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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 Feb. 5

Make the most of sunny days and get winter tasks done:

* This is the last chance to spray fruit trees before they bloom. Treat peach and nectarine trees with copper-based fungicide. Spray apricot trees at bud swell to prevent brown rot. Apply horticultural oil to control scale, mites and aphids on fruit trees soon after a rain. But remember: Oils need at least 24 hours to dry to be effective. Don’t spray during foggy weather or when rain is forecast.

* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer. Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.

* Finish pruning roses and deciduous trees.

* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.

* Transplant or direct-seed several flowers, including snapdragon, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.

* In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and strawberry and rhubarb roots.

* Transplant cabbage and its close cousins – broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts – as well as lettuce (both loose leaf and head).

* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions.

* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs). The onions will sprout quickly and can be used as green onions in March.

* From seed, plant beets, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes and turnips.

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