Sacramento Digs Gardening logo
Sacramento Digs Gardening Article
Your resource for Sacramento-area gardening news, tips and events

Articles Recipe Index Keyword Index Calendar Twitter Facebook Instagram About Us Contact Us

Dig In: Checklist for week of March 17

Buttercup oxalis has a leaf like a shamrock.
This edible weed is a sure sign of spring.
(Photo: Courtesy Wikipedia)
Warm St. Patrick’s Day brings out spring green

Can you feel the green? With warmer weather, it’s only appropriate during St. Patrick’s Day weekend that our gardens seem to be greening up before our eyes.

While all that almost-spring growth is wonderful, it also attracts aphids. Knock them down with a strong spray of water from the hose. These soft-bodied critters can’t survive the fall.

Also troublesome now are quick-growing weeds. They’ll crowd out your newly sprouted veggies if you let them. Instead, pull those unwanted plants while they’re young. In particular, keep an eye out for bind weed. That morning glory cousin only gets tougher to eradicate if it gets a roothold.

One weed seems almost appropriate for St. Paddy’s Day:
Buttercup oxalis . This common bright-yellow flower has a leaf that looks a lot like a shamrock.

Also known as sourgrass, Bermuda oxalis or African wood-sorrel , this pretty but obnoxious oxalis appears after winter rain, then disappears as weather heats up. It’s actually an edible green and tastes a lot like sorrel (it’s a member of the wood sorrel family). A few shamrock-shaped leaves add a lemony edge to a salad. (Note: Like all oxalis, this plant contains oxalic acid, which can be toxic in large doses.)

With so much growth, your spring garden has worked up an appetite. Here’s what else you should keep an eye on this week:

*Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help contain petal blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit. To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

* Feed roses with a balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10, the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium available in that product). If pruned in January or February, they’re now forming their first blooms of spring.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs and trees after they bloom. Try using well-composted manure, spread 1-inch thick under the tree. This serves as both fertilizer and mulch, retaining moisture while cutting down on weeds.

* 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. Remember: Sacramento is now under two times-a-week watering rules.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and cole family plants, such as cabbage, broccoli, collards and kale.

* Seed radish, chard and beets directly into the ground. Plant onion sets.

* Harvest cabbage, broccoli, kale and lettuces before warm weather makes them go to seed.

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

* Shop for perennials. They can be transplanted now before the weather heats up.


0 comments have been posted.

Newsletter Subscription

Sacramento Digs Gardening to your inbox.

Taste Fall! E-cookbook

Muffins and pumpkin

Find our fall recipes here!

Local News

Ad for California Local

Thanks to our sponsor!

Summer Strong ad for

Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Dec. 3:

Make the most of gaps between raindrops. This is a busy month!

* Windy conditions brought down a lot of leaves. Make sure to rake them away from storm drains.

* Use those leaves as mulch around frost-tender shrubs and new transplants.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Plant one last round of spring bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas. Get those tulips out of the refrigerator and into the ground.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers such as California poppies.

* Plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Late fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

Taste Spring! E-cookbook


Find our spring recipes here!

Taste Summer! E-cookbook


Find our summer recipes here!