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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of April 7

After rain on warm April days, check rose foliage for fungal disease.
(Photos: Debbie Arrington)
Weird, wet weather pattern continues; make most of dry days

So far, April has just felt cold and damp. But warmer temperatures are on the way.

Although rain still hopscotches through the forecast, Sacramento is slowly creeping into the low 70s. Nights are warmer, too, hovering around 50. That’s a sweet spot for spring planting. As the weather warms, plant growth will speed up dramatically.

Be ready for it. Start transplanting summer vegetables into raised beds or large pots; the soil warms up faster above ground level. Several vegetables and flowers can be direct seeded into the garden.

Azaleas are at their peak in April.
This cool weather will lengthen the season for early spring favorites such as peas, lettuce and broccoli. Usually gone in March, camellias and daffodils seem to be sticking around, too. Especially enjoying this weather are azaleas, now at their peak of bloom.

Be on the lookout for fungal disease. With days above 65 degrees, these wet conditions will bring out rust, powdery mildew and black spot. Check rose foliage daily and remove leaves that show signs of fungal problems. Clean up fallen leaves around bushes.

Meanwhile, enjoy sunny days when we get them – and get outside.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Start setting out tomato, pepper and eggplant transplants.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, radishes and squash. Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials, summer bulbs and dahlia tubers.

* Transplant one last round of lettuce and cabbage seedlings; choose quick-maturing varieties.


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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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