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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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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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