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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 1

New year starts soggy, with more rain on the way

We’ve had a lot of rain, and this gauge tells the tale: 2-3/4 inches as of 11 a.m. Saturday. That’s been just since Christmas.

We’ve had a lot of rain, and this gauge tells the tale: 2-3/4 inches as of 11 a.m. Saturday. That’s been just since Christmas.

Debbie Arrington

Keep your rain gear handy. We’re still wading through this atmospheric river with more to come.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento and the surrounding areas can expect to get soaked, not only on New Year’s Eve but in the coming week. After a dry New Year’s Day, “likely rain” or “definite rain” is in the forecast for Sacramento on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Heading into New Year’s Eve, Sacramento already had 7.13 inches of rain (including 2.44 inches since Monday) with another inch or two expected to fall before the clock strikes midnight.

This December may feel like deja vu. We had a very wet December to wrap up 2021 with 6.98 inches of rain in downtown Sacramento; that’s double “normal” for this month. But after showers on Jan. 5, Sacramento saw its rain totals plummet with several very dry months.

To start 2023, the weather service predicts 2 to 3 inches of rain for Sacramento on top of 1 to 2 inches on Saturday.

Make the most of gaps between storms, but hold off on putting any seeds or plants into the ground – it’s too soggy! New transplants can rot. Wait until next week after these storms have passed.

* Prune, prune, prune. January is the right time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* This month also is the time to prune most deciduous fruit trees. (The exception is apricots, which are summer pruned.) Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Browse through seed catalogs and start making plans for spring and summer.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

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

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* 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 fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* 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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