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Give your garden some post-storm TLC

Check around the garden for containers -- empty or otherwise -- that might have accumulated excess rain. Tip it out or dump it into plants under the eaves. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

How did your landscape cope with so much rain?

We may not have had a March miracle, but so far April showers have us soaked.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento received about 2.2 inches in two days – more rain than the whole month of March. That’s also more than Sacramento historically averages for April, May and June combined.

How did your garden hold up during the weekend storm? It’s time for a post-rain check-up:

* Postpone planting or any other digging this week until soil has a chance to dry out a little. Working wet ground can cause compaction and root problems.

* This storm probably gave you a good idea about where the low spots are in your landscape. Mark them with a stick, so you’ll remember where they are when the landscape dries out. Avoid planting anything in that wet spot that demands good drainage.

* Consider such soggy spots for a rain garden, where water can naturally percolate into the ground to irrigate the landscape.

* Make sure storm drains, gutters and down spouts are clear of debris. These storms brought down a lot of tree litter from evergreens.

* Tip excess water out of containers. Make sure potted plants aren’t waterlogged.

* Eliminate any standing water that may have accumulated in wheelbarrows, saucers, etc.

* Not everything got watered by the rain. Check plants under eaves and overhangs; they may need a drink.

* Turn off the sprinklers. This storm saturated the soil. You can delay further irrigation for at least a week and save water – on average 800 gallons.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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