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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 20


The Claw's pickup season ends Jan. 27. (Photo courtesy City of Sacramento)

Get pruning done before The Claw is gone



Prune, prune, prune; that's what tops Sacramento's garden to-do list -- especially if you want to make use of The Claw.

For street pickup, limbs should be cut to under 3 feet long and should be no more than 4 inches in diameter. Piles should not exceed 4 by 4 by 9 feet (that's about five cubic yards). No plastic bags.

Got too much pruning? Residents can still call for special pickup as well as fill up their weekly green waste containers.

Although more rain is forecast Sunday, Jan. 20, the rest of the week is predicted to be dry, according to the National Weather Service. Thanks to more than 4 inches of rain this month, Sacramento's seasonal rain total is up to 8.92 inches, a half inch more than average.

Moist soil makes for easier digging. Need some ideas?

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs. If the weather is wet and your ground seems saturated, consider planting your garden additions in large black plastic pots. The black plastic will warm up faster than the ground soil and give roots a healthy start. Then, transplant the new addition (rootball and all) into the ground in April as the weather warms.
* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.
* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.
* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.
* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials, then replant.
* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.
* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head and leaf lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.
*Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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