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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of April 25

Soggy Sunday followed by plenty of tomato-planting weather

Orange blossoms and bee
Orange blossoms are a good reminder to fertilize citrus trees now to help set fruit. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)



After record heat a week ago, April wraps up with a rapid cooldown – and a splash.

The high temperatures this weekend will be about 30 degrees lower than last Sunday, when Sacramento saw a record high of 91. Instead, this Sunday will be soggy – our first measurable rain since early March.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect about a quarter-inch of rain Sunday – and that’s it for April. On average, Sacramento receives about 1.2 inches for this month.

Highs will be under 60 degrees Sunday, before quickly bouncing back into the 80s by Wednesday. We may see 90 degrees again Friday.

Meanwhile, overnight and soil temperatures have warmed enough to plant summer vegetables, just in time for Sacramento’s unofficial Tomato Planting Day – April 28.

* This week is your last chance to plant most summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* April also is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* Transplant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and summer squash.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, carrots, corn, cucumbers, all melons, radishes and squash. Plant onion sets. Pumpkins can be planted starting this next weekend.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers.

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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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