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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 18

Early storm could soak Sacramento, break long dry spell

Rake leaves out of the gutter to prevent clogs and flooding.

Rake leaves out of the gutter to prevent clogs and flooding.

Kathy Morrison

Remember that wet stuff that falls from the sky? We haven’t seen any in a long, long time. But starting Sunday, a major storm system is expected to blow through Northern California including the greater Sacramento area.
"Are you ready for rain?” tweeted the Sacramento office of the National Weather Service. “You have about one more day to prepare before wet weather returns. Even dry leaves can clog storm drains and cause flooding on roads. Remove leaves from drains, check gutters and wiper blades, and be sure to find that umbrella as well!”
Spend some time raking leaves away from storm drains before the storms start Sunday morning.

Downtown Sacramento’s last measurable rain – 0.15 inches – fell on June 5.

How much could Sacramento get? Forecasters predict ½ to 1 inch between Sunday morning and Tuesday night. That’s significant; Sacramento’s September rain average is 0.29 inches.

Most of this week’s moisture will be steady, soaking showers – good news for trees.

After record highs, temperatures will be unseasonably cool – Monday’s forecast is 69, a 40-degree drop from two weeks ago. After the clouds move on, temperatures will quickly move back into the mid 80s by next weekend.

Move potted plants where they can soak up some of this free water. After the storm, your garden will feel refreshed – and ready to plant for fall.

* After the storm will be a good time to plant for fall. Soil will still be warm and help veggies and fall annuals get off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* 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.

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


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* 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 fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* 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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