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Dig In: Garden checklist for March 12

Sacramento gets soaked (again) as we ‘spring’ forward

Camellia petals on the ground -- and soggy, too! Yikes, gather those up to prevent the spread of blossom blight.

Camellia petals on the ground -- and soggy, too! Yikes, gather those up to prevent the spread of blossom blight. Kathy Morrison

Keep your rain boots handy; our very wet March continues with storms in the forecast every day this week except Thursday. 

Depending on where this latest atmospheric river flows, Sacramento could get another 2 inches – or double that amount. According to the National Weather Service, the forecast is quite literally fluid.

On Saturday morning, the weather service issued warnings for thunderstorms and funnel clouds into Saturday night. Sunday’s forecast calls for “definite rain showers and thunderstorms.” The chance of precipitation on Tuesday is 100%.

Meanwhile, our temperatures have drifted up to almost normal. Afternoon highs will still be on the cool side – right around 60 to 62 degrees – but overnight lows will be in the mid 40s to mid 50s, enough of an increase to start warming up the soil. 

It’s also time to reset our clocks as we “spring” forward for Daylight Saving Time. Move your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed Saturday night.

As a gardener, it’s time for patience. Although spring fever has definitely arrived, soil is going to be very wet after all this rain. Wait for water to drain before digging and planting. Walking on or working wet soil can compact it, turning clay particles into brick-like clods.

The good news: All this moisture should assure a big spring bloom – when our sunshine finally returns.

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

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

* Once the rain stops, start preparing 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 when they start showing blooms.

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

* Transplant lettuce, collards and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* This is your last chance to plant such cool-season annuals as pansies, violas and primroses.

* 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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Dig In: Garden Checklist

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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