Sacramento Digs Gardening logo
Sacramento Digs Gardening Article
Your resource for Sacramento-area gardening news, tips and events

Articles Recipe Index Keyword Index Calendar Twitter Facebook Instagram About Us Contact Us

Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Aug. 23

Prepare for more dry lightning storms (and smoke)

"When thunder roars, go indoors." That's the advice of the National Weather Service this weekend as another round of dry thunderstorms head our way.

Rose leaf with ash
Ash from the wildfires accumulates on a rose leaf. Give plants a rinse in the
morning to get rid of the smoky residue. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

From Sunday through Tuesday, dangerous weather systems will be blowing across Northern California. The NWS says expect "frequent cloud-to-ground lightning, little to no rain, gusty and erratic winds." Extremely high fire danger is also forecast.

Plus it will be hot with afternoon temperatures still in the high 90s.

A similar storm system brought disastrous consequences last weekend as more than 12,000 lightning strikes touched off about 550 fires, according to CalFire. Smoke from ongoing wildfires, including two of the biggest in California history, still chokes the air throughout the Central Valley.

Concentrate gardening time in the early morning, when temperatures are cooler:

* Water deeply. Give shrubs and trees a deep soaking. Container plants may need daily watering.
* Got ash? Give your plants a gentle morning shower, rinsing off the accumulated grime from leaves.
* To remove the gritty ash from your harvest, gently scrub fruit and vegetables with a vegetable brush and a little dish soap. Fully submerge leafy greens in water with a teaspoon of dish soap, then rinse.
* Don't fertilize. Under these weather conditions, feeding can add to stress to plants instead of promoting growth.
* Tomatoes won't turn fully red during high temperatures. Pick mature tomatoes and let them ripen (and redden) on the kitchen counter.
* Watch out for sunburn. Shade tomatoes, peppers and eggplant still on the vine.
* Pick up and discard fallen fruit and decaying vegetables to avoid pest problems.
* Get to work on your cool-season garden. Plant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and other winter favorites indoors. Transplant seedling outdoors in September.


0 comments have been posted.

Newsletter Subscription

Sacramento Digs Gardening to your inbox.

Taste Summer! E-cookbook


Find our summer recipes here!

Local News

Ad for California Local

Taste Spring! E-cookbook


Find our spring recipes here!

Thanks to our sponsor!

Summer Strong ad for

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.

Taste Fall! E-cookbook

Muffins and pumpkin

Find our fall recipes here!

Taste Winter! E-cookbook

Lemon coconut pancakes

Find our winter recipes here!