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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Dec. 6

Enjoy these spring-like days while tackling December tasks

Cilantro is a winter crop in our climate. (Yes, gotta clear away
all those leaves.) (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

These late-fall days feel like spring. For the coming week, afternoon highs will continue to peak in the mid to high 60s, about 10 degrees above normal for December in Sacramento.

According to the National Weather Service, this sunny, dry and mostly clear weather will continue through at least Friday. Expect windy conditions Sunday through Tuesday; that brings heightened fire danger. Don't burn anything outdoors.

Overnight lows will continue to dip into the 30s but not quite reach freezing. Still, have the frost blankets handy.

Such beautiful weather makes time spent outdoors especially appealing (particularly when trying to shelter in place). Need some ideas?

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.
* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.
* Rake leaves from trees and use as mulch or compost.
* It's not too late to transplant shrubs and trees.
* Divide and transplant perennials such as daylilies and Shasta daisies.
* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.
* Transplant seedlings for bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard and spinach.
* From seed, plant fava beans, chard, leaf lettuce, mustard, radishes and spinach.
* Plant garlic and onion sets.
* Add some winter and early spring color. Plant pansies, snapdragons, stocks, Icelandic poppies, calendulas and other favorites.
* Plant one more round of spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and hyacinths.
* Transplant herbs including most of the mint family (such as catmint and oregano), cilantro, rosemary, fennel and scented geraniums.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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