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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 15



Persimmons are ripening -- be sure to pick up any that fall off the tree. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

Rain possible on Monday, then great weather to close out summer



Change is in the air – and it’s not just smoke.

According to the National Weather Service, the greater Sacramento area has a 40 percent chance of rain Monday. This could be the first real precipitation in weeks, but not that unusual. September averages .29 inches of rain.

But after this storm system blows through, the sun will return. Fortunately, high temperatures most of this coming week will be in the low 80s.

Make the most of this prime almost-fall weather by getting your garden ready for the months ahead.

* Do your tomato plants have new flowers? Leave them in place for a little longer. If the fruit sets, those tomatoes will be ripe for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

* Peppers and eggplant with new blooms may set late-season fruit, too.

*Keep an eye on squash, melons and pumpkins. Summer varieties are still blooming and fruiting.

* Cut back on water as melons ripen.

* 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.

* Pick up fallen apples, pears and persimmons; they attract pests as they rot.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* 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.

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

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

* Transplant pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

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

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Garden Checklist for week of July 14

Your garden needs you!

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to reduce the chance of fungal infection and to conserve moisture.

* Feed vegetable plants bone meal, rock phosphate or other fertilizers high in phosphate to stimulate more blooms and fruiting. (But wait until daily high temperatures drop out of the 100s.)

* 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.

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

* 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.

* It's not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers.

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