More hot weather ahead; get out early to monitor garden
These tomatoes had been shaded by foliage -- then
the branch bent under the weight of the fruit.
They were suddenly exposed to afternoon sun and
developed sunburn. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)
It’s hot – what do you expect in late July?
According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento will flirt with triple digits every day this next week. Some afternoons will top 100 (most likely Sunday, Thursday and Friday), but nothing like what we experienced a week ago.
The good news: Every night will dip down into the low 60s. That assures comfortable mornings. Get out early to water and monitor your garden.
* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to reduce the chance of fungal infection and to conserve moisture.
* Water, then fertilize vegetables and blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs to give them a boost. Feeding flowering plants every other week will extend their bloom.
* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week.
* Notice sunburn on peppers or tomatoes? Erect temporary shade over sensitive plants as their crop ripens.
* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.
* Deep-water trees and shrubs. Check soil moisture before irrigating. If you can't push a 6-inch probe or screwdriver into the dirt, it's time to water.
Dropped fruit should be picked up and disposed of to avoid pest
* Let your lawn grow long. Taller blades shade the roots, keeping them cooler. It also allows the lawn to get by with less water.
* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.
* 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.
* It’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.
* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Pumpkins planted now should be ready for Halloween.
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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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