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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 12

‘Atmospheric river’ could soak Sacramento with 1.5 inches of rain

Arugula sprouts quickly and can still be started in the cool-weather garden. Keep the soil moist. (The rain we get this next week should help.)

Arugula sprouts quickly and can still be started in the cool-weather garden. Keep the soil moist. (The rain we get this next week should help.) Kathy Morrison

Keep those umbrellas handy! It may seem sunny and pleasant this weekend, but big (and soggy) changes are coming our way soon.

According to the National Weather Service, our first “atmospheric river” of the 2023-24 rainy season is on its way to Northern California. It’s expected to start drizzling Tuesday morning in Sacramento and won’t let up until Friday afternoon.

For the most part, this rain won’t be heavy but it will be consistently threatening. The weather service predicts “likely rain showers” starting at 4 a.m. Tuesday and forecasts “likely” or “chance rain showers” every single hour after that until 4 p.m. Friday.

How much rain will we get? Sacramento’s final total will be about 1.5 inches, predicts the weather service. That will boost our monthly rain total to close to normal. November average’s 2.08 inches of rain in Sacramento. So far, we’ve received 0.12 inches.

This storm bodes well for another wet winter. Our first atmospheric river of 2022 arrived Nov. 7, starting one of the wettest years in Sacramento history.

Before this new storm arrives, this may be our last sunny 70s weekend of 2023. All that incoming cloud cover will keep high temperatures in the low to mid 60s, which is normal; our average for mid-November is 64.

Make the most of this sunny break before rain. Get outside and garden!

* Turn off the sprinklers; Mother Nature should take care of irrigation this week.

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

* Make sure to rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear so water doesn’t pond in the street.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Pull faded annuals and vegetables.

* Save dry stalks and seedpods from poppies and coneflowers for fall bouquets and holiday decorating.

* Prune dead or broken branches from trees.

* Keep planting bulbs to spread out your spring bloom. Some possible suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, anemones and scillas.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* 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.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

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

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

* Plant garlic and onions.


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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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