby. Until the plant is well-established or if you want to keep the plant's energy in the main plant, remove the stolons.
  • It's berry season! Caneberries include blackberries and raspberries. Most produce in a 2-3 week period, though some later varieties may extend yield to the fall. Continue irrigation beyond the harvest period to encourage the development of new canes. For information about growing strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, UCANR has a guide to Growing Berries in Your Backyard.
  • Vegetables: Read our article, Claim Your Victory Garden to learn what annual vegetables to plant in June (see below). Tune in to KSQD 90.7 FM on Saturday, June 6 at 9 am to hear UC Master Gardener Delise Weir on the air!
  • Mulch is any material you put on top of the soil to protect it. When you mulch around plants, keep the mulch six inches away from the trunk or stem of the plant to minimize root or crown diseases. Read this article by a local UC Master Gardener to learn appropriate mulch options for both vegetable gardens and flowers and shrub gardens.
  • Herbs: Plant starts of parsley, sage, and other Mediterranean herbs. Read seed packets for "Days to Germination"--though you can start many herbs from seeds, parsley is notoriously slow to germinate while others perform unevenly.
  • Consider adding plants to attract beneficial insects and pollinators to your garden.
  • Keep newly planted California natives watered until rain returns in winter. 
cucumbers, eggplant, padron peppers, sungold tomatoes | Photo credit: UC Master Gardener Joy Agcongay

Claim Your Victory Garden in June

As I walked through my neighborhood in the suddenly sultry days in late May, I noticed many lush, front yard vegetable gardens. It’s the new thing, growing food. Perhaps because of all the time recently spent in our own homes, or perhaps the empty shelves at grocery stores. But whatever the reason, food gardening is a "thing". 

Now it’s June, and many summer gardens are in full swing. Is it too late to get in on this action?

Happily, we live in a “cool Mediterranean” climate further buffered by the coastal marine influence which blurs the lines between cool- and warm-season crops. We can grow summer squash next to lettuce and kale and we can start a LOT of vegetables now--either from seed or from starts. It’s really more a question of what CAN’T you start from seed now?

Catch Up Quickly
Jumpstart your garden by planting seedlings and those don’t seem to be in short supply at your local garden center or sometimes outside your favorite health food store. If you’re planting now, in June, plant solanaceous crops: tomatoes, peppers and eggplant from starts. They are tropical perennials that start very slowly so it’s too late to start them from seed this year. 

However, there are plenty of other vegetables you can start now from seed.

What to Start from Seed Now
Growing from seeds is less expensive and, in many ways more satisfying. Up until July, you can start many summer crops by seeding directly in the ground. Use your garden's microclimates to plant warm-season plants like corn, beans and squash in full sun. Find a cool, semi-shaded area in your yard for leafy greens like leaf lettuce, kale and chard.  Here is a list of some plants you can start from seed now:

Warm-season crops 

Cool-season crops to plant now








Leaf Lettuce & mesclun mix

Chives and green onions









Plants that CANNOT Take the Heat
Hold off on planting cabbage family crops such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower until after July for a fall harvest.  Crops that form heads, such as romaine lettuce and radicchio, do better in fall but leaf types lettuce and endive can turn into a quick salad in a shady corner of the yard. Bulbing onions are day-length sensitive and bulb up as the days get longer. Wait on peas or sweet peas, spinach and leeks which don’t like temperatures over 80 degrees.

Bear in mind, anything you grow that pushes the season may show some ill effects of seasonal stress in a heatwave: Bitter greens may get more bitter in the heat or be susceptible to insect pests (such as leaf miners in chard), leaf crops such as lettuce may bolt to flower early. It’s a risk worth taking. 

Where Do I Find Seed?
If you go to your local nursery you may find them low on vegetable seed. Food gardening is such a thing that there’s been a run on seeds just like toilet paper. But don’t despair, you can still get seed mail-order through a number of greater and lesser-known catalogs. Here is a (by no means exhaustive) list:
Burpee  800-888-1447
Harris Seeds 800-544-7938
Park Seed 800-845-3369
Fedco 207-426-9900
High Mowing Seeds 866-735-4454
Johnny's Select Seeds 877-564-6697
Kitazawa  510-595-1188
Nichols Garden Seeds 800-422-3985
Renee’s Garden 888-880-7228
Seed Savers Exchange 563-382-5990
Seeds of Change 888-762-7333

Plenty of Seed for Fall Planting
Worried about whether to buy seed now for fall planting? Renee Shepherd of Renee’s Garden says that while many seed companies are out of stock due to high demand earlier in the season, all are gearing up to replenish. You’ll start seeing veggie seeds, including hers, in garden centers in July in time for fall planting. 

-- Tips provided by UC Master Gardener, Delise Weir

UC Master Gardener Talks Food Gardening On KSQD: June 6 at 9 am

Tune in to hear UC Master Gardener Delise Weir talk about food gardening and what to plant now on KSQD Community Radio 90.7 FM in Santa Cruz.

When: Saturday, June 6 at 9 am with Joe Truskot, Master Rosarian and "In the Garden" host.

In case you miss the original airing, KSQD offers replays for two weeks at
poison hemlock | photo credit: UC MG Olivia Mandilk

What's that Weed:
 Poison Hemlock

Poison hemlock is widely distributed in the western U.S., & commonly found at lower elevations in regularly disturbed areas such as roadsides, ditch and stream banks, creek beds, & fence lines, as well as on the edges of cultivated fields. It can also invade native plant communities in riparian woodlands, floodplains of natural aquatic systems, & grazing areas, particularly pastures and meadows.


"What's that Weed" is a weekly feature on Wednesdays on our Facebook page! Visit to play along!

Additional Resources

Planting Schedules
Santa Cruz County (PDF)
Monterey County (PDF)

Growing Vegetables: California Garden Web Guide to Growing Vegetables

In addition to our hotline, we host an active Facebook page where we post timely, instructional and useful gardening videos and information. We invite you to visit us and LIKE our Page!

Tuesdays: Gardening Tips
Wednesdays: What's that Weed?
Thursdays: Teaching Thursday (in-depth educational webinars and videos)
Saturday: Succulents!
Solace on Sunday: Nature & Gardening Inspiration

Class Resources
Our collection of class resources is always available, featuring presentations and handouts from our live (past) classes, including Edible Landscaping, Backyard Composting, Landscaping with California Native Plants, Seed Starting, Raising Chickens, Container Gardening and more.

Quail (c) Maria Gaura
Copyright 2020 UC Master Gardeners of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties

Our all-volunteer organization offers no-cost & low-cost research-based gardening and landscaping advice to the home gardeners in our beautiful Central Coast region. For more information on classes, resources, and advice, please visit our website.
Copyright © 2020 UC Master Gardeners of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, All rights reserved.

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