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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 28

Sunny, dry days continue with little rain in sight

Six packs of red cabbage seedlings
There's still time to plant a crop of cabbage, but get on it soon. Kale
and other cole seedlings also can be planted now. Lettuce, too. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Our streak of sunny, dry weather continues. That’s bad news for our rain totals, but most Sacramento gardeners aren’t complaining.

According to the National Weather Service, February totaled less than an inch (0.9 to be exact) of precipitation in Sacramento – 2.34 inches below normal. That near-inch was a deluge compared to February 2020, which saw no rain in Sacramento at all.

Starting Oct. 1, our rain year has totaled 5.48 inches; that’s 7.68 inches below average for those first five months. It’s also dryer than last year’s drought-like pace, which saw a total of 6.14 inches at this point.

The first week of March looks sunny and dry, too, says the weather service. The first chance of precipitation may come next weekend.

Highs are forecast for the upper 60s, pushing into the 70s Wednesday or Thursday. But don’t plant those tomatoes yet; overnight lows still will be cold, dipping down to 40 degrees.

Average for Sacramento in March: 65-degree highs and 44-degree lows. We also typically see about 2.75 inches of rain in March, although drought watchers hope for a lot more.

Take advantage of this spring-like weather by enjoying some quality time in your garden:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Start preparing vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Seed and renovate the lawn. Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and cole family plants, such as cabbage, broccoli, collards and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* This is your last chance to plant such spring annuals as pansies, violas and primroses.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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