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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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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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