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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of June 6

Make the most of mild weather, ideal for planting

Peach-colored coneflower blossom
Coneflowers come in more colors than the usual purple, and can give the summer garden some bright accents. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)



After a broiling start to June, we’re headed into an extra mild week – perfect for planting and other garden activities.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento will spend a warm weekend with highs in the low 90s. Then expect several days in the low 80s, perhaps even the 70s – a 20-degree drop from a week ago.

Breezy conditions will keep afternoons cool, but nights will stay comfortably in the 50s. Although the Sierra may see thunderstorms, no rain is expected in the Valley.

This weather makes for near-ideal conditions for several crops to grow fast. Keep an eye on the zucchini!

* It’s not too late to plant a summer vegetable garden. Transplant tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Choose fast-maturing varieties.

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

Basil plant with white flowers
Plant some basil for you, but also plant some for the bees,
which love the flowers.
* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Add instant color to the garden with petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* Transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Remember to weed; those plants are growing fast, too. Pull them before they go to seed.

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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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