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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 26

Cooling trend makes for perfect planting time

Mums of yellow, white, dark red
It's the season for mums! They're an easy way to add fall color to your garden. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Say hello to the 80s! After a last blast of heat on Saturday, Sacramento is expected to see 80s (or lower) the rest of the week.

According to the National Weather Service, our first full week of fall will see a distinct cooling trend, starting Sunday and lasting at least a week. The forecast high for Tuesday is only 76 degrees – 20 degrees cooler than Friday. That’s followed by several days in the low 80s with relatively warm overnight lows in the 50s.

There’s even a slight chance of rain Monday night. If no measurable precipitation is recorded by midnight Wednesday, Downtown Sacramento will break its record for longest rainless spell of 194 days, set back in 1880.

Meanwhile, this weather reminds us: Fall is for planting. Make the most of this opportunity.

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

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

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

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons. Freshen up containers with some new chrysanthemums.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots. Consider low-mow or no-mow turf.

* 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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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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