After unusual September storms, fall starts with sunny, summery days
Butternut squash can put on weight rapidly during these warm September days.
If this past week’s storms had you longing for more sun, you’re in luck. The first full week of fall is going to be pretty warm.
According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect more summer-like weather in the week to come with highs in the low 90s, slightly above normal for late September.
That’s more than 20 degrees warmer than Monday and Tuesday when thunderstorms rolled through the area.
This warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.
Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.
* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.
* 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.
* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.
* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.
* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
* 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.
* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.
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For week of Nov. 26:
Concentrate on helping your garden stay comfortable during these frosty nights – and clean up all those leaves!
* Irrigate frost-tender plants such as citrus in the late afternoon. That extra soil moisture increases temperatures around the plant a few degrees, just enough to prevent frost damage. The exception are succulents; too much water before frost can cause them to freeze.
* Cover sensitive plants before the sun goes down. Use cloth sheets or frost cloths, not plastic sheeting, to hold in warmth. Make sure to remove covers in the morning.
* Use fall leaves as mulch around shrubs and vegetables. Mulch acts as a blanket and keeps roots warmer.
* Stop dead-heading; let rose hips form on bushes to prompt dormancy.
* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs.
* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.
* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.
* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location – and definitely indoors overnight. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they’ll bloom again next December.
* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.
* Plant spring bulbs. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Daffodils can be planted without pre-chilling.
* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet peas, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.
* Plant trees and shrubs. They’ll benefit from fall and winter rains while establishing their roots.
* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.
* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.
* Plant garlic and onions.
* Bare-root season begins now. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.
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