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Dig In: Garden checklist for Dec. 9

Leaves piling up? Put them to work in the garden as mulch or in
a new compost pile. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Make the most of sunny December days; plant and renovate

Get out and enjoy the bright sunshine during these brisk December days.

In between storms, soil is soft and ready for renovation. Add some compost to the vegetable beds to prepare them for future planting. Make use of fallen leaves as instant mulch.

Need more ideas?

* Empty standing water under pots or other spots where rain may have collected. Put saucers away for winter.

* Clear debris away from storm drains. If piling leaves in the street for pick-up, make sure water can flow freely in gutters.

* Tidy up fallen branches and leaves knocked down by stormy weather.

* Start a new compost pile with all those fallen leaves. Add some manure and compost starter to get decomposition rolling.

* Start pruning dormant trees and shrubs. Cut back vines.

* Transplant trees, shrubs and perennials. That will help them get established before spring growth.

* For winter and early spring color, transplant Iceland poppies, primroses, pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies and snapdragons.

* Plant sweet peas from seed.

* Plant spring bulbs. Don’t forget the tulips in the refrigerator.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, peas, lettuce, mustard, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant garlic and onions now for harvest in summer.

* Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.

* Dig up new potatoes after the vines die back.


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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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