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Sunbelt sowing, frost belt reaping

In southern California, Florida, and other Deep South states, the principal vegetable-growing season is just getting under way. Cooler weather generally means that weeds are more easily controlled. Rains are generally more reliable at this time, too. Incorporate more organic matter into the soil, as much of the existing material will have been burned up during the hot summer months.

Set out started plants of cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce, etc. Carrots, beets, onions, turnips, and radishes can all be grown from seed.

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A word of caution: Because hot weather will linger on for several more weeks, you will need to water frequently. In hot weather, too, seeds will sprout more evenly if the bed is covered with burlap or even an old bed sheet. The cloth helps keep the soil moist right at the surface where the young seeds are sprouting. Check under the cloth each evening and remove the covering when the bulk of the seedlings have germinated. Removing the cloth in the evening means the seedlings have the cool night and gentle warmth of early morning sun to adjust to their changed situation.

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