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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of April 14

April showers will give way to plenty of sunshine

Rain-dotted blossoms on a Baby Cakes blackberry bush show the little berries developing at the center. Saturday was plenty cold and wet, but by Tuesday the high temperature will be back in the 70s.

Rain-dotted blossoms on a Baby Cakes blackberry bush show the little berries developing at the center. Saturday was plenty cold and wet, but by Tuesday the high temperature will be back in the 70s. Kathy Morrison

Talk about weather whiplash! Two days after afternoons in the 80s, noon Saturday (April 13) in Sacramento was wet and a very chilly 47 degrees.

Our wild weather continues this week. Fast-moving thunderstorms made for a soggy weekend, but that rain won’t stick around. By Tuesday, Sacramento can expect a high of 76 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are all forecast in the low 80s.

Overnight lows are remaining stubbornly chilly, dipping down into the 40s each night. But nights also are starting to edge warmer. By next weekend, we should see lows in the mid 50s, says the weather service.

That’s still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

After Saturday’s wet weather, soil will be soft and easy to work this week. So, dig in! (Wait a few days, though, to avoid walking on or working soggy soil that could become compacted.)

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is needs nutrients. Give shrubs and trees a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Are azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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