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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of March 8



This navel orange tree got a nice shower from the rain today. The buds will be bursting open soon, so it's a good time to fertilize. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Rain finally returns to Sacramento; prepare for busy season ahead



The rain finally came! After six solid weeks of dry weather, measurable precipitation arrived Saturday. It’s nowhere near a March miracle, but it was some welcome moisture.

Check your soil to see how far the rain penetrated. Chances are you still may need to irrigate. The rain also may have missed pots and garden strips under eaves; water them, too.

Early March is prepping time. Get your garden ready for the busy spring to come.

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

* 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 help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit. To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

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

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and cole family plants, such as cabbage, broccoli, collards and kale.

* Seed chard, beets and radishes directly into the ground.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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