The lower parts of my pea vines were turning brown and the new blooms weren't setting good pods, so I pulled them. I cleared away the weeds and the small onions that I'd planted with the peas (the onions didn't do too much, and I've noted in my garden book that next year I shouldn't interplant them with the peas).
I watered the cleared area very well for a couple of days, at least half an hour each time, then added mulch to keep the moisture in during the coming hot dry weeks. Now it's ready to receive the limas, which I will plant this weekend after soaking them overnight.
If you're planting pole limas, space them four inches or so apart, and a couple of inches deep. It's easy enough to poke fat holes in the ground and drop them in, rather as you'd plant tulip bulbs, only not so deep. Rows of pole limas should be at least two feet apart so that you can get between them easily at picking time.
If you're planting bush limas, make a row four to six inches wide and two or three inches deep. Set the beans zig-zag, a couple of inches from one another. This wide-row method gives excellent support to the plants -- they seem to do much better in a crowd than in a skinny row. Because you can step over adjacent rows, you don't have to leave much space between rows.
BRACING BRASSICAS: For many, cabbage is ready to be picked now, to be turned into coleslaw or sauerkraut. Take a sharp knife and cut the head at the base, in much the same way you cut cauliflower curds. If you wish to leave the plant in the gound, you will find baby cabbages will later grow on the cut rim. These are quite good, if small. It's wise to leave the plant in if you're not ready to replace it.
My broccoli is producing its third crop, more or less. The first good cutting came several weeks ago, when I had to take off all the full heads before they bolted into bloom. Since then I've been able to get a fair number of small side-growth heads. When the floret growth becomes spindly and blooms before the heads fill out, I know it's about time to pull the plants and feed them to the rabbits or add them to the compost.
In early August, if nurseries do again this year what they did last year, I'll be able to buy some started plants. Last year I found all the more common brassicas available -- broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and red cabbage, Chinese cabbage.
PLANT: Summer squash, winter squash, pumpkin, beans, oak-leaf lettuce (resistant to hot weather), carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas, Swiss chard. This is the last weekend to plant corn and still count on a good crop.
HARVEST: Zucchini, yellow squash, stringbeans and cucumbers are more delicious when picked before they're fully mature. Squash can be picked as soon as the blossom on the end of the fruit dies. This may be when the squash is less than six inches long.
Spring-planted onions are ready for harvesting. Pull them when the green part's bent over and beginning to turn brown. Some people wait until the whole green stalk is brown, but I prefer to get them before that stage; they seem sweeter. After pulling them, lay the onions on a screen or a patio area that gets plenty of air circulation. Leave the onions out in the sun for a full day, and then put them in string bags or cheesecloth, or braid them and hang them up in the kitchen. A day in the sun will dry the outer layer of the onion and prolong its shelf life