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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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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* 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.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

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

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

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

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

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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