Rainy conditions expected to be followed by cold nights
Cold nights have brought out fall colors. Expect to rake some leaves this week. Kathy Morrison
Get out your rain buckets; it’s time to catch some storm water.
According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect 1 to 1-1/2 inches between Saturday night and Wednesday evening. That’s good news. Even better, that rain will be spread out over several days. That’s the sort of soaking rain our gardens need.
All that cloud cover will keep temperatures cooler than normal for early November. Afternoon highs will be in the low to mid 50s all week, about 10 degrees below average. Overnight lows will stay in the 40s through Wednesday. As skies clear, those lows will dip into the low 30s. Keep frost cloths near.
Keep rakes handy, too. Those colder temperatures will bring out fall colors. But gusty wind and rain will bring a lot of leaves down in a hurry.
What to do between cloudbursts or after the rain:
* Save fall leaves and recycle as mulch. Roughly chop larger leaves with a land mower. Or add leaves to compost.
* If leaves look funky, don’t recycle those problems. 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.
* Save dry stalks and seedpods from poppies and coneflowers for fall bouquets and holiday decorating.
* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.
* After they bloom, chrysanthemums should be trimmed to 6 to 8 inches above the ground. If in pots, keep the mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.
* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.
* Keep planting bulbs to spread out your spring bloom. Some possible suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, anemones and scillas.
* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.
* Take advantage of softer soil; 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.
* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.
* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.
* Plant garlic and onions.
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For week of Feb. 18:
It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:
* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.
* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.
* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.
* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.
* Dump excess water out of pots.
* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.
* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.
* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.
* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.
* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.
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