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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 April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash. Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias. Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom. April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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