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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Oct. 31

Dodging raindrops, make most of planting opportunities

Peachy-rust mums
Mums add color to patio pots or garden beds this time of year. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)



Keep your umbrella handy; that’s a phrase we haven’t used in a long time!

November is expected to get off to a somewhat soggy start. According to the National Weather Service, two fast-moving storms will visit the Sacramento area this week. Showers are likely Monday with a 65% chance predicted for raindrops by noon. More rain is expected early Thursday morning.

Neither storm is expected to produce much precipitation – about one-quarter inch total between them. But after two years of drought, every drop counts.

In between showers, expect daytime temperatures in the high 60s, but not much sun. Cloud cover will keep overnight lows in the 50s. That means conditions are ideal for planting – damp soil and warm nights.

* Mums can add instant color. Plant in pots for patio or entry display. They also make excellent cut flowers.

* Compost your Halloween pumpkin.

* 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.

* 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 and California natives.

* Plant such spring bloomers 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.

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

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.















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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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