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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 24

These dandelions are blooming in a park, but they're a good reminder to get rid of weeds now before they get out of hand -- and before the next storm. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

As soggy, cool conditions continue, let garden dry out

Feeling soggy? So far, February has been all wet, with more rain on the way.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento has totaled almost twice as much precipitation this rain season compared to last year: 13.39 inches compared to 7.63.

Storms are in the forecast Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. So, make the most of any breaks in the weather to get things done:

* Plant bare-root roses, trees, shrubs and perennials in containers as temporary homes until soil dries out.  They’ll develop new roots and stay healthy. In April, transplant the whole rootball.

* Before planting in containers or the ground, rehydrate bareroot plants. Soak roots in water for at least 30 minutes.

* Tomato and pepper seedlings getting big with nowhere to go? Transplant them into larger containers; it’s still too cold for them to be transplanted into the ground or raised beds.

* Tip water out of potted plants and containers. Eliminate any standing water that may have accumulated in wheelbarrows, saucers, etc.

* Consider spots for a rain garden, where water can naturally percolate into the ground to irrigate the landscape.

* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer. Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.

* Fertilize established strawberries and asparagus.

* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

* When soil is sufficiently dry, transplant or direct-seed several flowers, including snapdragon, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.

* In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and strawberry and rhubarb roots.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and lettuce.

Established asparagus can be fertilized now.
* Plant artichokes, asparagus, rhubarb and horseradish from root divisions.

* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs). The onions will sprout quickly and can be used as green onions in March.

* From seed, plant beets, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes and turnips.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Remember to weed; all this wet weather has germinated lots of grasses. Dandelions are in bloom.


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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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