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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 24

Seed catalogs
With so much wet weather ahead, we’ll have plenty of time to read the seed catalogs that have been piling up. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Wet and chilly days follow record heat

After a record hot (and dry) streak, keep your umbrella and rain gear handy.

According to the National Weather Service, Friday’s rain started a series of damp days with possible precipitation in the forecast for the next week – and maybe more. Temperatures drop drastically, too, with daytime highs 20 degrees lower than last week and overnight lows dipping close to freezing.

In other words, Sacramento is finally getting some normal January weather.

This follows some of the hottest days in Sacramento’s January history including a record-tying 74 degrees. Nearby Stockton hit 78.

That heat prompted many plants to break dormancy and push out new growth. Some of that tender new foliage may need frost protection.

A winter storm warning with high winds and rain is in effect
from 3 p.m. Sunday to Monday morning .

Be ready for frost: The over night low for Sacramento is expected to be only 30 degrees Monday night . Then, another, stronger storm is expected to hit early Wednesday.

Plan your gardening week accordingly, paying attention to what’s on your priority list:

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs. If your ground seems saturated, consider planting your garden additions in large black plastic pots. The black plastic will warm up faster than the ground soil and give roots a healthy start. Then, transplant the new addition (rootball and all) into the ground in April as the weather warms.

* Prune, prune, prune – particularly roses and deciduous shrubs. They’re already starting to grow.

* Sunday (Jan. 24) is the final day of the City of Sacramento’s leaf season with in-street pick-up. Say goodbye to The Claw for another year.

* Just because it rained, not everything got watered. Check plants in sheltered areas such as on the patio or under eaves.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs.

* Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Browse through seed catalogs and start making plans for spring and summer.


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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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