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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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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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