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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Oct. 30

Perfect Halloween weather, but rain may finally be on its way

Got pumpkins? This is their weekend. Expect perfect weather this Halloween, but rain is on its way. Photo: Kathy Morrison

Got pumpkins? This is their weekend. Expect perfect weather this Halloween, but rain is on its way. Photo: Kathy Morrison Kathy Morrison

Happy Halloween weekend! Sacramento can expect near perfect fall weather through Monday, great for trick or treating – or gardening.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect mostly sunny skies with afternoon highs in the mid 70s – just about average (75 degrees) for the last week of October. Overnight lows will dip into the mid 40s, making for chilly mornings.

But with a new month comes change, says the weather service. “Likely rain showers” are in the forecast for Tuesday morning, the first day of November. Totals will be small; less than one tenth of an inch, estimates the weather service. But cloudy conditions and the possibility of more wet stuff remain through at least next weekend.

Regardless if you need an umbrella, it’s definitely sweater weather. With those clouds come cooler afternoon highs (sticking in the low 60s). Midweek lows with feel relatively warm (above 50 degrees) before edging back into the low 40s by week’s end.

Make the most of this warm weekend and get to work.

* If you haven't already, it's time to clean up the remains of summer. Pull faded annuals and vegetables. Prune dead or broken branches from trees.

* Harvest pumpkins and winter squash.

* Save dry stalks and seedpods from poppies and coneflowers for fall bouquets and holiday decorating.

* Leaves are starting to fall in large quantities. Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

* Make sure gutters are cleared. Don’t let leaves block drains.

* Now is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Plant bulbs in batches every two weeks to spread out your spring bloom. Some possible suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, anemones and scillas.

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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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