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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 6


Use bypass pruners for pruning roses.
Always a good idea to sharpen them
beforehand. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)
Work around storms during rainy early January



January's first weekend is wet. And that's normal; January typically is Sacramento's rainy month.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect two big doses of deep-soaking rain, maybe three, in the next four days. About a half inch was expected Saturday, followed by another half inch Sunday night. More rain is forecast for Wednesday.

In addition, strong gusts of wind -- up to 43 mph -- are forecast for Sacramento through Monday. That combination of wet ground and gusty wind can be dangerous. Keep an eye out for toppling trees and shrubs, especially new transplants. Evergreens may drop branches.

The forecast starting Thursday calls for sunny skies and highs nudging 60. Wait until then for most outdoor chores. In between storms or when the sun comes out, here's what should be on your garden to-do list:

* Turn off the sprinklers for another week.
* Browse the new seed catalogs and start making plans for spring and summer.
* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.
* Prune deciduous fruit trees, except apricots and cherries. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.
* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.
* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.
These navels can be harvested now. But you can "store" them
on the tree for the time being. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)
* Harvest citrus as it ripens. Navel oranges, lemons and mandarins are ready now.
* Add some instant color. Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.
* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.
* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.
* Plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

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

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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