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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of June 16

Will you have ripe tomatoes by the Fourth of July? Remember to keep soil evenly moist while tomatoes are developing.
(Photos: Kathy Morrison)
Keep an eye on tomatoes as they ripen in hot weather

Make the most of comparatively mild temperatures this weekend as we continue to ride a weather rollercoaster.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento will see high temperatures on Saturday near 85 degrees – normal for mid-June – with overnight lows dipping down to the mid-50s.

By Sunday, the mercury starts zipping up again. Tuesday afternoon, we’ll be back to triple digits (or pretty close).

The forecast then calls for cooling into the low 90s by next weekend.

Thankfully, morning temperatures will be in the 60s and 70s throughout this stretch. Get out early and get things done!

You should see plenty of green tomatoes now.
* Expecting ripe tomatoes by the Fourth of July? Watch your tomatoes closely during these dramatic ups and downs in temperature. Windy conditions can dry out plants, too.

* Prevent problems such as blossom-end rot through steady irrigation. Keep your garden evenly moist (not soggy) through hot spells.

* Water early in the day to make the most of that moisture. Morning irrigation allows for more water to soak in, not evaporate. It also cuts down on fungal disease.

* Speaking of fungal disease, high heat will make several different fungal diseases disappear. That includes powdery mildew on roses. Remove infected leaves (including any that make have accumulated under bushes) and water deeply. The bush should grow out new healthy leaves.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants on cooler mornings; always water deeply before fertilizing.

*Mulch to conserve moisture and reduce heat stress.

* Cut back Shasta daisies after flowering to encourage a second bloom in the fall.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

* Harvest fruit before the birds and critters get it. Pick up fallen fruit; it attracts pests.

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

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* 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.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, 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.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* 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.

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

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