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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of June 27

Triple-digit heat is back again; take precautions


White flowers on basil plant
Pinch the flowers off basil to encourage it to grow more leaves. (Photo: Kathy
Morrison)



June ends with another dangerous heat wave. According to the National Weather Service, an Excessive Heat Warning is in effect from Saturday afternoon through 10 p.m. Wednesday. For parts of the Valley and foothills, temperatures could peak at 111 degrees.

Ouch! That’s more than 20 degrees above normal for late June in Sacramento.

The heat will be most intense in the foothills and valley north of Sacramento. Closer to the rivers and downtown, high temperatures will be more tolerable, climbing to “only” about 100.

Little overnight cool down will start each day warmer. Lows will stay in the mid 60s through next weekend.

During these extra-hot days, there’s a high chance of heat stress or illness for people and animals. Keep pets indoors or give them shade. Make share they have access to fresh water.

NWS’s advice for people: “Drink extra water. Avoid outdoor strenuous activities 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Plan to be in air conditioned buildings.”

That applies to gardening, too. Give vulnerable plants a drink in the morning. Take care of chores early in the day. Then, retreat indoors.

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

* Erect temporary shade for plants that are getting too much sun. Watch peppers, eggplant and tomatoes for sunburn.

* 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.

* Pick up fallen fruit. It attracts pests.

* 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.

* It's not too late to plant summer annuals such as petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Seeds may need daily watering to sprout.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Dec. 3:

Make the most of gaps between raindrops. This is a busy month!

* Windy conditions brought down a lot of leaves. Make sure to rake them away from storm drains.

* Use those leaves as mulch around frost-tender shrubs and new transplants.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Plant one last round of spring bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas. Get those tulips out of the refrigerator and into the ground.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers such as California poppies.

* Plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Late fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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