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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Dig In: Garden Checklist
For week of March 26:
Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:
* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.
* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.
* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.
* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.
* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.
* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.
* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.
To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.
* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.
* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.
* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.
* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.
* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.
* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.
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