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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of July 25

July ends in triple digits after slight cooldown Monday

Bright red flowers
Four o'clocks brighten the summer garden. Feeding flowering plants every other week extends their bloom. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

With or without the event, this is State Fair weather. According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento will see typical late July weather this week – some days over 100 degrees, others “just” in the 90s. In other words, it’s the kind of weather that what we usually experience during the State Fair, which was canceled this summer due to the pandemic.

After a triple-digit weekend, some cloud cover and light breeze will cool us off a little Monday and Tuesday, keeping high temperatures in the low 90s. Then it’s back to 102 on Wednesday and Thursday.

Concentrate on getting your garden chores done early, then try to stay cool.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to reduce the chance of fungal infection and to conserve moisture.

* After watering, fertilize vegetables and blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs to give them a boost. Feeding flowering plants every other week will extend their bloom.

* Feed vegetable plants bone meal or other fertilizers high in phosphate to stimulate more blooms and fruiting.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week.

* Keep an eye on zucchini. Harvest squash promptly.

* Remove spent flowers from roses and other shrubs as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Remove spent leaves and stems from daylilies.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, bush beans, winter squash and sunflowers.

* Indoors, start seedlings for fall vegetable planting, including bunching onion, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, radicchio and lettuce.





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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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