Sunny, cool days make for good fall gardening weather
|A persimmon tree shows off its fall colors. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)|
Sunny days and clear nights; that’s the Thanksgiving week forecast for Sacramento. After so many foggy days, expect several bright, crisp mornings and near-perfect fall afternoons – all great for gardening or other outdoor activities.
According to the National Weather Service, afternoon highs will be right about normal – in the low 60s. Without cloud cover, overnight lows will feel downright chilly, dipping down to 40 degrees on several nights.
This change in temperature will have an effect on our landscapes. Any deciduous trees that were holding onto their foliage will start dropping leaves in droves. Cold-sensitive plants such as begonias or tomatoes will shut down and die back.
Get ready for the holidays ahead with some seasonal TLC:
* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material.
* To help prevent leaf curl, apply a copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees after they lose their leaves this month. 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 to work, they need several days of clear, dry weather – like this week.
* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.
|Trim chrysanthemums back after they're finished blooming.|
* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.
* Plant spring bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, anemones and scillas.
* Seed California wildflowers such as poppies, penstemon and lupine.
* Plant sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.
* Trees and shrubs still can be planted now. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.
* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.
* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.
* Plant garlic and onions.
* Harvest persimmons and pomegranates.
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For week of Sept. 24:
This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?
* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.
* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.
* 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.
* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.
* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.
* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.
* 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. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.
* 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.
* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.
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