Pleasant (but still warm) days ahead – great for fall planting
Persimmons are ripening in the warm fall weather.
Summer is over (really, we mean it!), but warmer than average days continue to linger.
According to the National Weather Service, “Area temperatures have been warm this month so far, both highs and lows. Persistent high pressure has been the cause. Redding Airport has even seen three days when the high reached 100 degrees, the 8th, 12th and 13th.”
Sacramento didn’t get quite that hot, topping out at 95 degrees on Oct. 7 and 8. Normal for October is 78 degrees. As the weather service noted, overnight lows have been relatively warm, too, staying mostly in the high 50s; normal is 50.
The forecast for the week ahead will feel more like fall – at least for starters. Sunday and Monday are expected to be just about average (76 and 77 are the respective forecast highs). Then, the weather service predicts another little spike in heat, back up to 88 on Wednesday, before settling down to the low 80s/high 70s by next weekend. Meanwhile, overnight lows will remain above average, hovering around 55 degrees. This week is expected to remain dry with still no precipitation in sight.
All this warmth makes for great planting weather. Cool-season crops will get off to a fast start.
* This is the best time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials in Sacramento. Add a little well-aged compost and bone meal to the planting hole, but hold off on other fertilizers until spring. Keep the transplants well-watered (but not wet) for the first month as they become settled.
* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including 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, if you still have one. Work on bare spots.
* 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.
* Clean up the summer vegetable garden and compost disease-free foliage.
* Harvest pumpkins and winter squash.
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For week of Sept. 24:
This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?
* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.
* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.
* 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. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.
* 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.
* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.
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