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Dig In: Garden checklist for March 1


Berries, roses and annual flowers could use some fertilizer now. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)
Warmth prompts rapid spring growth



Will March finally give us some rain?

Typically, March delivers about 2.75 inches of precipitation. We could sure use it.

After the driest February on record in Sacramento, our gardens may be thirsty. Check soil moisture and start deep watering.

Following several days in the 70s (and some record-setting high temperatures), we’re expected to cool down to normal for this first week of March: days in the mid 60s and nights in the 40s.

Be ready for rapid changes. Highs can soar to the upper 80s and overnight lows may flirt with freezing. Our record low for March is 26 degrees. Sacramento’s traditional frost date (the last night to worry about sub-freezing cold) is March 20.

All this recent warmth has prompted an explosion of growth in the garden.

What tasks should top your list?

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

Got weeds? Sure, who doesn't? Get them out of there soon.
* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Start preparing 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.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, collards 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 do well when transplanted now.

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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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