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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 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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