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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Dec. 8

Those are limes on the right, not lemons -- they're ripening and need to be picked soon. The satsuma mandarins on the left should be harvested, too. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

After soggy start, dry gardening days ahead

Despite the soggy start, this week looks like it will have prime winter gardening weather.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect several dry days after Sunday showers taper off. High temperatures will be comfortably in the 50s.

It's time to rake the lawn! (Photo:
Debbie Arrington)
It's time to get outside and take care of business. Tidy up the mess left by the weekend's wind and rain. Rake up fallen leaves. Pick up citrus knocked down by wind. Make sure gutters are clear of debris.

Then, take advantage of that nice moist soil. Plant something. December starts bare-root season with new roses and fruit trees coming into nurseries or available online. It's also a good time to move dormant perennials.

Here are other early December tasks to add to your list:

* Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers including calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies, primroses and snapdragons.

* Plant for spring, too, including sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli seedlings also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Harvest lemons and other early citrus.

* Pick the last of the persimmons, pomegranates, pears and apples.


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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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