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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 10

If you have established strawberry plants, you can fertilize them now. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)
Chilly, wet weather makes for moist conditions

Unusually chilly (and wet) weather has made February gardening feel frosty. Some foothill gardeners even saw snow.

Temperatures are tracking about 10 degrees below normal in the Sacramento area, which usually sees plenty of 60s this time of year. Don’t even think about setting out tomatoes or other summer vegetables; it’s just too cold.

That big chill stalls growth for a lot of plants. Many will just sit there and do nothing until the sun comes back out and starts warming the soil.

On the positive side, all that rain has made the ground moist and easy to work (as well as kept everything hydrated).

Make the most of breaks in the rain to tackle these tasks:

* Weed, weed, weed! Grasses are spouting all over and growing rapidly. So is bindweed and nutsedge. Dig them out while they’re young.

* Finish pruning roses, perennials and crape myrtles.

Asparagus poking up means spring's on the way. Feed asparagus plants now.
* Pick a bouquet of daffodils or other spring bulbs to enjoy indoors. (Rain just knocks them over.)

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

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

* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.

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

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and lettuce (both loose leaf and head).
Kale can still be transplanted.

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

* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions. Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets.

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

* Transplant or direct seed snapdragon, candytuft, lilies, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

* 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 help corral blossom 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.

* 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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