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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 14

Foggy conditions keep air and soil moist, but temperatures warm

Poppy seedling
California poppy seedlings already are making an appearance, but there's still
time to plant seeds for them and other wildflowers. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)



Mornings will feel damp this week, but no rain is in the forecast. Instead, fog has settled into the Sacramento Valley, keeping the conditions humid and the soil moist.

That fog also acts like a blanket, keeping overall temperatures higher. When the fog finally lifts, afternoon highs are expected to hover around 70 degrees, according to the National Weather Service, with overnight lows about 50. Normal for November in Sacramento: Highs of 64 and lows of 43 degrees.

This rosebud is OK so far with all
the moisture in the air now, but is
susceptible to fungal disease. Keep
an eye on roses and dahlias,
especially, as the dampness continues.

All that moisture can prompt outbreaks of fungal disease such as botrytis or gray mold. Instead of opening, flower buds turn to mush. This is particularly a problem on roses and dahlias. Snip those funky plops off the plant and discard to help prevent the fungi from infecting more flowers.

Meanwhile, concentrate on cleanup this week:

* 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.

* Use some of your good fall leaves as mulch around shrubs and trees.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant. Prune dead and broken branches first, then shape as desired.

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

* After they bloom, chrysanthemums should be trimmed to 6 to 8 inches above the ground. If in pots, keep the mums in their containers until next spring. Then they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.

* Now is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Keep planting bulbs to spread out your spring bloom. Some possible suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, anemones and scillas.

* Seed wildflowers such as California poppies.

* Plant sweet pea, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and other spring bloomers.

* Plant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale and other winter veggies.

* Plant garlic and onions.

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* 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.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* 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.

* 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.

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