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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of April 18

Toasty conditions to start warm (and dry) week


Small tomato plant in ground with red cage
That little tomato seedling will get a good boost from the warm weather the
next few days. But if your plants aren't in the ground yet, hold off until the temps drop back down -- the seedlings will be less stressed when they do go in. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)





Our spring weather will quickly feel like summer this weekend as a mild heat wave spikes temperatures.

According to the National Weather Service, several Central Valley locations will see their first 90-degree days of 2021 on Sunday and Monday. Fortunately, afternoon highs will cool down just as quickly. We’ll be comfortably back in the low 80s by Tuesday.

This warmth will stick around after dark, with overnight lows staying above 50. That’s warming the soil, too; good news for tomato gardeners!

Newly transplanted seedlings will be comfortable enough to get off to a good start. But wait until after Monday to put new plants in the ground. They’ll have less stress if they don’t have to endure 90-degree temperatures their first days in their new homes.

Remember to keep transplants and newly planted seeds watered. There’s still no rain in sight.

Also on this week’s to-do list:

* Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

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

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

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

* Set out tomato, pepper and eggplant transplants.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, carrots, corn, cucumbers, all melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* 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 for summer bloom.

* Late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.


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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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