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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of April 23

Spring warm-up means one thing: Time to plant tomatoes

OK, who's ready to plant? It's finally warm enough to put those tomatoes you've been nurturing in their summer locations, whether in ground, a raised bed or spacious containers.

OK, who's ready to plant? It's finally warm enough to put those tomatoes you've been nurturing in their summer locations, whether in ground, a raised bed or spacious containers. Kathy Morrison

Happy Earth Day! Mother Nature’s gift to us? Some much needed warmth and abundant sunshine.

In other words, it’s finally tomato planting time!

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect several days in the 80s.

“Warm weather will continue for at least the next week across interior #NorCal with high temperatures forecast to remain above average,” tweeted the NWS Sacramento office on Saturday morning.

After mostly below-average temperatures, April is finally warming up – a lot. Normal high for this week: 72 degrees. Instead, we’ll see highs in the mid 80s, peaking at 87 on Thursday.

Just as important for young transplants, overnight lows are warming, too. Temperatures shouldn’t get below 50 all week. That will help heat soil – necessary for root development.

So, break out the trowel and get planting!

* Start setting out tomato, pepper and eggplant transplants.

* With all this warmth, soil can dry out quickly. Make sure to keep transplants watered and newly planted seedbeds moist.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, 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.

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

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat.

* 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 lawn.

* Foliage on azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? Give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips.

* Remember to weed before those unwanted plants start to flower.


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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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