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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 28

Near-perfect gardening weather as dry streak continues

Pea shoot
November mostly has been dry. Don't forget to water newly sprouted or transplanted cool-season vegetables such as peas, above. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Clear and crisp: Expect almost perfect weather for these final days of November and early December. As beautiful as it sounds for outdoor activities, that forecast also is foreboding – there’s still no rain in sight.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento is stuck in a dry, relatively warm pattern for at least another week with highs in the mid 60s and overnight lows in the 40s. Our average high for early December is 54 degrees.

What that means for gardeners: There’s still time to plant. Make the most of this sunny window to take care of pre-winter chores. Don’t forget to water – the soil most likely has dried out since our last rains.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Plant more spring bulbs. Don’t forget tulips chilling in the refrigerator!

* Bare-root season begins now. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 27

Before the rain comes later in the week, take advantage of sunny, calm days:

* This may be your last chance this season for the first application of copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective now, but they need a few days of dry weather after application to really “stick.” If you haven’t yet, spray now.

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

* Make sure storm drains are clear of any debris.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim chrysanthemums to 6 to 8 inches above the ground after they’re done blooming. Keep potted mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Plant bulbs for spring bloom. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Other suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas.

* Seed wildflowers including California poppies.

* Also from seed, plant sweet pea, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and other spring flowers.

* Plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from winter rains.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cool-season greens can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* If you decide to use a living Christmas tree this year, keep it outside in a sunny location until Christmas week. This reduces stress on the young tree.

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