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Happy New Year! Now, write this down

For its customers, Davey Tree created this 2019 calendar of big trees, with handy big spaces for making notes. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)

Calendar an important tool for garden success

Happy new year and new month!

January in Sacramento is usually a lot like December; both months average high temperatures of 54 degrees. January nights are slightly warmer; averaging 39 degrees, one more than December.

January usually is Sacramento's rainiest month, averaging more than 3.6 inches. It rarely gets hot; Sacramento's December record is 75 degrees. But it can get cold; this is our frostiest month, too.

But what will it be like in 2019?

Here's a page from Kathy Morrison's 2018 calendar: March temperatures in Carmichael
got down to 33 degrees, but shot up to 84 by the end of the month. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)
Keeping track of variations in weather and other factors can help explain how our gardens grow. A calendar becomes an important tool, especially for us busy (and forgetful) gardeners. It helps you remember as well as plan.

With big spaces, a monthly calendar serves as an at-a-glance garden journal, no app or power required. Jot down when you do something -- prune, spray, feed, plant, deep water, etc. You'll thank yourself later when you try to remember those dates.

Here's why a garden journal is important: If you stumble on something that works, you want to know what it was. That way, you may be able to repeat that success.

Make notes of significant weather -- rain, fog, very low or high temperatures, wind storms, frost. Changes in weather or unusual events may explain changes in plants. Those notes also may jog your memory when looking for answers.

After that, be as detailed as time and space allows. Name what varieties were planted (in case you want to plant them again). Note first harvests, and late harvests, too.


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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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