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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 7

Sunny weather is great for planting

Peach buds on a branch
These peach buds are at the perfect stage for spraying with a copper-based fungicide to prevent peach
leaf curl. The Sacramento area should have dry weather for gardening for at least a few more days. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

Enjoy the sun! While much of the nation is shivering (and covered with snow), Sacramento will bask in spring-like weather. High temperatures will flirt with the 70s this weekend before returning to "normal," according to the National Weather Service. That means afternoon highs in the low 60s and overnight lows about 40 degrees, depending on cloud cover.

No frost is in sight. A chance of showers is in the forecast, but not until late Thursday or Friday. Next weekend also is expected to be dry.

What's normal for late winter in Sacramento? Historically, our February highs average 60 degrees with lows of 42. The biggest difference right now? Rain. Sacramento averages nearly 3.6 inches for February; so far this month, we've totaled 0.28.

Precipitation will have to pick up dramatically to reach "normal" levels. Since Oct. 1 (the start of our water year), Sacramento has received just 4.8 inches of rain -- almost 6 inches below average.

This sunny weather is prompting plants to break buds and grow rapidly. So, get busy!

* 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. 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.

If you already have strawberries in the ground, it's a good
time to feed them. It's also a good time to put in new plants.
* 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.

* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and lettuce (both loose leaf and head).

* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs).

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

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

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


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* 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.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* 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. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* 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.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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