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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Oct. 9

More pleasant days are expected; time to get things done

Plant nasturtiums, poppies, sweet peas and other flower seeds now for blooms in early spring.

Plant nasturtiums, poppies, sweet peas and other flower seeds now for blooms in early spring. Kathy Morrison

Thinking about making some landscape renovations? Now may be the right time to pick up your shovel and get to work.

October is ideal for planting trees, shrubs and perennials in our area. Soil is still warm and helps roots grow strong before the chill (and stress) of winter sets in. And pleasant daytime temperatures entice gardeners to get outside – and get busy.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect the last of the 90-degree-plus days on Monday, with high temperatures dropping slightly into the upper 80s for the rest of the week. Normal high for this second week of October is 82 degrees. Night-time lows continue in the mid 50s – in other words, perfect fall weather.

Just make sure whatever you transplant receives enough moisture. Give plants a deep soaking so they can settle in and get growing.

These warm days and nights will prompt summer vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers to keep producing a little while longer. Thanksgiving tomatoes are possible.

Warm nights also will keep leaves green. Fall foliage with its rich golds and oranges won’t show up until later this month when overnight temperatures dip into the low 40s. Judging by the 30-day forecast, that may not be until sometime around Halloween.

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

* Harvest pumpkins and winter squash as they mature.

* Dig up corms and tubers of gladioluses, 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.

* Chill tulip and hyacinth bulbs in the refrigerator before planting. They need about six weeks of cold before going in the ground.

* Want early spring flowers? Plant seeds for 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.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

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

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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