ALSO: Bar eti­quette | De­signed to in­spire | Chris Ersk­ine sees the signs GET READY TO GRAZE

Los Angeles Times - - SATURDAY - BY JEANETTE MARANTOS home@la­

So it’s June, and the sear­ing heat of the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia sum­mer is pac­ing in the wings, wait­ing to take cen­ter stage.

Is it too late to put food-pro­duc­ing plants in the ground?

Con­ven­tional wis­dom tells South­ern Cal­i­for­nia gar­den­ers to avoid plant­ing ed­i­bles in June be­cause they’ll suf­fer and grow poorly when the tem­per­a­tures get too high. But plenty of oth­ers dis­agree. Here, ex­perts share tips for get­ting the most out of your har­vest and list their fa­vorite ed­i­bles to put in just as sum­mer ramps up.

Read be­fore you buy. Seek out heat-tol­er­ant va­ri­eties of the ed­i­bles you want to put in, says Jimmy Wil­liams, co-owner of Lo­gan’s Gar­den, a nurs­ery of or­ganic ed­i­ble plants in Sil­ver Lake.

Shade ten­der trans­plants un­til they are es­tab­lished. This can be as sim­ple as creat­ing a tem­po­rary sun screen with an old screen or some strips of old bed­ding and a few stakes. (Just make sure that you are not smoth­er­ing new plants by plac­ing any­thing over them that lim­its air f low or traps heat.) Want some­thing a lit­tle more durable? Go to la­ and you’ll find a DIY piece on creat­ing a mov­able gar­den shield.

Try com­pan­ion plant­ing, says mas­ter gar­dener Lucy Heyming of River­side. It’s a nat­u­ral way of com­bin­ing plants to max­i­mize shade and nu­tri­ents. She sug­gests the “Three Sis­ters” gar­den­ing tech­nique: Plant corn in the cen­ter of the bed. When it’s about 5 inches tall, plant beans around the corn and then, a week later, put in a few pump­kins on the outer edges of your plant bed.

Why does this work? The spread­ing pump­kins shade the roots of the corn, and the quick­grow­ing beans climb up the corn stalks while adding ni­tro­gen to the soil.

Abi­gail Rex Getty Images

YOUNG PLANTS can be vul­ner­a­ble to sun­light and heat, but don’t hes­i­tate to plant now. Just plan ahead.

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