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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 21

Sunny days ahead as spring arrives early

Several yellow daffodils
Daffodils can't help but add some cheer to any
landscape. It feels like spring, even though the
season doesn't change for another month.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)






If you haven’t noticed, spring arrived early in Sacramento. Pear and peach trees already are nearing full bloom. Bright yellow daffodils seem scattered everywhere.

Spurred by warm temperatures, plants of all kinds are growing rapidly. And more warmth is on its way.

Our gardens certainly appreciated recent rain, but it was only a drop in our water-year bucket. Friday’s precipitation totaled less than 0.1 inch. According to the National Weather Service, that brings our February total to 0.85 inches – far below our February average of 3.5 inches. Overall, Sacramento has received 3.35 inches of rain in 2021 (2.7 inches below average) and 5.43 inches since Oct. 1, the start of our water year. That total is nearly 7 inches off where we should be by now.

Although it rained Friday, check soil moisture in your garden. Some plants may need more water (especially those in containers or under trees).

That may be it for our rain this month, too. The forecast for the week ahead is relentlessly sunny, with high temperatures flirting with 70 degrees and overnight lows in the 40s. In other words, it will continue to feel just like early spring.

Make the most of this beautiful weather with time outdoors well spent.

* Weed, weed, weed! Pull out unwanted invaders while they’re small.

* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer.

* Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.

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

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

* In the vegetable garden, transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale and lettuce.

* Plant artichokes, asparagus, horseradish and strawberries 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.

* Plant summer-flowering bulbs including cannas, calla lilies and gladiolus.

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

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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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