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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 12

Forecast mixes breezy weather with frosty nights

Warmer weather will prompt camellias into bloom, but frost is still in the forecast.

Warmer weather will prompt camellias into bloom, but frost is still in the forecast. Kathy Morrison

Hang on to your gardening hat; we’re in for more breezy conditions. Keep those frost cloths handy, too – and an umbrella.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect a mix of blustery and sometimes downright cold weather this week. Light, gusty winds will push storm clouds to the Sierra on Saturday and Sunday. More breezy weather arrives later in the week along with a chance of rain Thursday night and Friday morning. The weather service pegs our chance of rain at 30% with only a trace in the forecast (so far).

In between, we’re in for some very chilly nights with overnight lows in the 30s. Widespread frost – and a low of 31 – is forecast for early Thursday morning.

Otherwise, Sacramento’s forecast will be mostly on the cool side with mid 50s forecast Tuesday through Friday. The exception is Super Bowl Sunday with an anticipated high of 67 – just enough heat to tease camellias into bloom.

Although it may feel like spring on Sunday, remember we’re still getting cold at night; plan and plant accordingly.

* This is the last chance to spray fruit trees before they bloom. Treat peach and nectarine trees with copper-based fungicide. Spray apricot trees at bud swell to prevent brown rot. Apply horticultural oil to control scale, mites and aphids on fruit trees soon after a rain. But remember: Oils need at least 24 hours to dry to be effective. Don’t spray on this Thursday or Friday when rain is forecast.

* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer. Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts. Feed camellias after they bloom.

* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.

* Transplant or direct-seed several flowers, including snapdragon, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.

* In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and strawberry and rhubarb roots.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts as well as lettuce (both loose leaf and head).

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions.

* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs). The onions will sprout quickly and can be used as green onions in March.

* From seed, plant beets, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes and turnips.

* Set out flowering perennials such as columbine and delphinium.

* Plant summer-flowering bulbs including cannas, calla lilies and gladiolus.

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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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