December is generally a time when the hard work is done and you can start to enjoy your harvest but it is also ok to plant corn, more beans, zucchini and tomatoes to keep continuity of supply. It is still ok to plant salad greens through summer where there is shade and the soil can be kept cool and moist. The shade can be on the south side of the house amongst other plants, such as lettuce under brassicas, shrubs, flowers or herbs but remember to feed the soil as the more established plants will compete more strongly for nutrients.
Tasks for summer
Mulch if you have not already done so.
Harvest seed, when mature, from selected plants from winter and spring plantings.
Mulching has several purposes:
To stabilise soil moisture and temperature levels
To prevent soil erosion for example from heavy rain and wind
To suppress weeds
To add humus to build soil fertility
To reduce soil compaction and nutrient leaching from heavy rain
Garden compost is probably the best but you can also use grass clippings and chopped tree and shrub prunings (run the lawnmower back and forth over them), leaves, newspapers and cardboard laid on the soil work but may need to held down with a rock or two.
Containing a garden to a pot or confined space means you only have to water where it matters.
Staking tomatoes, eggplant etc. Staking is important to keep the leaves off the ground and to allow the plant to grow tall for maximum sunlight. When fruiting a plant can be very ‘top heavy’ so tie to strong stakes as necessary. Torn strips of old cotton sheets, tee shirts etc make good ties. Some removal of the lateral branches may be necessary because all the leaves need air movement around them. These lateral branches can be planted, just strip off the lower leaves leaving only about 6 so leaves and a bare stem about 20cm long and plant this deep right up to the leaves. Care for as any other new plant.
Watering deeply and inconsistently encourages plant roots to grow deep in the soil thus preventing them from drying out.
Water early in the morning or late afternoon because evaporation is greater in the days heat, also leaves can be scorched and the humidity can lead to fungal diseases.
Water the soil around the plant, not the leaves.
Depending on your site, you may need to shelter from drying winds.
You may want to collect water from downpipes or in containers around the garden to save tap water.
Weeding is done to prevent competition for water and nutrients but most importantly to prevent weeds seeding. It is easiest to weed when the ground is moist.
I try to limit my work - load for now and the future. Some non seeding weeds can add to the mulch in dry weather.