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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 24


Camellias are forming buds and likely could used a dose of chelated iron. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

Weather about to change for the wetter


Some rain may finally be on the way.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect at least some showers late Tuesday and Wednesday, with perhaps a soggy Thanksgiving, too.

That moisture is something to be thankful for; it will mark Sacramento’s first measurable precipitation of this current rain season. Our normal rain total for November averages about 2 inches.

Sacramento has received only .12 inches since May; all of that came during two days in September. Such dry conditions hinted at possible drought conditions to come. (We’ll worry about that later.)

Use these dry days to get ready for rain. Rake leaves away from storm drains. Make sure gutters are clear.

Then, tackle these other November gardening suggestions:

* It’s not too late to plant shrubs, trees and several perennials. Deep-water these transplants before the rain comes.

* Save dry stalks and seedpods from poppies and coneflowers for fall bouquets and holiday decorating.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

Trim chrysanthemums after they're done blooming.
* After they bloom, chrysanthemums should be trimmed to 6 to 8 inches above the ground. If in pots, keep the mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Plant daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, anemones and scillas and other spring bulbs. Don’t forget the ones chilling in the refrigerator.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Plant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, peas, garlic, onions and other winter favorites.

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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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