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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Dec. 27

Enjoy sunny breaks in between showers and fog

Dormant peach tree
This little peach tree has dropped all its leaves. It's the ideal time to spray the tree to prevent peach leaf curl, plus prune it if needed. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)




Fog, showers and occasional sun; weather-wise, the final days of 2020 will be a mixed bag for Sacramento.

After a healthy soaking on Christmas night, more rain is in the forecast for Sunday night, Monday and Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. In between, expect mostly patchy ground fog and cloudy skies. The sun will break through Tuesday and Friday, New Year's Day.

Temperature wise, afternoons will mostly be in the low to mid 50s with overnight lows in the 30s (but not quite freezing).

Make the most of those sunny afternoons. There's plenty to do in the winter garden:

* 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 Japonica
camellias .
* It's also the time to prune most fruit trees. (The exceptions are citrus and apricots.) 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.
* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees soon after a rain to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.
* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl.
* 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 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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