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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 Oct. 2

Plan to make the most of the mild weather in your garden.

* October is the best month to plant trees and shrubs.

* October also is the best time to plant perennials in our area. Add a little well-aged compost and bone meal to planting holes or beds, but hold off on other fertilizers until spring. Keep the transplants well-watered (but not wet) for the first month as they become settled.

* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, portulaca, sweet pea and stock.

* Plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Set out cool-weather bedding plants, including calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.

* Reseed and feed the lawn. Work on bare spots.

* Dig up corms and tubers of gladioluses, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.

* Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.

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