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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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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Oct. 1:

Make the most of this cooler weather. Get to work on your fall garden:

* October is the best month to plant trees, shrubs and perennials. Plants become established – sending down deep, strong roots – faster in warm soil.

* Divide and replant perennials. Add a little well-aged compost and bone meal to the planting hole, but hold off on other fertilizers until spring. Keep the transplants well-watered (but not wet) for the first month as they become settled.

* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, portulaca, sweet pea and stock.

* Plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Set out cool-weather bedding plants, including calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.

* Reseed and feed the lawn. Work on bare spots.

* Dig up corms and tubers of gladioli, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.

* Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.

* Clean up the summer vegetable garden and compost disease-free foliage.

* Harvest pumpkins and winter squash.

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