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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 5

Expect 'normal' temperatures after hot Labor Day

Honey bee on a orange cosmos blossom
A honey bee harvests pollen from a Diablo cosmos blossom, not far from the tomato bed. Keep harvesting summer veggies to keep the plants producing. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)


Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer with another hot streak.

According to the National Weather Service, expect a string of hot days, topping out around 102 degrees on Monday. Some parts of the Valley will top 105.

It’s a good weekend to take it easy and stay hydrated. That includes your garden, too. Water deeply and limit chores to early morning when temperatures will be coolest.

Starting Tuesday, we’ll see temperatures slide back into the mid and low 90s. Friday’s predicted high is only 89 degrees.

What’s normal for September in Sacramento? For this week, 91 degrees (high) and 61 (low); for the month, 87 and 56, respectively. The all-time record is 108 degrees.

Chance of rain remains slight: Our average total for September is just 0.29 inches.

* September starts another season in the vegetable garden. Plan to plant for fall in the weeks ahead. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant.

* 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.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

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

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, lettuce and other cool-season veggies.

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

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

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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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