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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 1

Warm conditions, excellent gardening weather continue

Garlic and shallots
There's still time to plant garlic and shallots, as well as onions, but don't wait much longer. Garlic bulbs
should be separated into cloves, but shallots are planted as bulbs. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

November starts like October ended -- warm and sunny.

Expect more of the same, at least through Thursday. According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento will see several more dry days in the low 80s.

But nights are beginning to chill, dipping down into the 40s. That overnight cold will slow growth and development on those last tomatoes, peppers and squash. Maybe it's finally time to pull out those summer remainders -- even though it still feels like June.

Historically in Sacramento, most of November is much cooler, averaging highs of 64 degrees and lows of 43. But it's been a warm year; November may continue that trend. Our record high for November: 87 degrees.

On average, November usually sees some significant rain: 2.08 inches. That's good; October was completely dry.

Make good use of this perfect gardening weather:

* Make an addition to your landscape. Most trees and shrubs can be planted this month. November transplanting gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.
* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.
* Pull faded annuals and vegetables.
* Prune dead or broken branches from trees.
* Plant bulbs to spread out your spring bloom, including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, anemones and scillas.
* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers.
Plant snapdragons now for spring blooms.

* Plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.
* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.
* Plant seedlings of lettuce, cabbage and broccoli and other winter veggies.
* From seed, plant peas, fava beans, carrots, radishes and beets.
* Plant garlic and onions.


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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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