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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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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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