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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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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 27

Before the rain comes later in the week, take advantage of sunny, calm days:

* This may be your last chance this season for the first application of copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective now, but they need a few days of dry weather after application to really “stick.” If you haven’t yet, spray now.

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

* Make sure storm drains are clear of any debris.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim chrysanthemums to 6 to 8 inches above the ground after they’re done blooming. Keep potted mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Plant bulbs for spring bloom. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Other suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas.

* Seed wildflowers including California poppies.

* Also from seed, plant sweet pea, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and other spring flowers.

* Plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from winter rains.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cool-season greens can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* If you decide to use a living Christmas tree this year, keep it outside in a sunny location until Christmas week. This reduces stress on the young tree.

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