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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 2


Break out the seeds for fall vegetables, and don't forget to plant California poppies, too. You'll be glad you did.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)

September starts a season of garden renewal; plant winter vegetables now



A new month and almost a new season: September brings renewed enthusiasm to Sacramento gardeners.

Weather tends to be cooler, particularly at night and early morning. It puts a little more bounce back in plants, and more bounce in gardeners’ steps.

Average Sacramento high for September is 87 degrees; overnight lows remain relatively warm with an average of 56 degrees. That range represents a sweet spot for planting fall and winter vegetables as well as flowers for spring. It’s also an ideal time for transplanting shrubs and perennials.

Need ideas? Here are some suggestions:

* Before planting, cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.
Divide peonies now for more blooms
in the spring. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. Bearded irises should be divided every three to five years.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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