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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of April 24

Storms bring some good news; great planting weather ahead

Rose-pink geranium blossom
Transplant geraniums for color all summer long.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Those fast-moving storm systems that blew through Sacramento brought good news: April snow. That improved the Sierra snowpack and our overall water outlook.

“Recent rain and snow has brought some improvement to the Northern Sierra (8-Station Index), which is now 39.2 inches,” tweeted the National Weather Service’s Sacramento office on Saturday morning. “This is 83% of normal for this date in the water year.”

April showers also improved Sacramento’s own water totals. Since Oct. 1 (the start of our water year), Sacramento has received 16.39 inches; that’s 92% of average, 17.70 inches. At this point last year, our water year total was only 7.87 inches.

But overall, 2022 remains a very dry year. Sacramento’s rain total since Jan. 1 has been only 1.95 inches – most of that in March and April. Our April rain total so far (0.96 inches) is almost the same as our March total (0.94). Average for this same four-month period: 11.50 inches.

Several neighborhoods got an unwelcome surprise during these storms: Hail. Another reminder why late April and early May are traditionally tomato-planting time.

Speaking of which, this will be a wonderful week for spring gardening, says the weather service. Highs will be in the mid to upper 70s with overnight lows in the high 40s.

* Swing into action in the vegetable garden. Set out tomato, pepper and eggplant transplants.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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