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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Oct. 24

After wet start, expect pleasant fall weather for rest of week

Package of lettuce seeds and trowel on soil
After the rainstorms blow through, plant seeds for lettuce and other cool-weather
veggies in that nice soft, moist soil. (Give everything a day or two to drain, first.) This lettuce variety grows well in containers, too. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Rain — and lots of it — is on tap this weekend. Our first really big storm of the season is expected to drop at least 2 inches of rain Sunday with showers lingering through Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

After those downpours, conditions are expected to be pretty pleasant. The forecast starting Wednesday calls for highs in the high 60s and overnight lows staying above 50.

Make the most of that soft post-storm ground and get to work!

* 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.

* Dig up corms and tubers of gladioli, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.

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

* Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.

* Harvest pumpkins and winter squash.

* Divide and transplant perennials.

* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, portulaca, sweet pea and stock.

* Plant seeds for lettuce cabbage, broccoli, radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas.

* Plant garlic and onions.


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 5

Make the most of sunny days and get winter tasks done:

* This is the last chance to spray fruit trees before they bloom. Treat peach and nectarine trees with copper-based fungicide. Spray apricot trees at bud swell to prevent brown rot. Apply horticultural oil to control scale, mites and aphids on fruit trees soon after a rain. But remember: Oils need at least 24 hours to dry to be effective. Don’t spray during foggy weather or when rain is forecast.

* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer. Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.

* Finish pruning roses and deciduous trees.

* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.

* Transplant or direct-seed several flowers, including snapdragon, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.

* In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and strawberry and rhubarb roots.

* Transplant cabbage and its close cousins – broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts – as well as lettuce (both loose leaf and head).

* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions.

* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs). The onions will sprout quickly and can be used as green onions in March.

* From seed, plant beets, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes and turnips.

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