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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 25


Kale transplants can go into the garden now. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)
Sunshine after storms brings planting opportunity



Got kale? It's not too late to add some leafy greens to your garden.

Thanks to two-plus days of rain, soil is moist enough to dig but not too soggy to work. With mild weather forecast through Monday, it's a good time to get outside and plant some winter vegetables -- or a lot more.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento received 1.18 inches from our first real storms of the season. That's still low -- normal to date is 2.44 inches -- but we're catching up fast. More rain is expected Tuesday.

What to do during this window of opportunity?

* Keep planting bulbs to spread out your spring bloom. Some possible suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, anemones and scillas.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Now is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now as well as kale, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage and other leafy green veggies.

* Plant garlic and onions.
Once the leaves are gone from this little peach tree,
the "dummy fruit" needs to be removed
and the tree
sprayed with coper fungicide.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

* Speaking of leaf curl, apply a copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees after they lose their leaves. The spray needs to be applied before (at least) a 24-hour dry period to be most effective. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. It also is found in "dummy fruit," little brown fruit that never developed and clings to the limbs. Remove any "dummies" before spraying.

* Turn off the sprinklers this week. Mother Nature has irrigation covered.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Dec. 10:

Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!

* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.

* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.

* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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