Warm weather is here. What to do in your garden now.

Woman in garden picking edible flowers
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Spring planting means summer’s harvest is going to be here in no time, so guarantee a sweet yield by adding figs to your homegrown bounty with the Sunset Plant Collection’s adorably named dwarf fig tree, Little Miss Figgy.

Whether it’s grown in a container or in the ground, this diminutive tree fruits in the first year unlike other fig trees and produces yummy, jammy, deep purple figs that are a luscious hallmark of a Western summer.

Picking a fig

Sunset Plant Collection


Start cosmos, sunflower, and zinnia from seed. All are easy to grow, make nice cut flowers, and attract beneficial insects.

Site heat-loving vegetables carefully. All need full sun. Put tall growers (pole beans, corn, tomatoes, et cetera) on the north side of shorter varieties (such as cucumber, eggplants, melons, peppers, and squash) so they won’t shade them out.

To create reusable plant markers, dip the tops of wooden stakes in chalkboard paint (available in craft stores). Use them now to mark the spots where you’ve sown seeds and in the spring to identify herbs in your garden.


Establish a twice-weekly harvest schedule to keep herbs and vegetables growing vigorously. Pick pea pods as soon as they’re plump; pull radishes from the ground as they fatten up; and regularly pinch leaves off basil, mint, and parsley.


Thin out clusters of marble-size fruit on apple, apricot, nectarine, and peach trees. Gently twist them off, leaving 4 to 6 inches between fruits.

Collect seeds from annual flowers that have finished blooming, such as bachelor’s button, chamomile, cosmos, love-in-a-mist, nasturtium, and sweet peas. Allow them to dry, stash in labeled envelopes, and sow next fall.

2022 Garden Issue cover
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Sunset’s Garden Issue 2022

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As daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs finish blooming, prune out spent flowers. Leave the foliage in place until it’s completely brown, so it can send nutrients back down to the bulbs.


Control ants with sticky Tree Tanglefoot Insect Barrier or traps containing boric acid.

Treat outbreaks of whiteflies with insecticidal soap. Spray the whole plant (including the undersides of leaves) every three days until the flies are eradicated.

In fire zones, consider succulents, which contain lots of water in their leaves, making them useful for landscaping to prevent or minimize fire damage.