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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 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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