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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 6

Record heat brings warnings; keep garden and yourself hydrated

Coneflower with wet leaves
Plants will appreciate a morning shower during this heat wave. Coneflowers especially will -- they have rough leaves that easily collect dust and, lately, ash from wildfires. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

The heat is back on this Labor Day weekend with the possibility of more records. Sacramento could see its hottest September day ever; 110 is forecast for Sunday. That's 20 degrees above normal for early September. The previous record for the month: 109.

For the Sacramento region, the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning through Tuesday night. Then, the Delta breeze is expected to start back up, giving us some relief.

In the meantime, drink extra water and avoid outdoor activities from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., advises the weather service. Help kids and elderly family or friends stay cool. And pets, too.

That also goes for your garden. Irrigate early. Give plants in containers extra water. Shade maturing tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and squash.

What else should you be doing in your garden this week?

* In these smoky conditions, foliage could use some water, too. Give your plants a morning shower. Rinse off dust, ash and grime.
* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. In this high heat, pick before your crops get overripe.
* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished blooming and producing.
* 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.
* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds. Make sure to keep them hydrated.
* After the heat wave ends, transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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