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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 10


Last of the big red tomatoes -- for this year, anyway. Colder nights won't allow the remaining green ones to ripen. This is a 12-ounce Better Boy, with a small green companion. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)

Make the most of warm, dry weather


No Arctic blast here! Our beautiful November weather continues with dry and sunny days in the 70s and overnight lows dipping into the low 40s.

Those chilly nights will keep tomatoes from ripening on the vine. It’s time to pull the last of the vines (if you haven’t already) and bring in the remaining greenies to redden up indoors.

In my own garden, I harvested my last full-size slicing tomato Saturday: A 12-ounce Better Boy. Although there were still green tomatoes on the plant, they wouldn’t get enough heat to mature.

These sunny days are too good to waste. Make the most of them with some much-needed yard work:

* Remember to water. Sacramento had no precipitation in October (a rarity for that month) and so far, November is just as dry. Check your soil moisture.

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

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

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

* Add compost to your garden beds to revitalize them.

* Keep planting bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, anemones and scillas.

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

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

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

* Plant garlic and onions.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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