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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 15

Wet weather expected to continue; make most of damp soil

red Japanese maple leaves
All those beautiful leaves will be on the ground soon. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)



Keep your umbrella handy! After showers this weekend, rain likely will be back soon.

According to the National Weather Service , Sacramento can expect a quarter inch of rain on Tuesday, followed by another quarter inch on Thursday, with possible showers and drizzle in between.

The cloud cover that goes with this storm system will keep temperatures cool, but not freezing. Highs this week are expected to reach only the low 60s, but overnight lows will hover around 50 degrees – still relatively warm for November.

The good news: This moisture will soften the ground – great for planting!

* Turn off the sprinklers during this rainy week.

* Check soil moisture to make sure that precipitation is actually soaking in. Provide extra irrigation as needed.

* Rake and compost leaves. Don't let leaves pile up in the gutter and block drainage.

* Save dry stalks and seedpods from poppies and coneflowers for fall bouquets and holiday decorating.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Keep planting bulbs to spread out your spring bloom.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Now is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, chard, kale and other winter greens also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

Chard and other cool-season favorites can be planted now.



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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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