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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Oct. 29

October blows out with windy weekend before pleasant planting weather to start November

'Green Wave' mustard is a pretty addition to the winter vegetable garden  -- it's productive and frost-hardy. But cabbage moths like to lay their eggs on brassicas, which include mustard, so it's best protected with a row cover.

'Green Wave' mustard is a pretty addition to the winter vegetable garden -- it's productive and frost-hardy. But cabbage moths like to lay their eggs on brassicas, which include mustard, so it's best protected with a row cover. Kathy Morrison

October is going out with a blast. Strong gusty winds are expected to blow through the Central Valley this last October weekend, according to the National Weather Service. Tie down those Halloween decorations or your goblins could fly away.

“Gusty north to east winds are expected this weekend,” tweeted the NWS Sacramento office on Saturday. “Be sure to secure any loose outdoor items such as decorations, avoid outdoor burning, and use caution when driving in/around high profile vehicles!”

Coupled with low humidity, these strong winds create “critical fire danger,” says the weather service. A “red flag warning” is in effect through at least 5 p.m. Sunday. Sacramento can expect winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts of 30 to 40 mph with relative humidity dropping to 10% in the afternoon.

After this windy weekend, Sacramento will settle down into a pleasant pattern of highs in the low 70s and overnight lows in the high 40s. Halloween Tuesday will be dry with a high of 71. Temperatures will stay comfortably in the 60s until after 8 p.m., so trick-or-treaters shouldn’t need heavy coats.

This weather also is a treat for gardeners. Make the most of it; finish planting your cool-season garden.

* If you haven't already, it's time to clean up the remains of summer. Pull faded annuals and vegetables. Prune dead or broken branches from trees.

* Plant bulbs for spring bloom. Some possible suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, anemones and scillas.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers.

* Now is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, portulaca, sweet pea, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and stock.

* Plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas.

* Set out cool-weather bedding plants, including calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.

* Reseed and feed the lawn. Work on bare spots.


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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* 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 the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

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

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

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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