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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Aug. 18

If your melons are close to ripening, be sure not to overwater them. In fact, you can cut back the water a bit.
This prevents mushy flesh and splitting. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Following toasty temperatures, show your garden some TLC

After that mid-week spike into triple digits, this weekend’s cooldown will feel particularly refreshing, for both people and plants.

Those high temperatures toasted blooms and hastened some annuals to an early demise. Perennials and bulbs died back quickly.

Take advantage of this cooler weather to show your garden some TLC.

Deadhead roses and trim off other spent flowers such as daisies and asters. Cut back daylily stems as well as other lilies as they brown.

Have your bearded irises stopped blooming or had fewer flowers this past spring? It’s time to divide and rejuvenate their beds. Irises need dividing every three or four years; August is ideal for this task. Dig in a little compost before replanting the rhizomes.

For irises staying in place, trim back their browned leaves to prepare for new growth.

Also in mid-August:

* Feed citrus trees their last round of fertilizer for the year. This will give a boost to the fruit that's now forming.

* Harvest tomatoes, beans, squash, pepper and eggplant.

* Keep an eye on melons; they can ripen rapidly in this weather. Too much water can cause them to split.

* Fertilize fall-blooming perennials. Chrysanthemums can be fed until the buds start to open.

* Indoors, start seedlings for fall vegetable planting, including bunching onion, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, radicchio and lettuce.

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

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

* Remember to water; morning or evening is best. Check the soil before pulling out the hose.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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