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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 Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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