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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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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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