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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of July 11

Keep garden hydrated and cool as possible

Yellow sunflower
At least sunflowers don’t add to the high temperatures — they just add summer cheerfulness. (Photo:
Kathy Morrison)

How hot can it get? This weekend may show us.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento’s high temperatures will flirt with our all-time record of 114 degrees.

Excessive heat warnings are in effect until Monday night. The weather service recommends people and pets stay indoors after 10 a.m.

Unfortunately, your garden can’t come inside or turn on the air conditioning. It’s going to have to wait until the return of the Delta Breeze on Tuesday before it gets some temperature relief.

In the meantime, concentrate on keeping your garden – and yourself – as cool, hydrated and comfortable as possible:

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

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

* Check soil moisture and irrigate where needed. Container plants may need daily watering.

* Deep water trees and shrubs.

* 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 shrubs and perennials 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.



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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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