Sacramento Digs Gardening logo
Sacramento Digs Gardening Article
Your resource for Sacramento-area gardening news, tips and events

Articles Recipe Index Keyword Index Calendar Twitter Facebook Instagram About Us Contact Us

Rain coming soon to clean air

We'll all be relieved when the air quality map no longer looks this red. At least there's no purple on it today. (Image courtesy

Storms will help wash away smoke, ash

Help is on the way -- both for firefighters and gardeners.

According to the National Weather Service, rain will start arriving in Northern California late Tuesday night. Sacramento has a 90 percent chance of rain Wednesday, off and on showers Thanksgiving Thursday, then another good soaking on Friday.

Bad for travel, great for air quality. This welcome rain, the first real precipitation of our current season, will wipe away most of the lingering wildfire smoke, ending almost two weeks of unhealthful air. It also (hopefully) will help extinguish the remains of the Camp Fire, the worst in state history.

These storms end a significant dry spell. So far this rain season (which started Oct. 1), Sacramento has received only 0.04 inches; normal is about 3 inches for October and November. Sacramento is expected to get at least a half inch before a sunny Saturday and Sunday.

In anticipation of this storm, turn off the sprinklers this week. Then, plan to get busy next weekend. Soft ground is great for transplanting.

Meanwhile, avoid the bad air outdoors. According to the Sacramento region air quality districts, Sacramento reached 189 Sunday on the Air Quality Index, with 179 predicted Monday. That's unhealthful for outdoor activity. Rain will bring those numbers way down, at least into the moderate range (which is still unhealthful for sensitive individuals).

What is in that bad air? According to, Fine Particulate Matter - known as PM2.5 -- is "a complex mixture that may contain soot, smoke, metals, nitrates, sulfates, dust, water and tire rubber." The AQI measures the particulate level at five sites in Sacramento County plus several other stations in the region. Sacramento's measurement is made at 13th and T streets downtown.

When is the air worse? Usually late at night. According to the National Weather Service, overnight inversion traps pollutants close to the ground. All that smoky air acts like fog, then gradually lifts after dawn.

Here's the forecast timeline for our region. (Image courtesy National Weather Service, Sacramento)


0 comments have been posted.

Newsletter Subscription

Sacramento Digs Gardening to your inbox.

Taste Spring! E-cookbook


Find our spring recipes here!

Local News

Ad for California Local

Thanks to our sponsor!

Summer Strong ad for

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.

Taste Summer! E-cookbook


Find our summer recipes here!

Taste Fall! E-cookbook

Muffins and pumpkin

Find our fall recipes here!

Taste Winter! E-cookbook

Lemon coconut pancakes

Find our winter recipes here!