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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 Nov. 27

Before the rain comes later in the week, take advantage of sunny, calm days:

* This may be your last chance this season for the first application of copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective now, but they need a few days of dry weather after application to really “stick.” If you haven’t yet, spray now.

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

* Make sure storm drains are clear of any debris.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim chrysanthemums to 6 to 8 inches above the ground after they’re done blooming. Keep potted mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Plant bulbs for spring bloom. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Other suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas.

* Seed wildflowers including California poppies.

* Also from seed, plant sweet pea, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and other spring flowers.

* Plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from winter rains.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cool-season greens can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* If you decide to use a living Christmas tree this year, keep it outside in a sunny location until Christmas week. This reduces stress on the young tree.

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