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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Aug. 28


Zucchini plant with spider mite damage on leaves
This zucchini plant is well past its peak, and has
quite a bit of spider mite damage, so it's due to
be removed. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)
Breezy conditions bring some temperature relief

What a difference a breeze makes! Sacramento’s natural air conditioner, the Delta breeze is back, relieving us (at least briefly) from triple-digit temperatures.

According to the National Weather Service, breezy conditions will keep Sacramento high temperatures in the low 90s at least through Tuesday. But then, the breeze dies down and temperatures spike back up. The forecast calls for highs of 99 degrees Wednesday and Thursday, starting September on a hot note. Overnight lows will stay warm, too: 60 to 64 degrees.

It’s already been a red-hot summer. So far, Sacramento has recorded 34 triple-digit days. Average is 22. Will we set a record? Sacramento broiled with 41 triple-digit days in 1988.

Before temperatures heat up again, take care of some late-summer tasks:

* Prepare for a fall full of flowers by paying a little extra attention to your garden. Cut off spent blooms from roses, annuals and perennials, then give them a boost of fertilizer. Make sure to water plants before feeding. Roses will rebloom about six to eight weeks after deadheading.

* Divide bearded iris and other perennials. Revitalize beds and replant.

*Feed citrus trees their last round of fertilizer for the year. This will give a boost to the fruit that's now forming.

* Camellia leaves looking a little yellow? Feed them some chelated iron. That goes for azaleas and gardenias, too.

* To prolong bloom into fall, feed begonias, fuchsias, annuals and container plants.

* Fertilize fall-blooming perennials, too. Chrysanthemums can be fed until the buds start to open.

* Pick up after your fruit trees. Clean up debris and dropped fruit; this cuts down on insects and prevents the spread of brown rot. Then feed fruit trees with slow-release fertilizer for better production for next year.

* Pull out summer vegetables that are past their prime and have stopped producing. Dispose of plants heavily infested with spider mites.

* Indoors, start seedlings for fall vegetable planting, including bunching onion, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, radicchio and lettuce.

* Sow seeds of perennials in pots for fall planting including yarrow, coneflower and salvia.

* In the garden, direct seed beets, carrots, leaf lettuce and turnips.

* Plant more potatoes.



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Dig In: Garden Checklist

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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