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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of July 12



Spent rose blossoms
Are you feeling as fried as these roses? We are, too. And these need to be deadheaded.
(Photos: Kathy Morrison)

Normal nights help gardens cope with heat



Hot days, comfortable nights; that's our weather pattern for mid-July.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento will continue to hit triple digits at least through Tuesday before settling back down into the low to mid 90s.

Fortunately, our overnight temperatures will keep dipping down to about 62 degrees -- normal for July. So, while days may reach 10 degrees above our mid-July average high of 92, those normal nights will refresh plants -- and us.

Those cooler nights also help keep soil and roots comfortable, too.

Until cooler days, concentrate on that comfort factor:

Droopy plant
That's one droopy cosmos. Plants protect themselves in heat by
drooping, but keep them well-watered and they'll snap
back overnight.


* Keep plants hydrated but not soggy. Too much water can harm plants, too; check your moisture levels.
* Water early, preferably before 8 a.m., to cut down on moisture loss.
* Deep water trees, shrubs and perennials. Let the moisture soak in.
* Refresh your mulch. Cover bare spots. Don't let it pile up around trunks or main stems.
* Pick up fallen fruit; it attracts pests and problems.
* 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.
* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.
* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.
* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure seeds stay evenly moist.

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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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