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After sunny break, rain returns to Sacramento

Expect spring to get off to a soggy start, weather service says

Spring flowers, like these fragrant stock blooms, are ready to bright up landscapes, but the sun we've enjoyed the past few days will be crowded out by clouds soon.

Spring flowers, like these fragrant stock blooms, are ready to bright up landscapes, but the sun we've enjoyed the past few days will be crowded out by clouds soon. Kathy Morrison

So far, 2023 has definitely been wet – and our rainy days aren’t over. It looks like we’ll be starting spring with more showers.

“The latest 6-10 Day Precipitation Outlook is still leaning toward above-normal precipitation for NorCal next week,” tweeted the Sacramento office of the National Weather Service on Thursday. “A strong system will bring widespread precipitation early to mid next week, followed by unsettled weather towards the end of next week.”

Before this next round of rain arrives, the last Saturday of winter will feel very much like spring with highs close to 70 degrees. That warmth will prompt rapid growth and many more spring flowers. Any daffodils, tulips or other bulbs held back by chilly temperatures will soon be bursting into bloom.

Warmer temperatures also bring out mosquitoes. Make sure to dump rainwater out of any place it may have collected – flowerpots, old tires, kids’ toys, etc. Invasive mosquitoes can breed in a bottle cap with a tablespoon of water.

During this little gap in storms, it’s a good time to access our precipitation totals – and your own landscape’s ability to cope with all this moisture.

This winter, California has already experienced 11 “atmospheric rivers” – a weather term that’s become all too familiar.

Almost halfway through our “water year” that started Oct. 1, Sacramento has received 23.76 inches of rain; that’s 6 inches more than we average (17.6 inches) in a whole water year.

So far in March, Sacramento has recorded 2.98 inches – almost double the average for those 16 days. That made up for a slightly below-par February that totaled 2.56 inches.

Leave the sprinklers off for at least another week; your lawn and landscape won’t need it. According to the weather service, Sacramento can expect another 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches this week, with the first showers starting as soon as Sunday afternoon. Monday is the first day of spring.

For the latest forecast: https://www.weather.gov/sto/#.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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