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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of June 5

After weekend showers, triple-digit days are coming soon

Pick blueberries now before heat — or birds — get to them. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)

Did you feel a sprinkle? Or maybe measurable precipitation?

June’s first weekend should includ a splash of summer rain with “likely” showers on Sunday, says the
National Weather Service . Before and after any raindrops, cloudy skies are keeping temperatures comfortably cool. Sacramento’s afternoon highs for both days are forecast in the high 70s.

But things are about to change – again, warns the weather service.

“Enjoy the cooler temperatures this weekend because things are going to heat up next week!” tweeted the NWS Sacramento office. “Widespread triple digits in the Valley are expected by Friday.”

How hot? Right now, the NWS is predicting 105 degrees for Sacramento on Friday. By Thursday, nights will be warm, too, staying above 70 degrees – warmer than most of Sunday. Normal for June in Sacramento: Highs of 87 degrees and lows of 56.

What does this mean for your garden? In between drizzle, tackle chores Sunday and Monday before temperatures start to climb.

By Thursday, triple-digit days are possible. Adds the weather service, “Stay hydrated and take extra precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses. Visit to learn more!”

* Keep your garden hydrated, too. Water early in the morning. Cycle and soak to avoid runoff. Deep water trees and shrubs.

* Generally, tomatoes need deep watering two to three times a week, but don't let them dry out completely. That can encourage blossom-end rot.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Avoid pot “hot feet.” Place a 1-inch-thick board under container plants sitting on pavement. This little cushion helps insulate them from radiated heat.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer. Always water before adding fertlizer.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Pick blueberries and strawberries as they ripen — and before those triple-digit days.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Cut back Shasta daisies after flowering to encourage a second bloom in the fall.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

* From seed, plant basil, corn, melons, pumpkins, radishes, squash and sunflowers.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* Transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Oct. 1:

Make the most of this cooler weather. Get to work on your fall garden:

* October is the best month to plant trees, shrubs and perennials. Plants become established – sending down deep, strong roots – faster in warm soil.

* Divide and replant perennials. Add a little well-aged compost and bone meal to the planting hole, but hold off on other fertilizers until spring. Keep the transplants well-watered (but not wet) for the first month as they become settled.

* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, portulaca, sweet pea and stock.

* Plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Set out cool-weather bedding plants, including calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.

* Reseed and feed the lawn. Work on bare spots.

* Dig up corms and tubers of gladioli, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.

* Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.

* Clean up the summer vegetable garden and compost disease-free foliage.

* Harvest pumpkins and winter squash.

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