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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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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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