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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 7

Damp soil makes for easier planting

Camellia leaves and buds
Camellias and azaleas can be fertilized now.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)


November started out cool and damp – and will stay that way at least another week.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect more showers Tuesday with up to another half inch of rain on the way. The rest of the week, cloud cover will keep daytime temperatures in the low to mid 60s. That same blanket of clouds will keep overnight lows relatively warm in the 50s.

After so much drought, it can be hard to remember: Is this normal? Average highs and lows for November are 64 and 43 degrees, respectively, says the weather service. November usually is one of Sacramento’s rainiest months, averaging more than 2 inches of precipitation.

Make the most of that damp soil and warm nights: Plant something!

* Now is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs in the Sacramento area. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains. (And they love that warm soil.)

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

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

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers such as California poppies.

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

* 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.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Fertilize camellias and azaleas.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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