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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 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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