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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of July 5

Yellow zucchini plant
Keep an eye on zucchini; it grows rapidly in hot weather. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

Make most of cool mornings; keep garden hydrated

Happy Independence Day weekend! Celebrate with some garden time.

Plan on getting chores done early. According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento will see a steady string of warm dry days with temperatures topping out in the mid to high 90s.

Fortunately, overnight lows cool down to below 60, setting up pleasant conditions each morning. We shouldn't see 80 degrees until after 11 a.m. each day.

Those conditions are slightly above normal for July in Sacramento; this month averages highs of 92 and lows of 59. Don't expect any rain until August -- or most likely later. July averages 0.00 inches of precipitation.

This week, make the most of those mornings:

Cat in vegetable bed
Elsie the tabby cat provides a little extra mulch -- temporarily
-- to a bed of newly seeded winter squash.
* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to reduce the chance of fungal infection and to conserve moisture.

* Water, then fertilize vegetables and blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs to give them a boost. Feeding flowering plants every other week will extend their bloom.

* 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.

* 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.

* Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* From seed, plant bush beans, corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers.


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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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