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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Dec. 25

Expect a wet finale to 2022 with widespread rain

Our bare trees will get some wet post-Christmas decoration from the predicted storms this next week. Make sure your garden is prepared for the returning rainy weather.

Our bare trees will get some wet post-Christmas decoration from the predicted storms this next week. Make sure your garden is prepared for the returning rainy weather.

Kathy Morrison

It looks like Northern California will get what it really needs this holiday season – rain.

According to the National Weather Service, the week after Christmas will be wet. Heavy rain is expected Monday through Friday, thanks to a series of late December storms. The weather service warned of potential impacts including road flooding, slick streets, rising creeks and rapid snow melt. The main question: When? Uncertainty surrounds the timing of each storm as well as amounts, says the weather service.

As of Saturday morning, the weather service predicts the first wave to hit the day after Christmas. Sacramento can expect morning fog on Monday followed by afternoon or evening rain. Those storms will build through the night along with gusty winds. Tuesday will see heavy rain especially early in the day.

More stormy weather is expected to hit Wednesday – or Thursday – or both – and hang around through Friday.

Bookending these storms are dry days on Christmas and New Year’s Day. (But still expect fog, says the weather service.)

Temperatures will be relatively mild: Low 50s in the afternoon and low 40s overnight. So frost danger is low, too.

Make the most of the gaps between storms. But beware of soggy soil; it can compact easily and rot new transplants.

* Rake up debris dropped by trees during storms. Keep drains clear.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Prune roses.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storage.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees.

* If you have a living Christmas tree indoors, get it outdoors as soon as possible. Potted evergreens need light.

* Plant garlic and onions for harvest in summer.

* Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.

* Got bulbs? Plant them in pots.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

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

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

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

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

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

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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