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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 3

Expect damp conditions to stick around



wet rose bush
It's January and it's wet out, but use the dry days in between showers to tidy up
the winter garden. It's time to prune those roses, too. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)




Chilly and often damp; that’s typical for January in Sacramento – and exactly how this new month and new year begins.

According to the National Weather Service, our 2021 starts out wet. Besides weekend showers, more (and heavier) rain is expected Monday, totaling up to a quarter inch. Showers also are in the forecast Wednesday and Friday.

Meanwhile, temperatures will stay on the cool side, cresting in the mid 50s each afternoon but staying above freezing overnight. And that’s normal for Sacramento; January averages highs of 54 degrees and lows of 39. Rain is normal for this month, too, with more than 3.6 inches falling, on average.

Make the most of soft ground and breaks in between storms to take care of some January chores:

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs and camellias.

* Now is the time to prune deciduous fruit trees, except apricots and cherries. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

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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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