Near-perfect gardening weather as dry streak continues
|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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For week of March 19:
Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:
* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.
* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.
* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.
* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.
* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.
* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.
* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.
* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.
* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.
* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.
* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.
* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.
* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.
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