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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 27

Late September ideal for transplanting (but remember to water)

Violas
The weather's perfect for planting cool-weather annuals including pansies and violas. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

The heat is back and so is high fire danger.

In addition to temperatures pushing 100 degrees, strong winds (15 to 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph) and low humidity (10 to 20%) are forecast for the next two days. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning Saturday night through Monday evening, Sept. 28.

What that means: Watch out for wildfire. A spark from a lawnmower or other equipment can ignite dried grass or leaves. Take extra precaution while outdoors.

Hot, dry weather with temperatures about 10 degrees above average is expected to continue throughout the week, according to Sacramento’s weather forecast. But mornings will be pleasantly in the 60s and 70s – and busy.

The warm weather is keeping soil warm, too; great for planting! Just remember to keep garden additions well watered.

Traditionally, late September and October are ideal for planting in Sacramento. That includes transplanting shrubs, trees or perennials or starting a cool weather vegetable garden.

Need some specifics?

* In the vegetable garden, plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into that warm soil.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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