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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of March 3

Cold storms remind us: It’s still winter (but we have camellias)

These exquisite camellia blossoms are entries in the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show. The show is open to the public 3 to 6 p.m. today (Saturday) and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Scottish Rite Temple in East Sacramento.

These exquisite camellia blossoms are entries in the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show. The show is open to the public 3 to 6 p.m. today (Saturday) and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Scottish Rite Temple in East Sacramento. Debbie Arrington

Following a record warm weekend to end February, March’s first weekend feels downright chilly – and wet.

Get used to it; it’s still winter in Sacramento, for at least a little longer.

On Feb. 24, Sacramento reached 70 degrees; this weekend is expected to be about 20 degrees colder – and more than 10 below average. In addition, a chance of rain is in the forecast for every day through Friday.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect several days in the 50s or low 60s with overnight lows hovering around 40 degrees. Average temperatures for this week: High of 65 and low of 44.

Making those temperatures feel colder will be plenty of wind. The weather service issued a high wind advisory for Sacramento and the Valley for Saturday (March 2) with gusts up to 45 mph.

Coupled with soft, wet ground, those wind gusts could topple trees or bring down branches. Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots.

What to do on this rainy March weekend? Celebrate Sacramento’s favorite flower at the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show. With hundreds of camellias on display, the show is open free to the public 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at a new location – the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use 2 tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to 1 quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash. Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias. Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom. April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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