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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of March 27

Rain coming soon -- but how much?

Orange trees are blooming, including this one in Midtown Sacramento. The blossoms are a reminder to give the trees a low dose of balanced fertilizer. (Photo:
Debbie Arrington)

Sacramento can (finally) expect more rain Monday, maybe even Sunday evening. But how much?

According to the National Weather Service, estimates are just that – estimates. This fast-moving storm system could drop as much as an inch of rain on Sacramento – or just 0.10.

Most likely, it will be somewhere in between those amounts. As of late Friday night, the weather service pegs Sacramento's total at 0.62 inches with “definite rain showers and thunderstorms” forecast throughout Monday.

Otherwise, our final days of March will stay mostly on the warm side with afternoons in the mid 70s while overnight lows will keep dipping into the 40s.

Expect more of the same for at least a little while. April in Sacramento averages highs of 71 degrees and lows of 46.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Early spring is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Watch out for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases.

* Knock aphids off plants with a strong blast of water.

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

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. 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.

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

* Gradually expose tomato and pepper seedlings to outdoor conditions, starting with a few hours in morning sun. As soil warms, these "hardened off" transplants can go in the ground.

* From seed, plant beets, carrots, chard, chives, fennel, mustard, radishes, squash and turnips. Plant seed potatoes.

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

* Transplant petunias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Oct. 2

Plan to make the most of the mild weather in your garden.

* October is the best month to plant trees and shrubs.

* October also is the best time to plant perennials in our area. Add a little well-aged compost and bone meal to planting holes or beds, but hold off on other fertilizers until spring. Keep the transplants well-watered (but not wet) for the first month as they become settled.

* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, portulaca, sweet pea and stock.

* Plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Set out cool-weather bedding plants, including calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.

* Reseed and feed the lawn. Work on bare spots.

* Dig up corms and tubers of gladioluses, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.

* Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.

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