Our yo-yo weather continues; watch out for signs of plant stress
Harvesting summer vegetables such as peppers will keep the plant producing. If you wish, leave bell peppers on the plant until they turn color -- red, yellow, orange, purple or "chocolate," depending on the variety -- and then harvest them.
If you liked July, you’ll love August. This month starts out with the same spiky weather pattern: Triple-digit heat on weekends and dramatic cooldowns in between.
According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect 105 degrees on Sunday. But by Tuesday, we’ll be back down in the 80s. Tuesday’s forecast high is only 89 degrees – six degrees below Sacramento’s average for the first week of August and a 16-degree drop from Sunday.
That relative cool will linger through the work week – with afternoons topping out in the high 80s or very low 90s – before creeping back up to 98 degrees next Sunday, Aug. 13.
Could the worst of our summer heat soon be behind us? Averaging highs of 91 degrees, August is typically a little cooler than July. But it’s still pretty hot. Remember to stay hydrated; that advice goes for your garden, too.
Maintaining even soil moisture – not too dry or too wet – can help plants cope with the stress of not only high heat, but yo-yo temperatures.
* Harvest tomatoes, beans, squash, pepper and eggplants to prompt plants to keep producing. Give your plants a deep watering twice a week, more if planted in containers. Most tomato plants need at least 5 gallons a week.
* Give your summer veggies a boost with phosphate-rich fertilizer to help fruiting. (Always water before feeding.)
* Cracks on your tomatoes? Blame these dramatic increases in temperature. Heat spikes likely caused those splits.
* Brown spots on the bottom of tomatoes, eggplant and peppers likely are due to blossom end rot. It’s a side effect of very dry soil. Plants need moisture so their roots can absorb nutrients and form healthy fruit.
* Watch out for caterpillars and hornworms in the vegetable garden. They can strip a plant bare in one day. Pick them off plants by hand in early morning or late afternoon.
*Feed citrus trees their last round of fertilizer for the year. This will give a boost to the fruit that's now forming.
* Mulch can be your garden's best friend; it conserves moisture while blocking out weeds. But don’t let mulch mound around stalks, stems or trunks. That can promote crown rot.
* Camellia leaves looking a little yellow? Feed them some chelated iron. That goes for azaleas and gardenias, too.
* Pinch off dead flowers from perennials and annuals to lengthen their summer bloom.
* Pick up after your fruit trees. Clean up debris and dropped fruit; this cuts down on insects and prevents the spread of brown rot. Then feed fruit trees with slow-release fertilizer for better production for next year.
* To prolong bloom into fall, feed begonias, fuchsias, annuals and container plants.
* Fertilize fall-blooming perennials, too. Chrysanthemums can be fed until the buds start to open.
* Indoors, start seedlings for fall vegetable planting, including bunching onion, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, radicchio and lettuce.
* Sow seeds of perennials in pots for fall planting including yarrow, coneflower and salvia.
* In the garden, direct seed beets, bush beans, carrots, leaf lettuce, radishes and turnips.
* Plant potatoes.
Comments0 comments have been posted.
Sacramento Digs Gardening to your inbox.
Taste Fall! E-cookbook
Sites We Like
Dig In: Garden Checklist
For week of Nov. 26:
Concentrate on helping your garden stay comfortable during these frosty nights – and clean up all those leaves!
* Irrigate frost-tender plants such as citrus in the late afternoon. That extra soil moisture increases temperatures around the plant a few degrees, just enough to prevent frost damage. The exception are succulents; too much water before frost can cause them to freeze.
* Cover sensitive plants before the sun goes down. Use cloth sheets or frost cloths, not plastic sheeting, to hold in warmth. Make sure to remove covers in the morning.
* Use fall leaves as mulch around shrubs and vegetables. Mulch acts as a blanket and keeps roots warmer.
* Stop dead-heading; let rose hips form on bushes to prompt dormancy.
* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs.
* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.
* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.
* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location – and definitely indoors overnight. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they’ll bloom again next December.
* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.
* Plant spring bulbs. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Daffodils can be planted without pre-chilling.
* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet peas, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.
* Plant trees and shrubs. They’ll benefit from fall and winter rains while establishing their roots.
* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.
* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.
* Plant garlic and onions.
* Bare-root season begins now. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.
Taste Spring! E-cookbook
Taste Summer! E-cookbook