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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Dec. 22

Rose pruning can begin now, but be sure to discard old canes and leaves to prevent the spread of fungal disease. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Winter starts soggy and very busy

Welcome to winter! Rainy weather and holiday celebrations will pretty much keep a lot of gardeners indoors this week.

On the other hand. a little vigorous exercise outside can be refreshing. Keep it simple and tackle chores that really need to be done:

* Pay attention to where rainwater collects. Make a note to address muddy spots (or turn them into rain gardens). Redirect water away from the house or other structures.
* Dump out water that collected in or under potted plants. Remove any saucers.
* Start pruning roses. Strip remaining foliage and reduce the bush by about half. Discard old canes and leaves to prevent spread of fungal disease.
* Rake, rake, rake. Remove leaves from hardscape (when wet, they make sidewalks slippery). Keep drains leaf-free.
* Use disease-free fallen leaves for compost or mulch.
* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location indoors. Water thoroughly, but make sure the plant has drainage: Poke holes in the foil wrapper. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.
* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.
* It's bare-root season, but don't plant in soggy soil. If you can't get the plant in the ground right away, refresh roots by soaking overnight in water.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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